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The annual event mixes crazy cars, environmental service and live music for a fun weekend.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - A typical Gambler 500 vehicle on a mission in Central Oregon.The annual Gambler 500 Rally was held in Deschutes County over the June 10-12 weekend, drawing participants from all over Oregon as well as neighboring states and provinces.

The informal gathering is known for its outrageous vehicles, usually constructed from wrecks or junk cars, but public service is at the heart of this event.

Participants in the Gambler Rally spent their weekend driving on established trails in the Crooked River National Grassland, located near Redmond and Madras. Using GPS applications on their phones, Gamblers sought out illegal dumping sites and cleaned them up, bringing the garbage to dumpsters prepositioned in the grasslands and at the rally's base camp in Redmond.

USDA Forest Service rangers were on hand to monitor and assist with the effort.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Just some of the junk cleaned up over the June 10-12 weekend.

The Gambler 500 was founded in 2014 by Tate Morgan and a small group of friends and has become one of the most popular alternative automotive events in Oregon. This year, hundreds of people built cars and turned up for the weekend-long cleanup effort. The base camp, known as Gamblertown, featured live music, food trucks and camping.

This year's Gambler event was so successful that the dumpsters were full by Friday evening. Organizers devoted part of the Gamblertown field to hold the overflow. In all, organizers reported over 1,000 cubic yards of trash were removed, along with dozens of abandoned cars, RVs, boats and appliances from the wilderness area and brought it all to Gamblertown for proper disposal.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Trash being hauled away at the 2022 Gambler 500 rally.

Gambler organizers have encouraged others to replicate the Oregon event's success in their own states, spreading the concept across North America.

"We allow people to use the term Gambler as long as it's free and participants embrace the ideals of stewardship while having cheap fun in the outdoors," says the group's website. The location of next year's Gambler event has not been announced, but learn more at

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