From September 13-16, 2018, Land Rovers took over Bear Valley, California for the second Western National Land Rover Rally. It was a weekend of off-roading, camping, good food, team challenges, and a raffle for one awesomely kitted-out 2004 Discovery Series II.
The WNLRR was organized by four of the regional Land Rover clubs: the hosting Northern California Land Rover Club (NCLR), the Arizona Land Rover Owners (AZLRO), High Desert Rovers, and the Great Basin Land Rover Club. Organization was spearheaded by Doug Lawyer and Erin Williams. The first event took place in Sedona, Arizona in October 2015, with the idea that it would be held every few years in the territory of a different organizing club. This year the Sierra Nevadas of California played host, in the Stanislaus National Forest halfway between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.
The event ran four full days, from Wednesday evening arrival to Sunday. Guided rides on the local trails showed off the majesty of Northern California, with something for everyone from stock trucks to heavy-duty trail rigs.
One highlight of the trail selection was the Deer Valley Trail, an extremely challenging 6.5-mile run which was re-opened as a through-trail after many years in July 2018 thanks to the volunteer efforts of local 4WD clubs.
On Saturday there was a “Challenge Day,” where participants were broken into 8 teams of 20-30 people. They competed in feats of strength both mental and physical, involving all of the team members. The top three teams were recognized that evening, with prizes according to their score.
The biggest prize of all though was the 2004 Discovery Series II that was raffled off. Rebuilt with the support of many members of the Land Rover parts and service community – including engine parts from Atlantic British – the truck even got a special wrap with a topographical map of the Big Bear area.
The winner of the truck was George Round, a member of the Southern California Land Rover Club. He got to take home a turnkey, rebuilt Discovery ready to conquer anything – not a bad souvenir.
There is no firm public information yet about the next WNLRR, but there is one planned. The scale and quality of the event, combined with the varying locations, requires a lot of planning, and it is not necessarily going to be an annual event as much as a regularly-scheduled one. Keep an eye out at WNLRR.com and sign up for the mailing list, though, and you’ll be the first to know what’s to come. If you live out west, think about getting involved with one of the great host clubs as well -- they have plenty of activities, trail rides, and camaraderie to tide you over until then.
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