The Ticket to Ride giveaway was introduced in 2013. At the GNCC awards banquet the top-10 riders in each PM class and some select AM classes are entered in a drawing to win a trip to the Moab desert in Utah. Winners bring one guest along on the epic riding trip hosted by (and courtesy of) the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC crew. The two ATV and side-by-side winners will navigate the trails on UTVs, while the two motorcycle winners are loaned 450cc motorcycles for the excursion. This year’s winners who were able to attend were Dwight Pollard (4x4 pro), Colin Keegan (XC3) and Kasey Belt (Junior A/B 25+). Their trip took place last week, so GNCC Racing caught up with them to ask about their experiences out west.
GNCCRacing.com: So how excited were you when you found out that you had a ticket to ride!?
Dwight Pollard (DP): Shocked was my first reaction. I’ve never won anything like this, ever. When it finally sunk in that I won I was so stoked! My buddy Dustin Hendershot went out the previous year and told me all about it, so I couldn’t wait.
Colin Keegan (CK): I was pumped. To be honest I didn’t know that I had won at first. I thought they had called my brother’s name, since both of our names start with a C.
Kasey Belt (KB): Super excited! Like, the greatest thing ever levels of excitement.
Who did you bring with you?
DP: I brought my dad out with me for the trip. He puts a lot into my racing, so it’s only right that he came along to enjoy this with me.
CK: I was going to bring my brother Connor who I thought had won at first. But then I ended up bringing my other brother Brandon since Connor had exams for college. Brandon loved it, we had a great time!
KB: I brought my brother-in-law, Thomas Alkire.
Was this your first time out west?
DP: It was my first time riding in the rocks and terrain specific to the Moab desert but it was no my first time riding out west. I had previously rode at Pismo beach when I was 18. Then a few years later I actually did a BITD desert race with Cody Collier. That was interesting, especially on an XC quad (laughs). I also raced UTVs in the desert for about two years as well.
CK: It was my first time. It was definitely an experience, I mean; I’ve never seen trails like that.
KB: That was actually the furthest west I’ve ever been. So obviously the first time I’ve ever ridden out there as well.
What was the riding like?
DP: It was so awesome! A completely different element for me since I do not have any rock-crawling experience - I’m used to waiting on the flag to drop and then going all out as fast as I can until I see the checkered flag. But this was really fun and a nice change of pace. The terrain is crazy; you go through so much elevation change in a short amount of time, and the scenery is hard to even describe to someone who hasn’t been there.
CK: It was sick! Definitely pretty different from Pennsylvania. Mountains and sand dunes and cliffs - you had to watch out for the cliffs, you know…
KB: It is gnarly - very gnarly! Rocks, sand, more rocks, more sand, lots more rocks. It’s really technical and a lot of fun. It’s a totally different kind of technical than we have in West Virginia though!
Describe your favorite section of trail.
DP: If I had to pick, the “Hell’s Revenge” trail was probably my favorite. It covers a lot of ground and hits some pretty notorious obstacles like the escalator, white knuckle, high dive ad upchuck.
CK: To be honest, my favorite section was the sand dunes. You could do whatever you want in them! We’d jump random stuff and really blaze the turns. We made all these little tracks which was really fun.
KB: I really liked the slick rock stuff. The name is deceptive… the stuff is like sandpaper you just stick to it and go right up it. It’s crazy!
Was there anything besides the riding that you thought was really cool about the trip?
DP: The Rocky Mountain facility is sick! The people we were with really completed the whole trip; they made it easy and fun.
CK: Yeah, we actually got to see those arches, the ones that Utah is famous for. That was really cool, I couldn’t believe it. Just learning about them too, like how it takes hundreds of years for them to form like that, yeah, that was cool.
KB: I though the scenery was nice. You’d be in the desert surrounded by nothing but sand, and then off in the distance you’d see mountains with snow on them. We experienced every season of weather in one day too: It rained in the morning, then it was back to 90 degrees in the afternoon, there was a short hailstorm, and that evening on the way back to the hotel it snowed on us.
If you ever got the chance, would you go back again?
DP: I will be going back! I’m going to plan a trip with a big group and do it again as soon as I possibly can. It was that awesome! I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC to experience it all.
KC: I definitely would! I would stay out there way longer than two days; I’d try to make it like at least a week. Bring my family with me too. I definitely want to plan a trip out there someday.
KB: Yes. I’d go back right this second if I could!