This year marked the 11th annual running of the Steel Stampede, held at Crooked River Ranch on May 6 and 7.
The idea for the Steel Stampede came to Pete Fisher 12 years ago, when he gazed at the field by the Dick Chandler Ball Park. Fisher, who can aptly be described as a motorcycle enthusiast and visionary, knew this would be the perfect location for a race.
The event continues to grow, both in number of participants and the number of spectators. It is the largest event of its kind in the Northwest and draws participants mainly from Oregon, Washington and California, but some come from all points in the U.S. This year, there were 170 race riders and 35 trials participants.
There were a number of new riders this year, including a 12- and 15-year-old who participated in the trials. The event is a great way for them to learn control of the motorcycle. To ride in the races, you must be 16 and have parental permission. The oldest rider in the motocross (races) was over 80.
According to Ranch Manager Judy LaPora, "The participants love to come here. They are amazed by the scenery, enjoy the hospitality and love the course. It's a very popular race."
The vintage motorcycles ridden in the event are from 1974 or older.
The Steel Stampede is a true community event. It takes more than 120 volunteers to run the two-day event. Volunteers and volunteer jobs include judging trials, serving as race monitors, working the gates, and selling T-shirts.
Ken Nolan served as announcer, and the Madras JROTC Color Guard presented the colors. CRR Fire and Rescue was on hand throughout the event.
Linda Fisher and crew handled registration and scoring, Jeremy Hall assisted Fisher with the trials portion (Saturday); Terry Miller assisted Fisher with the track portion (Sunday); and the ATV Group provided the use of several all-terrain vehicles.
The CRR Club and Maintenance Association road, maintenance, and golf maintenance crews worked on the course, which was damaged after the harsh winter. They also made improvements on the course.
Event organizer Pete Fisher never hesitates to credit volunteers and sponsors with the success of the event. "The Crooked River Ranch community embraces the event," he said. "Without the spirit of volunteerism, the stampede wouldn't happen. The HOA provides tremendous support and 35 businesses and individuals sponsor the event."
In addition to the Steel Stampede, a motorcycle Swap Meet and Show was held at the Dick Chandler Ball Field next to the event of May 6. The meet, organized by Pam and Mike Falconi, gives people the opportunity to show and sell their bikes.
Proceeds from the initial event were earmarked for the fire hall, with proceeds from subsequent events benefiting the community at large. Projects such as the restrooms by Lions Memorial Park, the new Visitors Kiosk, Coyotes Den Disc Golf Course, our new bleachers and chips which line the walking trail at Panorama Park were all provided for the community with proceeds from the event.
Last year's proceeds are earmarked for an enhanced children's playground, which will be located at the CRR RV Park and will be available to all residents and visitors at the RV Park.
LaPora estimated the proceeds from this year's event at more than $10,000. Funds from the event have not yet been allocated.