MOAB is a no-brainer location for off-roaders and any chance to ride the incredible scenery of Southern Utah is a welcome opportunity. Combine that with the annual Discount Tire Rally on the Rocks jamboree and a couple thousand new friends, and you’ve got a can’t-miss event. Attending a ride, rally, or jamboree is a great way to explore new terrain, make new friends, and to check out new parts from vendors. Think of it as the county fair for off-road lovers and you’ll get the idea.
ARCTIC CAT ALL-IN
Arctic Cat loves to throw a party and when they asked if we would like to spend some quality time on their machines at this year’s Rally on the Rocks, we surely weren’t going to pass it up. As one of the main sponsors of the event, they were all-in with a huge, new display area showing Arctic Cat machines and technology. One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen was their virtual ride where you strapped on 3-D goggles and then were immersed in an interactive ride both on their off-road machines and on snowmobiles. You could look up, down or in any direction and it was like you were riding the machine. VERY COOL! If we had one of these at home, two things would happen: it would seriously hamper any other projects getting done, and the dog would worry about getting fed!
The Discount Tire Rally on the Rocks is really a celebration of all things off-road. There were many vendors both selling parts and showing new products, test rides, new model displays, and hundreds of machines to look at and sometimes drool over. It also appears almost every machine at Rally on the Rocks is modified in some fashion. While some opted for just a few modifications like wheels, tires, and a good set of skid plates, many vehicles sported meticulous detail work and gorgeous, museum quality paint jobs along with high horsepower engines. We began to wonder if many had ever been on a trail! Each morning of the event, though, trail groups were organized and proud owners would head into the back-country of Moab to test themselves and their machines on some of the toughest terrain in the West.
Arctic had brought out their Wildcat X, Wildcat 4x, Wildcat Trail and Wildcat Sport for the ride and we were right at home in the lovable Wildcat Trail. Although the Wildcat Trail is set up to handle tight trails and woods riding with ease, we consider it one of the best Side x Sides ever, and we’ll happily take one anywhere. The trails of Moab would be the perfect opportunity to spend more time in one of our favorite machines. Arctic Cat had a special ride area in mind for us, and our group would be riding an area known as “Behind the Rocks.” Dean Bulloch of King of the Hammers fame and D&P Performance would be our trail guide, and that meant we were in for a treat.
The Behind the Rocks trail is really a trail on the high plateau. Getting there is a simple matter of a casual ride out of town, crossing a road, and then the fun begins. Did we mention Behind the Rocks is considered one of Moab’s most challenging trails? We quickly discovered why. A little obstacle called “Guardian Hill” is the first challenge of the day. It’s really a very steep, rock strewn climb up ledges that appear like a giant staircase. It’s difficult enough to walk up, much less drive up and when our experienced guide brought out the safety rope and tied it to the front bumper of the first machine, we knew we had crossed into the danger zone for both man and machine. Yikes! One by one the Wildcats bounced, clawed, and climbed skyward and to our amazement, not a single one tumbled end over end back down the hill. It was an impressive climb and an equally impressive show of all the Wildcat’s capabilities.
Throughout the day there would be more steep climbs, jaw dropping descents, and miles of rocks, whoops, and even sand dunes to conquer. At the end of the day, every Wildcat had survived the adventure, although some had a few new scratches or battle scars, but our group hadn’t experienced any mechanical failures or even a flat tire. For the type of terrain and riding we were doing, that was practically a miracle. For any riding at Moab, the two things you need most are a spare tire mounted in the back, and a Saint Christopher medal on the dash. Rather than describe everything we found, we’ll take you along for the ride in photos instead.
Despite being designed for far different types of terrain, all of the Wildcats performed remarkably well on some of Moab’s toughest trails. Whether it was the 50” wide, tree loving Wildcat Trail, or the desert conquering, 1000cc Wildcat-4X we were highly impressed with the big Cats. We’ll take on the rocks of Moab with an Arctic Cat Wildcat anytime!
WILDCAT FAMILY QUICK RUNDOWN
Wildcat Trail 50” width, 700cc engine, trail legal package offering HUGE fun for the price. UTV of the Year. Starting at $11,999
Wildcat Sport 60” width, 700cc engine, performance and quick handling. Starting at $14,599
Wildcat 64” wide, 1000cc class engine, high performance and huge suspension. Starting at $17,499
Wildcat 4X 64” wide, 1000cc class engine, high performance for four. Starting at $20,999