Riding your SxS in the sand dunes is a thrilling experience, carving a bowl or feeling the G-forces as you speed down to the bottom of a dune rivals even some of the best rollercoasters and offers a great deal of diversity compared to trail riding. Initially when talking about riding side by sides at the sand dunes you think of places towards the west coast like Glamis where Midwesterners and East Coast riders would have to travel far just to ride but the reality is Mother Nature has provided us with a few sand dune areas across the country. One place in particular is Little Sahara State Park in Waynoka, Oklahoma, a 1,600 + acre sand riding area with vast sand dunes ranging from 25 to 75 feet high. Each year several annual ATV / UTV riding events take place at Little Sahara, including Sandfest and Rattle Snake Hunt, this year we trekked down to the park for another great riding event known as Doin’ the Dunes.
Our trip started out a little freaky, as we were approaching our destination we noticed dark clouds ahead and storm chasers parked alongside of the highway. (It’s never a good sign when you spot a storm chaser in your area unless you just love crazy weather.) As soon as we arrived to the small town of Waynoka, locals gave us a heads up that a possible tornado was a on its way. We took shelter at a historical building, the building that once was a train depot is now a Mexican restaurant. Many early arrival event attendees as well as locals gathered in the building’s basement as a confirmed tornado was few miles south of town, we decided to take our chances and stayed within the restaurant area watching the news while enjoying some beverages and chips and salsa. To shorten this part of the story up, the tornado didn’t quite make it to Waynoka and everyone was a-ok but it definitely was close enough to make you nervous.
Once the severe weather was out of the way the weekend was looking promising and it was, Doin’ the Dunes 2017 delivered with a great turnout of riders and a ton of fun on the schedule. The event was hosted by Stillwater Powersports and with the help of many volunteers including Chad Banks and the Duner Dudez riding group, Randy Baublit with Rhino Gear and Aaron Cline with Midwest SxS Wars. There were plenty of activities for attendees to participate in and action to spectate. Scheduled activities included several group rides, a wheelie contest, sand drag races and the Big Air Competition.
Right in front of the Little Sahara Powersports retail store located just outside the park, a vendor area was set up; attendees could check out multiple vendor booths as well as get a variety of great food. The event also had a Show & Shine competition where attendees could check out some great custom builds at the dunes and vote for their favorite ride in the contest. Following the Show & Shine was a raffle where attendees had a chance to win a variety of prizes including the big raffle item: a Polaris RZR.
The park itself is a great place to ride; the vast sand area has a variety of big sand dunes and intertwining sandy trails. The state charges $10 a day to ride in the park and it is open 24/7. A variety of campsites surround the park with easy access in to the dunes, many sites include water and power hookups for RVs. There are a few rules to ride, safety is very important so whips and flags are required and alcohol is prohibited within the riding area. During the event all the campgrounds were full of riders who had made themselves a home for the weekend, everyone we spoke to was extremely friendly and hospitable, it was great place to enjoy the fellowship with other campers and we imagine on non-event weekends folks are just as friendly as we are all there to ride.
All in all, Doin’ the Dunes 2017 was a huge success; we met some great people and had a ton of fun riding at the sand dunes. Don’t let our bad weather experience scare you, Little Sahara is definitely a riding area to add to your bucket list and if you’re looking for a great UTV event to attend, we recommend putting Doin’ the Dunes 2018 on your calendar.