The event gets under way at 9 a.m. at the Verda Field with event registration and then late Friday night the group will host a community bonfire. Several events and competitions that are always entertaining for spectators are planned Saturday.
Nearly 4,000 people gathered last year to watch the festivities and another large turnout is expected this year as well. Preston McLain, president of the Harlan County Ridge Runners, said he does have a few concerns about the quickly rising gas prices possibly hurting spectator turnout.
“I believe we will have a large turnout even with the gas rates the way that they are. This event is always something that is very family oriented. No drugs or alcohol are allowed at the event, and safety is always our number one priority,” he said. “Over the past four years, these type events have brought hundreds and thousands of new dollars to this county. They bring a lot of new tourism here.”
The events will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday with an obstacle course competition. ATVs and UTVs will go through a challenging course that will feature several jumps, a rock garden, barrels to go through as well as a seesaw like contraption. Which ever vehicle finishes the course in the fastest time will be declared the winner of the event. Later that evening, a lady’s mad dash for cash will take place as women will fight through a mud pit for money. A sledpool competition will also be featured as ATV and UTV vehicles will see which one can pull the most weight in the fastest time. Registration for all events is $5 and admission to the event is free.
David Smith, treasurer of the Ridge Runners, said the event is entertaining for people of any age.
“We will have events there for children just like we always do. Little obstacle courses will be set up for them to compete in. It is always very exciting for them to be able to participate in these kind of events, they always enjoy it. This event will be great, we’re expecting a bigger turnout this year then what we have had in previous years. It has grown every year and we expect it to do the same this time around. People always have this event marked on their calendar,” Smith said.
A water truck will be running throughout the day in order to control the dust.