February 5, 2013, Johnson Valley, CA – The iconic King of the Hammers race in Johnson Valley, CA took on new meaning and added opportunity for education and fundraising this year as racers work to keep the area open to public recreation. The Marine Corps has been trying to annex the land for their use since 2007 under the auspice of training space and increased national security. Off-roaders including the race teams involved in King of the Hammers are fighting this move and working tirelessly to keep the 146,000 acres there open to public use. On February 5th DSquared Racing 4441, Big Ugly Racing 4435 and Race Prep Racing 4474 banded together during this year’s race week with a unique and fun idea – let’s sell cups and throw a party and give the money to the cause. Daren Henke of DSquared Racing said, “An event mid week when we are all working so hard to be ready to race just seemed perfect.”
Organization of such an event-within-an-event added an additional level of work and planning to an already hectic racing schedule, but the three long time friendly teams knew the cause was worth their time and effort. “Kevin Sacalas [Big Ugly Racing] really got the ball rolling. It was his idea. But I think we all agreed it was a cool way to have fun for a good cause”, Kristen Carter of Race Prep Racing said. Starting in November the teams chose the commemorative cups, designed their artwork, and publicized the event through social media and word of mouth. Offering an enclosed tent and heaters – respite from the elements of Johnson Valley in the winter – the group sold cups for $20 and danced the night away, raising $5,346.00. The money has been sent to ORBA (Off Road Business Association) where the Save the Hammers funds are housed and managed. In addition to the fundraising, the teams spoke to each person who attended, offering information about the area, the proposal by the Marines, and how attendees could stay engaged and join the fight. “We have all wanted to make a donation to the cause, but instead of just writing a check, we wanted to do something bigger. Every person we can talk to about the issue is another person who can help us win the fight”, says Kevin Sacalas of Big Ugly Racing.
While these teams battle each other on the race course, for land use they are pleased to be united with one objective – Save Johnson Valley. With the success of the event and the fight to Save Johnson Valley far from over, the teams encourage others to get involved and join the cause. Every penny helps.