CALIENTE – Pam Barlow’s late father Bert Vaughan was an electrical contractor in Las Vegas for many years starting in 1962. He moved to Caliente full-time in about 1996 before passing away in 2001.
An old railroad town about 180 miles north of Las Vegas, Caliente has a special charm away from the hubbub of Las Vegas. It’s quiet and its slower pace is good for the soul, as Vaughan discovered after relocating to the town to buy the Northern Nights bar.
The president of the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts in 1978-79, Vaughan and his wife, Faith, journeyed to Caliente to spearhead off-road racing events run by his Silver Dust Racing Association and later SNORE, which is returning to the area June 10-11 to present the Driven Experiences 250.
SNORE is good for off-road racing, and it’s also good for the businesses of Caliente. In fact, the race left the area several years ago before returning in 2015 much to the delight of anyone with a business in the community.
Caliente offers the perfect package especially for an off-road race considering that there is water, trees, the traditional rough roads along with what is called “Oh My God” hill, which sees competitors heading down a very steep descent at the end of each lap.
Originally pioneered by the racer and promoter Vaughan, this Driven Experiences 250 offers excellent competition in several classes while also serving as a perfect getaway for both drivers and their crews.
As Vaughan learned, one visit leads to repeated returns which also produces memories that last a lifetime.
“My mom and dad really liked the small-town atmosphere,” Barlow said adding that her mother passed away in 2011 only six months after the couple’s son, Kacey, died. “My folks really liked the town and the people there.”
In the old days of SNORE, Vaughan was among the original members of the race group that included Denny and Wauna Selleck; Don Dayton, Bob and Ruth Jensen, Ken and Marian Freeman, Ron Stephenson, Roger Gaskill, Wayne and Shirley Leavitt, Bob MacCachren and Jon Block, to name a few.
The first members founded the club in 1968 in what has become one of the oldest auto racing sanctioning bodies in the nation. Promoting the sport of off-road racing is not easy, but those involved with the club have continued in what is truly a fascinating example of dedication to the fullest.
“I remember as a young girl going to the SNORE meetings at the old Jeep Posse Hall,” said Barlow, whose husband, Louie, served as race steward for the group. “SNORE has die-hard families that simply will not give up and that is a tribute to the club and its long existence.”
The best in the business praise SNORE and the people who have supported the group and especially Bert Vaughan.
“Bert was among the group’s members that helped make the Mint 400 possible by providing the original support plant for the event,” said KJ Howe, the former race director of the Mint 400 in the 1970s and 1980s. “SNORE has always been very dedicated people, and Bert was right there at the top of the list because of the can-do attitude. They knew how to get things done.”
In what has become a very popular pre-race event, a meet-and-greet has been scheduled June 10 from 8:30-10 a.m. at The Historic Caliente Railroad Station/Depo (City Hall).
A field of almost 100 are expected for the race which will cover four 63-mile laps.
Pomona, Calif., iron worker Curt Geer has driven his 1600cc entry to victories in the Battle at Primm in February and SNORE/More Motion Tire 300 in Ridgecrest, Calif. in April to pace the 2016 Patrick’s Signs Series.
After the Caliente race, SNORE will take a break from the summer heat before returning with the KC HiLites Midnight Special Sept. 11-12 in Lucerne Valley, Calif., the 46th annual SNORE 250 in Kingman, Ariz. Oct. 23-24 and the Rage at the River Dec. 11-13 in Laughlin, Nev., rounding out the 2015 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Championship Series Schedule.
Further information can be found by visiting www.snoreracing.net.