Big Nasty Hill Climb

Originally published in the Boise Weekly:bignasty.jpgPhoto courtesy of

Aptly named, the Big Nasty Hill Climb returned to Pence Ranch near New Plymouth, Idaho Sept. 16-18 for its ninth iteration.

For the uninitiated, here’s a Big Nasty Hill Climb primer: competitors navigate high-powered dirt bikes—many with custom modifications—up a very steep, rocky, rutted-out hillside. Those who don’t make it over the top face a rough-and-tumble scuttle back down the hill—sometimes with significant injury. There are several classes of riders over different courses, ranging from a 260-foot mini bike hill to a 600-foot pro line.

Over the years, the event has grown to international prominence with the addition of a wide variety of complementary events: mud-bog drag races, helicopter rides, RC car racing, Marine pull-up contests, food, live music, street-bike stunt exhibitions, a giant cannon, monster trucks and a 500HP air boat to name a few. The laundry list of entertaining revelry goes way beyond just the hill climb.

The sensory overload of hanging out with gear-heads and thrill-junkies from all over the United States prompted some hilarious and entertaining conversations—and I would venture to say that the people watching is some of the best anywhere. Touted as being “where NASCAR meets Burning Man,” the Big Nasty attracted a robust crowd. Many folks made the 45-mile trip from Boise for a single day of fun but with 500 campsites available on the ranch, others turned out for the entire weekend, motor homes and camping gear in tow.

The hardware ranged from 50cc mini bikes to 300hp dirt rockets. Last year, fewer than 22 percent of the total attempted runs made it over the top, arguably making it one of the most challenging hill climbs in the world. According to the Big Nasty website, “All hill climb bikes are cool, but the pro bikes are wild, noisy, exotic, stretched-out, paddle-tired, nitromethane-powered machines that will blow your mind.”

Event organizer Ron Dillon was a busy man at this year’s Big Nasty, which set attendance and entry records.

“We’re having a great time this year … I think we’ll go over 13,000 [attendees] for the weekend,” Dillon said.

The Big Nasty lived up to its reputation as a fun and rowdy gathering for an eclectic group of power sports fanatics. More than 700 competitors signed up to battle the big, nasty obstacle and those who beat it have reason to be proud. All of the winners will be listed at soon but a few of them are listed below:

450 Pro Class: Bret Peterson of Yorba Linda, Calif.
700 Pro Class: Harold Waddell of Omaha, Neb.
Open Pro Class: Jason Smith of Farmington, Utah
Pro Mini Class: Chase Seal of Meridian, Idaho
Pro Women: Jenny Kouba of Star, Idaho

We can’t wait for Big Nasty Hill Climb 2012.

Video from the event can be seen here.

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