UTV Invasion 2016
Idaho Dunes RV
St. Anthony Sand Dunes Recreation Area, St. Antony, Idaho
September 1st – 5th
Thousands of UTV enthusiasts made their way to St. Antony, Idaho for an unforgettable Labor Day weekend of entertainment and off-roading on some of the biggest sand dunes in the nation. UTV Invasion powered by Boondocker was held September 1st – 5th at the Idaho Dunes RV resort; connected directly to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Eastern Idaho. 2016 marks the third year for the annual UTV Invasion, however this was our first time at the event and we were definitely not disappointed.
“Don’t let the big dunes scare you” is the slogan from the Idaho Dunes RV resort and UTV Invasion event and they’re serious about “big”, the 10,000 acre recreational area is home to countless sand dunes with some over 5,000 ft. in elevation as well many massive bowls, some nearly a mile wide. We hooked up with our friends at Wheel Pros (MSA Wheels & EFX Tires) for a cruise through the dunes to find out just how massive the recreational area really is and challenge ourselves on some of the more technical parts. They weren’t kidding. Needless to say, the St. Anthony Dunes offers an abundance of fun riding for beginners and plenty of challenges for more advanced riders.
The UTV Invasion event offered plenty to do throughout the weekend, several guided group rides were organized for each day including the “Intro in to the Big Dunes” ride for first timers, the planned rides gave riders an opportunity to see exactly what the St. Anthony Sand Dunes had to offer as well as enjoying the dunes with other enthusiasts.
Inside vendor row many aftermarket parts and accessory companies like Assault Industries, MSA Wheels, SSV Works, STI Tire and Wheel and Rugged Radios rounded the main event area to meet and greet with attendees passing out stickers, cozies and other freebies as well as showing off some of their latest UTV products. Some vendors even had products for sale at the event, which is convenient if you’re in need of a spare part, however we recommend getting your SxS accessories at SideBySideStuff.com.
We were super stoked when we found out Can Am was going to be present allowing attendees to demo the new Can Am Maverick X3, from Thursday morning though Sunday the Can Am guys kept busy as they took out back to back groups all day long demoing the four X3’s on site. Like most other attendees we were eager to test out the new high performance sport UTV, the Can Am guys recommended that we sign up immediately as openings filled up fast. We were thoroughly impressed with the power and performance of the machine as well as its ergonomics, needless the say we returned from the demo ride grinning from ear to ear.
There was no shortage of entertainment at the event either as there were several games and competitions to spectate and get involved in, live music and thousands of dollars in prizes donated by vendors and sponsors raffled out throughout the weekend. One of the most exciting items in the raffle was a custom wrap by Wolf Designs that would be installed on site. Without knowing what machine would get the wrap, Wolf Designs printed off two sets; one for a Polaris RZR XP 1000 and the other for a RZR XP 4 1000. The drawing was on Friday evening and the wrap installed Saturday morning on the winner’s XP 4 1000, the extra wrap was arranged to go on a RZR XP 1000 belonging to a volunteer working the event as a way to say thank you for all his hard work.
The crowd gathered around as competitors would try to find that sweet spot on the Proline Wraps UTV Teeter Totter. Each driver would make an attempt to find the balance point with their machine and hold it for as long as they could, the driver with the longest time would take home the prize. This crowd favorite competition is not as easy as it looks, a slight shift in your seat and the ramps could come down ending your time.
Spectators gathered as many high performance side by sides put on a great show at the Sand Drags EVO Shootout. Even though conditions were extremely dusty, it was exciting to see the high horse powered side by sides from some of the leading engine builders in the industry charge down the drag strip. This was the first year for UTV drag racing at UTV Invasion, we thought the fast excitement was fantastic, event promoter Dave Kuskie told us this year was about getting the Sand Drags dialed in and ensured us we can expect an even better show at UTV Invasion 2017.
Some very, very nice machines had the crowd packed inside the main event area as they lined up for the Super ATV Show N Shine. Judges would choose 3rd – 1st place winners from each of the two classes, the Weekend Warrior Class and the Industry Professionals Class, looking for anything unique and the most attention to detail.
Another exciting event was the Rugged Radios Relay. In this contest, teams of two would compete for the best time around a course. What’s the catch? Drivers of the teams were blindfolded while their partners guided them around the course using a Rugged Radio two-way radio to communicate. Cones were set up to border the course, if the driver hit a cone the team would be hit with a 10 second penalty.
A few celebrities were spotted at UTV Invasion, the Diesel Brothers: Diesel Dave and Heavy D brought their Polaris RZR to the hit the big dunes with the intentions of pushing it to limit, finding its weak links and to take it home to build it even stronger. Before hitting the sand dunes, Diesel Dave and Heavy D checked out the main event area and walked vendor row greeting and taking photos with fans.
X Games Gold Medalist and Red Bull athlete Ronnie Renner brought his Boondocker Turbo Polaris RZR XP 1000 to rip in the sand dunes and participated as a judge in the Super ATV Snow N Shine contest. While at the event Ronnie purchased at set of Assault Industries Bomber Breakaway Side View Mirrors, we caught Ted from Assault Industries installing them on Ronnie’s RZR.
Since UTV Invasion got its start in 2014, crowd attendance and vendor participation at the event has nearly doubled. To no surprise, the Idaho Dunes RV resort had actually sold out RV and campsites weeks before the event. With no cap on attendee entry, the gates stayed open throughout the weekend as many attendees staying in nearby hotels in St. Anthony and its surrounding towns and cities piled in each day. If you’re planning on attending UTV Invasion 2017 and would like to stay on site, we recommend reserving your spot as early as possible.
All in all, UTV Invasion 2016 was a huge success. Located in a premier riding destination, the event offers a weekend full of exhilarating riding experiences along with plenty of entertainment for a great time with your friends; not to mention a great opportunity to make new ones. We encourage you to join us next year at UTV Invasion 2017; we guarantee you’re in for a real treat.