Lynn Blamires, Special to the Standard-Examiner
After a year without a Salt Lake Off-Road Expo, it was back and exploding with new ideas about everything off-road. It was the place to be for people who love Jeeps, trucks, UTVs, ATVs, motorcycles and dune buggies.
Over a two-day period, the South Towne Expo Center was packed with a variety of recreational equipment and vehicles, accessories, riding gear, fashion wear to make you look smart in the backcountry, and camping equipment to make things more comfortable. I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of the off-road community for the whole time I was there. I met a lot of people I know in the ATV community from all over the state.
This years show was attended by over 26,000 people, which is considerably more than the 18,600 who attended the last show in 2020. The vendor space was sold out months before the show, which included 155 vendors. Now they are arranging for more space for next year’s show. It just keeps getting bigger and better.
This is the place for new ideas for accessories and all things outdoors. I found plenty of material for future ATV Adventure articles. To name a few, I found a new and better way to plug tires, I learned about a new jamboree in one of my favorite riding places and I met people from the Blue Ribbon Coalition who are actively fighting to keep public lands open. I also found a company with a better idea for clamping anything to the roll cage of my UTV.
I found new ways to light up my UTV with light poles, overhead reading lights for inside the cab, light bars and rearview mirrors that feature forward lighting. The street-legal kits are getting more sophisticated. The turn signals are now becoming integrated into the original lighting systems on the basic machines. I have come across some of these “Christmas Trees” on the trail at night and there is nothing stealthy about them.
While I don’t have a beard, I found two booths that specialized in beard care products. I did try to grow a beard one time back in the day. I could say that I was successful, but when I looked in the mirror I really wasn’t.
Vendor’s selling jerky products were at the show. In case you are wondering, jerky has everything to do with riding in the backcountry. You stop at a scenic spot, strike a stoic pose beside your machine, whip out a piece of jerky and chew while you survey the countryside. It is an open invitation for someone else to join in their own stoic pose to chew and view with you.
I am always fascinated by the machines that are on display at the expo. They feature amazing “wrapps” that tend to give the UTV more than a little character and amazing paint jobs that are both bold and colorful. I think it is interesting that when you are driving one of these pieces of art, you can’t see magnificent how you look, but you hope everyone else does.
Not only are they colorful, they are jacked up with remarkable suspension and oversized tires. I had no idea that they made 40-inch tires for a UTV.
I was disappointed that Lifetime didn’t have a booth. They are always coming up with great products for the outdoors. I got some of the most comfortable camp chairs from them at the last expo and I didn’t think there was such a thing.
Big Mountain Lodge in Ferron had a booth. I look forward to exploring the San Rafael Swell and the Arapeen Trail System from there this year.
Ray Golden was there promoting the Ticaboo Lodge at Lake Powell. Amazing trails grace that area and I will be there riding them again. The jamboree he holds in November just keeps getting more fun.
Canyon Hobbies again had an RC track with radio-controlled off-road vehicles. The track was a challenging obstacle course that young and old enjoyed trying out. The Social Ax Throwing booth was also back. It really is fun to throw an ax and make it stick.
Next year’s Salt Lake Off-Road Expo is set for Feb. 25 and 26. If you missed this one, put it on your calendar for 2023 and get yourself better prepared to enjoy the backcountry. Remember to take plenty of water, keep rubber side down and catch the expo next year.
Contact Lynn R. Blamires at [email protected]