King of the Hammers race returns with country singer Chayce Beckham
More dirt will fly when the second half of the annual King of the Hammers racing event returns to Johnson Valley this week.
After completing four days of “King of the Motos” racing on Sunday, “Hammertown” will see more daily off-road events like rock crawling and desert racing beginning Thursday through Feb. 11.
The second half of King of the Hammers will include food, live music, beer, vendors, festivities, and other events leading up to the 2023 Nitto Race of Kings.
Besides the 4×4 rock climbs, King of the Hammer will include short course racing, trucks, buggies, Class 11 Volkswagen Bugs, and UTVs, according to Off-Road Xtreme.
Billed as the most challenging off-road racing on the planet, some of the race courses in Johnson Valley are steep rocks, valleys, dry lake beds, and open fields, with many racers pushing past 100 mph.
The term “King of the Hammers” came from a series of difficult off-road paths that area locals, led by event founder Dave Cole, strung together years ago to create a friendly competition to see who could do all of them in a day, according to Bloomberg.
Each mountain trail had the name “Hammer” in it, like Sledge Hammer, Jack Hammer, and so forth. The winner of the challenge would be the King—or Queen—of the Hammers.
Located on a temporary lake bed settlement on land operated by the Bureau of Land Management, Hammertow’s makeshift village is expected to draw over 80,000 race fans and a sea of RV campers during the event located east of Lucerne Valley.
Country singer, American Idol Chayce Beckham
“American Idol” and High Desert native Chayce Beckham will close out King of The Hammers on Feb. 11 with a concert on the Monster Energy Stage.
Beckham spent most of 2022 touring in support of country superstars Jimmie Allen and Luke Combs. Although he has yet to announce his next round of touring plans, Beckham does have several dates on the books, according to Country Now.
Beckham, born in Victorville and recently lived in Apple Valley, garnered the "American Idol" crown in May 2021.
Other weekly performers include Guttermouth, Mama Foxxy & The Whiskey Gypsy Rebels, Matt Farris, Jared Blake, Hollywood Yates, A.D.D., Local Anthology, Caiden Brewer, Spray Allen, and Sublime with Rome.
Meanwhile, residents and business owners in Lucerne Valley, which is situated about 28 miles west of Means Dry Lake, are likely eagerly anticipating the event's arrival.
In a previous interview with the Daily Press, Chuck Bell, president of the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association, called King of the Hammers a “major” financial boon to gas stations, auto parts stores, and other businesses in the town of about 7,000 people.
Visitor dollars may also be spent throughout Victor Valley, and Yucca Valley's travelers pass through the area on the way to and from Johnson Valley.
Spectator Pro Tips
If you’re heading out to KOH, Off-Road Xtreme is offering a few spectator tips.”
Bring a neck gaiter to protect you from dusty winds.
There will be little cell service on the lakebed, so have your maps downloaded for offline use.
Bring more supplies than you think you need: Firewood, ice, food, snacks, drinks, water, and firewood.
Pack for all seasons and weather.
Wear durable gear and expect it to get thrashed
Bring boots, overalls, coveralls, and other work wear.
Dress in layers: Outer shells, warm inner layers, beanies, gloves, sunglasses, and goggles.
If you drive or ride in a UTV, wear a helmet or get a ticket.
The BLM announced the temporary closure of public lands from Feb. 2 to Feb. 12 in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area during the race.
The BLM has approved a five-year public land closure for up to 10 days a year through 2027. Registered race spectators, participants, and race officials are exempt from the closure.
Approximately 81,000 acres of the Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will be temporarily closed to public use, and about 46,000 acres will be available for public use during the event.
“The safety of spectators and participants is our top priority. The public is reminded to recreate responsibly and cooperate with race officials and local law enforcement officers to stay safe and ensure the success of the off-road races,” said BLM California Desert District Manager Michelle Lynch.
The temporary closure complies with the management plan for the area. A minimum of three staging areas within the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area will remain open to the public for both weekends of the temporary closure period.
Nearby limited-use areas will remain available for off-highway vehicles, and other recreation uses.
Information and a map of the closure area for the 2023 race event will be available for viewing at the BLM’s California Desert District Office and Barstow Field Office. Download a map of the closure.
For tickets and more information on the 2023 Progressive King of the Hammers Powered by OPTIMA Batteries, visit www.ultra4racing.com or kingofthehammers.com.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.
This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: King of the Hammers race returns with American Idol singer Chayce Beckham