A brand new event took center stage at the North Valley Bank Arena in the fairgrounds on Friday as hundreds of onlookers bore witness to Del Norte's first-ever Quad Bash, organized by Brookings resident Martin Graves.
The Quad Bash featured several different contests for varying ages and skill levels on all-terrain vehicles, including a youth barrel run, a 4x4 muscle pull and a men's and women's Chicago Shootout for the finale.
"We designed a couple tracks and came up with some events that gave an opportunity for pretty much every skill level and age group to come out and ride in a safe environment and have some fun," said Martin Graves, who took charge of putting the event together.
This year, the fair commission indicated that it would like to get some new events into the fair. Graves heard from some of his colleagues that an ATV event was being considered and decided he would take charge.
"My family and I have been riding for about 10 years now," Graves said. "So we wanted to take this opportunity to show the public that ATV sports can be a family thing and can be done safely."
Graves' children, Allison and John Graves, also from Brookings, participated in the inaugural event, finishing first and second, respectively, in the youth barrel run. Allison also took second in the women's Chicago Shootout.
"They have been riding since they were about 2 or 3, riding little electric Power Wheels quads; then (they) graduated up to the gas-powered vehicles and bigger sport bikes," Martin Graves said.
In all, the ATV bash drew 18 male riders, four female riders, five youths for the barrel run and four participants in the 4x4 Muscle Pull.
"We had a really good turnout," Graves said. "I was especially excited to see all the little guys; I think our youngest rider out there was 5 years old. They did a fantastic job of going around those barrels."
Although Graves said he would like to have had more participants, especially female riders, he said the first Quad Bash can safely be called a success.
"We had a lot of fun doing it," he said. "The riders that I spoke with after the event were really excited about the track and they enjoyed the event. Most of them had done fair events in the past with the barrel races and whatnot, but this was the first Chicago-style race that they have had. They were excited about that."
With all the momentum that was created this year, Graves said he is hopeful that the bash will make a return appearance at the fair next year.
"Hopefully if everything works out well and the Del Norte County Fair will have us back, we will do it again next year," Graves said. "Hopefully we can get even more riders and maybe a couple more events ready for them."
Jamie Williams finished first in the women's Chicago Shootout with Allison Graves taking second and Lori Ann Foster taking third.
In the men's Chicago Shootout, Don Vizgaudis took the top prized, followed by Gery Foster. Matt Mattz and Austin Williams took third.
In the 4x4 Muscle Pull, Layne Bohannon finished first. Mattz took second and Marcos Contreras was third.
In the youth barrels, Max Karanopoulos took third behind Allison and John Graves.
Story and photos by Michael Zogg/WesCom News Services