This month, 50,000 people gathered to observe and race a rocky stretch of desert in the middle of California. The King of the Hammers challenges the skills of competitors in a way no other race can match – it’s filled with difficult rock crawling combined with high-speed racing over a course of about 235 miles. The racers that manage to finish the course usually take anywhere from 7 to 14 hours.
The King of the Hammers event is an off-road battle that takes place every February in the Johnson Valley OHV in Lucerne, CA. What started out as a small, invite-only gathering is now a large event with over 300 entries and over a week of racing.
Each year, the event takes shape in the Means Dry Lake when tents, marked streets, and internet pop up to create the small city of Hammertown. The area beyond Hammertown is known as “the badlands”. It’s here that spectators and racers from all around the country set up camp for a week-long stay of racing and fun!
Twelve years ago, the King of the Hammers event was created by Dave Cole, co-founder and president of Ultra4, and Jeff Knoll. After mapping out a race course over a few beers one evening, they decided to invite 50-60 drivers for an exciting night of racing. Eleven drivers showed up in rock crawlers to race for a good time, some beer, and a prize in the form of praise from Dave and Jeff. The event was invite-only until large sponsors came on in 2010. Now, racers must qualify for the race, although the original crew is always guaranteed a spot.
Over the years, different classes emerged for racing. These include ProComp 4600 Stock, Rubicon Express 4500 Modified Stock, and G2 Axle and Gear 4800 Legends as well as a class for UTVs and SXS racing. Rigs that can still be street driven compete in the Stock class, which is a modified version of the big course.
This year’s champion of the Nitto King of the Hammers event, and winner of the $100,000 prize was Jason Scherer with a time of 6:32:39, beating second-place Erik Miller by only 5 minutes. The intense course is unlike any other, and such close race times are not unusual. It’s what makes the event so exciting and thrilling – watching these rigs climb massive boulders or scale steep walls and compete for first place is unlike any other experience.
Did you know? There have been six Bullhide 4×4 customers who have competed in The King of Hammers event that we know of!
- Jeremy Jones with Rick Haggie (co-pilot)
- Paul Bickerton with Aaron Lents (co-pilot)
- Cody and Chelsea Sewell
Here at Bullhide 4×4, we love our customers and are thankful that we get the chance to gear them up for the big race!
Check out the footage from 2019 The King of the Hammers Event here!