Breaking News Bar

Rock Bouncer racing coming to Saline County

  • Jedd Harper stirs some dust demonstrating his rock bouncer at Williams Hill Pass.

    Jedd Harper stirs some dust demonstrating his rock bouncer at Williams Hill Pass.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTOJedd Harper, left, talks with his friend Jim Pulley about the upcoming rock bouncer racing event at Williams Hill Pass.

    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTOJedd Harper, left, talks with his friend Jim Pulley about the upcoming rock bouncer racing event at Williams Hill Pass.

  • TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTOJedd Harper positions his rock bouncer for a photo at Williams Hill Pass.

    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTOJedd Harper positions his rock bouncer for a photo at Williams Hill Pass.

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
updated: 3/6/2021 7:48 PM

Jedd Harper pulls out his phone and shows a video of a heavily customized vehicle driving up an almost vertical grade.

The ascent looks nearly impossible for a human on foot, let alone a vehicle.

Nevertheless, the buggy crawls its way to the top to the cheers of onlookers.

"That's what this is all about," Harper says. "And it's got a heck of a following."

Harper is talking about the growing motor sport of "rock bouncing," in which handcrafted all-terrain vehicles with oversized tires race and climb through extreme off-road courses in competition.

"This sport is getting huge, and I want Saline County to be a part of it," Harper's friend, Casey Perkins says.

Perkins, a Saline County Board member, is promoting the county's first-ever rock bouncer racing event.

The event itself is the first of the season for Point1 Off Road Racing and will be held Saturday, Mar. 20 at Williams Hill Pass OHV-ATV Park south of Harrisburg.

"This is going to be a big outdoor event," Perkins said.

While the event itself will be Saturday, people wanting to watch may purchase a weekend pass for the event for $30. Race day-only admission is $25 per person; children age 10 and under are free.

To illustrate how quickly the sport, which originated in southern states like Alabama and Tennessee, is growing, Harper said he won't be able to make the first race.

"Unfortunately, I'm already scheduled to race a different circuit out in Utah that weekend," Harper said. "But, I'll be here for the second one."

A second rock bouncer racing event is scheduled for June.

Perkins said he got involved in bringing the races to Saline County because he wants to see the county turn around from its financial decline.

"We've lost coal mines and other jobs, but there's still a lot of potential here in Saline County. I want people to see what we have here," Perkins said.

Bringing the rock bouncer events to the county may help, he said.

"Some of the racers who do this professionally have hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in these vehicles," he said.

Though he won't be at the March race, Harper pulled his vehicle to Williams Hill Pass on Saturday for a quick demonstration. The buggy, with its 43-inch tires and 434 cubic-inch displacement motor, is a big step up from a modified side-by-side. The March race will feature vehicles like Harper's plus modified side-by-sides in two different classes.

Two lanes will be marked through the property, and each competitor will race each lane for time.

Harper's friend Jim Pulley says the rock bouncer races have attracted quite a following.

"There are a lot of fans who'll come to watch," Pulley said.

For that reason, and to boost the event's impact on Saline County businesses, Perkins is sponsoring a Yeti cooler giveaway. For every $30 spent in Saline County March 17-20, a race-goer will get an entry in a drawing for a Yeti 160. Receipts must be taken to Williams Hill Pass to be entered.

"We did this for a different event before, and we tallied up over $25,000 that was spent in Saline County," Perkins said. "That helps all of us out. I think that this has the chance of having an even bigger impact this time around."

For more information, contact Perkins on Facebook or go online to http://www.point1.racing/.