ODESSA – The 50th annual Stumpjumpers Desert 100 was held this weekend just outside Odessa. The event drew thousands of people to watch and participate as well as a lot of dust.
The event, an annual off-road motorcycle rally comprising six separate races, has had many homes since its beginnings in 1970. Originally in Mattawa from 1970 to 1983, it later moved to Vantage from 1985 to 2002 before moving to joining its current location in Odessa in 2003. This year’s event took place last Saturday and Sunday.
According to the 2022 race schedule, the Desert 100 is the largest such event in the world and has the largest single-line start in motorsport.
Enumclaw’s Tate Matherly said he’s been involved in off-road motorcycle racing his whole life and has been racing the Desert 100 since the ’80s. runners and the organizers of the event, so he comes to support them and reconnect. Matherly also has a racing series in Washington called the Northwest Off-Road Championship Series.
Matherly said the motocross community is close and welcoming, which is part of why he’s passionate about it.
“Off-road motorcycling is a very tight-knit group. It’s people who go down the road with a dirt bike in their truck and when they see another bike they’ll wave just because it’s like a link. There’s a camaraderie that can’t be that can’t be replaced. I mean, everyone here will help anyone anytime,” he said.
Matherly said mountain biking is hard to quit once you get a taste of it. He also noted that since this event is one of a kind when it comes to the single-line start, spectators won’t see anything like it anywhere else.
Race co-chair Tom McIntosh said he believed around 8,000 people attended over the weekend.
“We couldn’t do this without the city of Odessa and the community around us,” McIntosh said.
He added that all the participants are volunteers and they do it because they like it.
“It’s tradition and look at the fun we give everyone. I mean, how can you not like it,” McIntosh said.
He said they love motorcycles and love sports and that’s why they’re all here. He admitted he got emotional when the runners started lining up because he was relieved to have the event after waiting so long. The pandemic canceled the 50th anniversary which was originally scheduled for 2020.
Race results were not available at press time. Results will be published once received.
Rebecca Pettingill can be reached at [email protected]