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Taking a different course; Off-roaders hit OHV Park at night

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018
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Ride All Night

RIDE ALL NIGHT – Off-roader Dave Hansen poses with his 2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ Rubicon. Hansen is one of roughly 300 people who attended Northwest OHV’s all-night ride. Messenger photo by Reece Waddell

As the sun went down Saturday night, visitors from across the Metroplex rolled into Northwest OHV Park for its all-night ride.

The park, along with Bridgeport Parks and Recreation, hosts the after dark ride several times per year.

Bridgeport Recreation Superintendent Chris Heasley said he expected more than 300 people to attend the event.

“It’s something different than the everyday experience,” Heasley said. “Most people are normally getting to ride in the sunlight and [now] they’re getting to ride with their headlights. The other aspect of it is, especially right now when it’s just so hot during the day, this gives them a chance to do it when it’s not 100 degrees outside.”

The Northwest OHV Park is one of only a handful of off-roading parks in the region that allows bigger vehicles on its courses. Heasley believes that, coupled with its close proximity to the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, led to more than 17,000 people coming through the gates in 2017.

“The bigger vehicles, jeeps and SUVs – there aren’t many places for them to go,” Heasley said. “Realistically, the closest place for them to go is three hours east of Dallas. So if you’re going there, you’re going for the weekend. We make great day trips. We’re also one of the few parks that allows the bigger vehicles to play. Anything you want to take off-road, we’ll let you take off-road.”

The 300-acre park has several different courses ranging in degrees of difficulty, from the easy “green” courses to the heart-stopping “black” courses.

Off-roader Dave Hansen, who drove in from McKinney, completed a red course -the second-hardest one – Saturday afternoon and said it was a thrill and workout. He hoped to complete a night ride later Saturday.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Hansen said. “It’s like golf. Why else would you go out in the heat of Texas during the summer like this? It’s the personal challenge. The course is very scenic. Very Flintstones-ish.”

Hansen owns a 2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ Rubicon that he said is a collector’s item. This particular Jeep was only made for two years, and as a result, there are only 12,000 in the world.

The Wrangler LJ Rubicon has a wheel base that is 10 inches longer than other models and more powerful components in the drive line.

Hansen doesn’t have any plans of taking on a black course any time soon.

“There’s stuff in here I’m not brave enough to try,” Hansen said. “If you try a black course, you better have a buggy and spare parts.”

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