During recent years, the small and typically quiet town of Huntsville, Tennessee, has been slowly transformed into what many would agree is the most phenomenal ORV destination in the Southern United States. This change began in 2005 when local entrepreneur Mark Love opened Brimstone Recreation to off-road enthusiasts with a desire to share his town's incredible natural beauty and pristine trail systems. The thought of 300-plus miles of trails sprawled across 20,000 acres is enough to make my mouth water, but the ATV-friendly city of Huntsville has put the icing on the cake by incorporating an ordinance allowing both ATVs and UTVs to operate on city streets. This allows enthusiasts to commute to and from their preferred lodging location, visit convenience stores for fuel and dine in local restaurants without the inconvenience of loading and hauling their machines into town. If this sounds like your idea of great adventure, then you'll be blown away by the special events that Brimstone holds each year.
While many spent their Memorial Day weekend lounging around the house or playing a round or two of golf, 6,000 people including the ATV Rider staff attended Brimstone's exciting three-day White Knuckle Event (www.whiteknuckleevent.com). This wasn't my first time visiting Brimstone, so I had a good idea of what could be expected and knew Yamaha had just the machine that I would need. After making a couple of phone calls and pulling a few strings, we had an unstoppable Rhino 700 awaiting our arrival. The Rhino had multiple roles to play throughout the weekend, such as serving as a pack mule, stadium seating during events and providing a nonstop rush of adrenaline as we traverse the treacherous terrain of the Appalachian Mountains.
The sled pull proved to be...
The sled pull proved to be one of the toughest and most popular events of the weekend.
After a five-hour drive from Georgia, a Friday afternoon arrival allowed just enough time to unload our gear and set out to view the mountaintop where the weekend festivities would be taking place. Numerous venders such as GBC Tires and Elka Suspension were already set up and awaiting the massive crowd that was soon to come. We didn't stick around due to the fact that we were extremely eager to tackle a few trails before making our way into town for dinner by sunset.
Saturday morning held quite a surprise as the streets and trailheads were overrun with the awe-inspiring sight of ATVs and UTVs eagerly making their way up the mountain to witness and participate in the numerous scheduled events that would soon take place. The scheduled events were broken into classes by machine size and type, and points were earned throughout the day as each competitor competed. These contests began with a sled pull where everything from sport ATVs to heavily modified, purpose-built, sled-pulling 4WDs fought for bragging rights. Participants also had the opportunity to tackle an obstacle course complete with a boulder and log crossing while racing the clock, which was immediately followed by a sloppy pass through the soup-like mud pit. The pinnacle of the day's contests was undoubtedly the Mystery Event. As the name suggests, those competing had no clue of what was to come as they congregated around a single Kawasaki Teryx awaiting further instructions. They soon discovered they were to be blindfolded and then would navigate the Teryx through a slalom course. Each competitor had the opportunity to choose his or her trusted copilot who would be instructing the driver. Some made their decision wisely, while others seemed as if the blind were leading the blindfolded. It was quite a spectacle, and each attempt was increasingly entertaining.
The participants had a blast as expected, and the crowd never dwindled as the day passed. It turns out that sunscreen was the only ingredient missing from my great afternoon.