Dune Fest 2015
July 29th – Aug 2nd
Winchester Bay, OR
Every year for several days in late July and early August, the town of Winchester Bay, Oregon has a population explosion. On any normal day, Winchester Bay is home to around 500 people and is generally a quiet and slow paced community, however when DuneFest comes to town that all changes.
Southwest of Portland around three hours is an off-roaders sand paradise. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America with Winchester Bay located right in the center of this amazing off-road recreational area. The Oregon Dunes area extends for 40 miles along the beautiful Oregon coast running parallel with the famous highway 101 and often giving you amazing views of the ocean and pristine beaches.
Held at what many consider as the UTV capital of the Pacific coast, DuneFest attracts thousands of UTV enthusiasts from around the country to partake in an event of epic proportions. Presented by the Reedsport/Winchester Bay Chamber of Commerce, DuneFest transforms one section of the Oregon Dunes into its own city, dubbed Sand City, with a population into the many thousands.
The event coordinators at DuneFest believe in making sure everyone is entertained and do a great job scheduling lots of activities throughout the multi day event. Events like the sand motocross races, a treasure hunt, poker runs, after dark rides, sand drags, live music and stunt jumpers showing off their skills on the Monster Energy stunt ramp were just a few of the activities that took place during DuneFest 2015.
A big part of DuneFest 2015 was the factory demo test rides. Both Polaris and Arctic Cat were planted in the Oregon sand with their 2016 lineup of machines on display. Along with the display machines were a long line of demo machines available for DuneFest attendees to jump in and see how they handle in the sand. The demo rides are really a big hit and there isn’t a better way to decide what your next side by side is going to be than getting to try it before you buy it.
DuneFest offered spectators the chance to get into the action with multiple classes of sand drag racing. Everyone from Pee-Wee to professional racers were lining up to race for bragging rights and a trophy. Two race lanes made for exciting heads up racing utilizing a Portatree professional timing light tree system. The sand drags were very popular this year at DuneFest and large crowds lined up to watch.
Another big part of the 2015 DuneFest is all of the vendors that were brought in. Vendor row offers DuneFest attendees a way to see all of the new side by side aftermarket products first hand. Vendors like Axia Alloy, GMZ Wheels, Muzzy’s Performance, Pro Armor, PRP Seats and SSV Works were just a few of the many vendors showing off their line of products. Multiple food trucks were also on deck to feed anyone who might be hungry while out in the dunes.
Of course, an event like DuneFest wouldn’t be the same if there wasn’t a place for everyone to set up camp. The dunes at Winchester Bay offers hundreds of acres of land set aside for people who want to camp. Space is available for everyone from those who want to tent camp all the way to those who travel with mega semi toy haulers. There are also several hotels, condos and homes for rent in the area, those can be found by searching online.
The finale at DuneFest was the much anticipated side by side back flip attempt with UTV racer Marc Burnett. Excitement about the flip attempt had been building all week and finally it was time. Marc’s team spent much of the day Saturday preparing the runway, securely placing the custom built metal ramp into position and constructing the sand landing pad. Plywood was laid down on the sand to make a good runway allowing Marc to get to the proper ramp speed of 35mph.
During the first practice approach to the ramp, Marc broke through the plywood and got a screw in one of his front tires. While changing the front tire Marc’s team replaced the plywood with thicker wood. The next approach Marc hit the ramp at the appropriate speed and to our amazement did make the complete flip however his foot was on the gas which caused his RZR to shift sideways mid air. Although he landed on all four wheels he landed sideways to the ramp causing the machine to roll over.
Marc and his RZR were unhurt during the first attempt so Marc did what any cowboy that had just been bucked off his horse would do, Marc got right back on that horse and tried the flip again! Unfortunately his second attempt wouldn’t go quite as he had hoped either as he landed upside down on the roof. Thankfully his custom RZR roll cage worked like it should and he walked away safely.
DuneFest 2015 was by any standard a huge success. With all of the elements of a great event in place, DuneFest is quickly on the path to become one of the biggest and best events in the nation. And what’s not to love about riding in the sand while checking out the amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.
For more information check out dunefest.com