If Pahrump, Nev. has a claim to fame other than it once was the site of above-ground atomic bomb testing, it's the fact the town annually plays host to the Terrible's Town 250 Off-Road Race.
It was that four-wheeling adventure in the desert, 60 miles west of Las Vegas, that drew the Rim country racing team of Warren Parton, Marty Rose and Casey Barnett.
Contested April 6, the off-road race attracted 103 trucks, 56 motorcycles and 28 quads to the competition that began and ended at Terrible's Town Casino in Pahrump.
Entered in the "Quad E" or 250cc expert class, Parton, Rose and Barnett teamed up to finish first in their division and fourth overall.
The trio completed the 257-mile race through such rugged desert sites as Crystal and Johnnie, Lone Butte, Amargosa Valley, Spector and Springdale in 6:23.40.
"The conditions were extreme dry washes, sand and lots of rocks," Parton said.
The overall winners of the quad event, professional racers Jimmy Stephenson of Las Vegas and Michael Cafro of Carlsbad, Calif. were clocked at 5:58.42.
What made the Payson team's standout showing special for Parton was the fact the three were able to out-race many factory-sponsored teams that build custom racing machines on luxury budgets.
Parton, Rose and Barnett raced a 1987 Honda 4Trax 250cc that the team pieced together on a shoestring budget in Rose's garage.
"We probably put 250 hours together getting (the ATV) ready sometimes we'd work until midnight," Parton said.
Despite all of the attention the team focused on preparing the Honda, the quad almost succumbed to the rigors of the rough desert terrain. A broken frame in the later stages of the race while Parton was aboard almost took the ATV out of the race.
By the time Parton turned over the Honda to Barnett for the final 20-mile leg into Pahrump, the machine was barely navigable. The Payson team, however, was buoyed in the final grueling miles by the knowledge it had a sizable lead over eventual Quad E runners-up Shaun Moore, Tyson Leaver and Brian Butler of Las Vegas.
"I told Casey just to limp it in, we wanted to finish," Parton said.
The Rim riders eventually won the E class crown by 2 minutes, 2 seconds over the Las Vegas pros.
In preparing for the competition, the local trio decided they would aggressively attack the course by alternating riders over 20-mile legs.
As the first rider, Parton turned the machine over to Barnett who then relinquished to Rose.
Parton and Barnett eventually manned the Honda for three legs and Rose was aboard for two.
Parton admits the sight of high-dollar factory-sponsored rigs from most of the major ATV builders was a bit intimidating.
"They were from all over Canada, Mexico, France and Japan," he said.
But as the event wore on, the Rim racers quickly learned their hometown quad was every bit as good as the factory ATVs.
"We had it ready to run, we wanted to beat those (factory) guys," Parton said.
The victory was a vindication of sorts for last year when the Rim team was unable to finish the race due to mechanical problems.
"We broke down, that was tough," Parton said.
The Terrible's Town race, which is one of the Silver State off-road series and is sanctioned by Best in the Desert, awarded $10,000 in prize money to event winner Troy Herbst of Huntington Beach, Calif. Herbst drove a Shaver-powered, 700-horsepower truck over the course in 4:40.56.
Following the local team's return to Payson, the trio who also race the Arizona Whiplash Circuit began plotting ways to repair their Honda and ready it for future racing challenges.
"We definitely will need a new frame," Parton said.
If the team can pickup more sponsors it is now sponsored only by MMP Construction and Barnett Electric it has the option of participating in several upcoming national events.
Events include the Tonopah, Nev. 300, May 5 and 6, and the Baja 500, June 1 through June 3 in Mexico. In September, the Las Vegas Primm 300 and the Vegas-to-Reno run highlight the racing scene.
The granddaddy of all off-road racing events the Baja 1000 is Nov. 8 through Nov. 11.