By Mike Henle
CALIENTE — The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts – SNORE — is bringing its annual Knotty Pines 250 off-road race here Friday and Saturday complete with about 120 race cars and competitors in what has become a blockbuster gathering.
From the students of Caliente Elementary to fans and the racers, the railroad town about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas looks forward to the annual SNORE event for several reasons.
With Las Vegas temperatures expected to soar to about 110 degrees during the weekend, most everyone is looking for a cooler climate and Caliente is expected to be much cooler.
Then there’s the history of the town complete with old railroad houses and great scenery and a collection of businesses.
However, Caliente also provides a fascinating collection of challenges for off-road racers ranging from the traditional desert terrain to trees and water to a stretch heading back into town that racers refer to as “Oh My God Hill” that tests the talent of a every off-road competitor in the event.
In the eyes of an off-road racer and his or her co-riders, the Knotty Pine 250 has it all including a bridge that has no walls. There is no room for what is commonly known as “brain fade” when accepting the challenges affiliated with the Knotty Pine 250.
In addition, SNORE ties a meet and greet session at Caliente Elementary School each year and the students love the interaction with the drivers, according to principal Sharon Dirks, a native Las Vegan who has lived in Mesquite for 16 years.
“The kids really enjoy it,” Dirks said of the meet-and-greet that will be presented from 9-10:30 a.m. Friday. “They love getting the autographs of the drivers. Our school started ending earlier and the students still go to the meet and greet. SNORE has always been very generous to the kids.”
Caliente has benefitted from the many years of the race, according to Knotty Pine Casino owner Bud Sanders.
“Under the study of economics, money changes hands five times a year times,” said Sanders, who has owned the Knotty Pine Casino for 29 years. “Every thousand dollars brought in from outside the county adds another $5,000 to our economy. A lot of the people that off-road races bring here are first-time visitors who come back over and over again.”
Among the entries in the race is Class 1 kingpin Joe David, a veteran of the sport who also captured the overall and Class 1 titles at Caliente in 2017.
The son of former Mint 400 winner Tom Koch, David is an accomplished competitor.
“It offered everything and reminded me of Mexico,” David said after winning the 2017 Knotty Pine 250. “Some of the places on the course are very narrow. I was able to crawl through it without hurting the car and I really wondered if I was going to get caught in the bottleneck. I had to be very careful because you cannot go fast in the corners.”
The 32 year-old David said he is racing his old Class 1 car with a little less horsepower this year. He is first off the line.
“There are places where you need to be smart and go slow, and there are places to go fast, “David said. If you’re not careful, you can end up in a tree or up a hill or off a cliff.”
The Knotty Pine 250 schedule will also include a fun run and barbeque from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday. Tech inspection and contingency will be from 3:15-7:15 p.m. at the Knotty Casino. The driver’s meeting is set for 8 p.m. at Caliente Elementary.
Saturday’s festivities will be highlighted by the start of the race at 8 a.m. The awards and fire department barbeque is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m.
Further information can be found by visiting www.snoreracing.net.
CONTACT: Mike Henle, 702-279-3483.