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FARMINGTON — Cliffhangers Four Wheel Drive Club member Allen Elmore describes the W.E. Rock Grand Nationals as the “Super Bowl of rock climbing.”

Farmington’s Brown Springs trails in Glade Run Recreation Area has been chosen as the venue for the championship for the third consecutive year.

Between 35 and 45 drivers from across the country will be competing in this year’s championship, according to Rich Klein, the president and CEO of W.E. Rock.

These drivers will maneuver through obstacles including rock ledges, boulders and steep cliffs while avoiding cones placed along the course. They have a set time to complete the course. Points are added if the driver hits a cone or backs up. The driver with the lowest score wins.

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The W.E. Rock Grand Nationals are returning to Farmington this weekend. Here's a look at the 2016 event. Steve Lewis, The Daily Times

Klein said the community’s support for W.E. Rock Grand Nationals is one reason W.E. Rock is returning for a third year.

The Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cliffhangers Four Wheel Drive Club have worked to promote the event.

Elmore said Cliffhangers is in its eighth year of hosting the downtown Fall Crawl. He said the club decided to combine the event with the W.E. Rock Grand Nationals and create the Four Corners 4X4 Week. The five-day event begins today with guided tours of Chokecherry and Largo canyons.

Chokecherry Canyon features about 60 trails ranging from easy dirt roads and washes to vertical climbs, Elmore said. He said it also has Native American ruins and petroglyphs.

Largo Canyon is an easy dirt road trip that goes by several Native American archaeological sites, Elmore said.

He said 25 vehicles will be taking people on tours of the canyons. While every slot has been filled in this year’s tours, Elmore said the club hopes to have 100 vehicles next year for the two days of guided tours.

Friday’s events will begin with the Eat My Dust Lunch in downtown Farmington.

Elmore explained that the club is encouraging people who own Jeeps or other similar off-road vehicles to drive downtown for lunch. There are eight downtown restaurants off-road vehicle owners can choose from at noon Friday.

Elmore said the purpose of the Eat My Dust Lunch is to create a buzz about the weekend’s events, including the W.E. Rock Grand Nationals.

Friday will also feature the downtown takeover. The takeover provides opportunities for four-wheel drive enthusiasts to show off their vehicles and for fans to meet the teams that will compete in the W.E. Rock Grand Nationals.

“The show should have hundreds of off-road vehicles,” Elmore said. “Some of the coolest vehicles in the Four Corners.”

The downtown takeover features a flex ramp competition.

“You drive one wheel up a 30-inch incline until another wheel comes off the ground,” Elmore said.

He said the measurement is taken when the second wheel leaves the ground.

All those events lead up to the W.E. Rock Grand Nationals on Saturday and Sunday at Brown Springs.

Klein said the rock formations in Brown Springs lend themselves to big verticals and lots of side hills. He said this will create a lot of action.

Sunday will include a shootout at the end of the day. Klein said the shootout features an additional obstacle that is “bigger and badder than all the rest.”

The gates open for spectators at 9 a.m. each day.

Tickets to watch the grand nationals are $25 for both days or $15 for a single day. Military veterans can get tickets for $10 each day. Children ages eight to 15 get in for $5 a day and children younger than 8 years old have free admission. For more information, go to werocklive.com.

Elmore said this is the inaugural Four Corners 4X4 Week, but Cliffhangers plans to make it an annual event following Labor Day.

“We’re looking forward to a future with bigger and better events,” he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

 

 

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