By Mike Henle
The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts (SNORE) is kicking off its 2020 off-road racing season May 29-30 with the Skull Rush 250.
With a field of about 100 entries, the Skull Rush 250 is invading a home-away-from-home for the umpteenth time with the continued beauty of an area adored by SNORE’s competitors.
This small town of about 1,000 residents is good for off-road racing and anyone with any kind of business in Caliente welcomes the event with open arms every year during the event that is about 180 miles north of Las Vegas.
While so many off-road races take on the desert for annual events, this particular showdown is multi-purpose considering that (a) it’s a small town and (b) the uniqueness of this particular race includes water that drivers must contend with in the mountain terrain along with (c) a fascinating layout on “Oh My God Hill” that requires all vehicles must accept a wild challenge while remembering that this particular challenge especially tests crew members to make sure the brakes on their vehicles are in save working condition.
Despite current pandemic concerns, the event was able to move forward. SNORE official John Pellissier addressed the latest concern regarding social distancing by changing normal gathering locations from the local elementary school gym.
Pellissier said SNORE covered all of the bases to the community outdoor park to allow people to maintain safe social distancing,” he said. “In doing so, we moved to the outdoors to change all gathering spots to providing sanitizing stations as well as relocating locations for sanitizing stations. The awards ceremony will also be outside, according to Pellissier.
“Hats off to all of SNORE’s dedicated souls that always respond when needed,” Pellissier added.
To say that the race in Caliente is met with open arms is a definite understatement, whether you’re fascinated by the history of the race or the history related to the town considering that even the hard ware store has been a part of the town for more than four decades.
For enthusiasts that enjoy old trains, you needn’t look any further than the middle of town considering that Union Pacific shows up without warning at all hours of the day or night.
Caliente isn’t Disneyland, but it’s close especially with its support for SNORE’s season seasonal debut.
In fact, the history of Caliente is so fascinating that one Southern California attorney, tired of the hubbub of the so-called “Golden State” and his wife (her name was Roxy) picked up everything they had and moved to Caliente many years ago just in time to purchase the Lincoln County Record while also operating a horse ranch for prized Appaloosas – and you could never find a happier family in those days than the one headed by attorney Tom Clay, a chain-smoking character who could have run for mayor of Lincoln County, if he had ever wanted to move into politics.
Chad Cummings, 52, is entered in the race, and for good reason. He has won multiple category championships with SNORE over the years, and you can bet he will be front-and-center for the Caliente showdown.
Cummings is a highly talented driver who will be traveling more than 1,000 miles round trip.
“It’s a fun place to race,” said Cummings, a race car mechanic who hails from Oak Hills, Calif., in the high desert. “You have to be patient at Caliente. “Caliente is obviously technical. It’s a driver’s track up there,” said Cummings, who won the overall title for SNORE driving a Class 12 buggy. SNORE is a very family-based group of people.
Cummings is a 2020 Checkers Off-Road President. Veteran racer Joe David is the vice president.