We hear a lot of race promoters for ATV and UTV racing saying that it is hard to make a profit putting on races. But then we see other series that are thriving. In the case of the Texhoma Quad Racing Association, they are still getting excellent race turnouts, and the profit thing? TQRA is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 and currently run by pro racer Austin Wilson. How popular is the series? As the name might lead you to believe, all 10 rounds of the yearly series are run in north Texas and Oklahoma, but riders come from all over the Midwest and even as far as Mexico. Yes, we know that Texas borders Mexico, but Texas is a huge state, and anywhere in Mexico is more than a 10-hour drive to north Texas.
We suspect that a large part of the draw is the program. Saturdays have practice between 10 and 3:30, and there are two laps of practice on Sunday morning. Entry, gate and camping fees all look reasonable. The TQRA attracts an impressive roster of national ATV/MX riders to ride with regional pros. The final event of the year is the ATV challenge in memory of Caleb Moore. You may remember that Caleb Moore was a champion quad and snowmobile freestyle rider, and he did a lot of racing with the TQRA. The TQRA put on a whale of an event in Caleb’s memory. First of all there was a $30,000 pro purse, with the $10,000 winner’s check going to national ATV/MX champ Chad Wienen in 2013. In addition to the pro purse, invited national pros were paid an additional $1500 in appearance money. Unlike the normal series race, the challenge is a three-day format, with practice on a Friday and racing on Saturday and Sunday.
For pros, the format resembles the Monster Energy Cup motorcycle stadium race in Las Vegas, with three motos for the pros. Having a thriving pro class is great for spectators. It helps amateur riders learn, and it gives all of the up-and-coming riders a goal to shoot for. But any regional series lives or dies on the amateur turnout. The TQRA averages in the 150-rider range for most events. Naturally, there are many adult skill, displacement and age classes making up that number, but most important, a healthy number of youth riders. There is some impressive machinery running in the youth classes as well.
TQRA is trying to grow UTV racing as well. Currently there is a single UTV Open class at each event, but they are considering other classes. TQRA does have members, and they get a discount on entries, but membership is not required to race. For more information on racing, go to www.tqra.com or www.atvchallenge.com.