Jericho ATV Festival – Berlin, NH
ATVs and mud. A perfect combination, right?
All terrain vehicles, or “four wheelers”, are designed to handle almost any road conditions. Should a waist-deep mud pit be the only thing standing between you and your destination, it would definitely be helpful to be riding an ATV. Which is exactly the situation riders found themselves faced with at the Jericho ATV festival. OK, maybe the giant mud pit was man-made, but it was there nonetheless.
Riders in various classes (depending on the size of their engine and any modifications made) faced off against each other in drag races through the giant mud pit, with varying degrees of success. Some cruised right through, while others needed to work and rock their machines to gain some traction and get them through the pit. And yes, some even got, proverbially, stuck in the mud. Filled with logs, rocks, dirt, and tons of water, the 50 yard x 10 yard mud pit proved a formidable test for these powerful machines.
The mud pit races were only part of the Jericho ATV Festival though, as New Hampshire’s newest state park offered hundreds of riders the opportunity to ride on more than 80 miles of trails and obstacle courses. The event also featured a poker run (Riders go from checkpoint to checkpoint collecting playing cards. Best poker hands win prizes), manufacturer displays and demo rides, and even a chance to run through the mud pit after the races. Even the local city of Berlin, NH got in on the action, allowing OHRV (Off Highway Recreational Vehicle) traffic on all city streets during the two-day festival. The ATV parking area near the mud pit doubled as an opportunity to see just how many people love riding their vehicles through this state.
All of which makes sense for the state of New Hampshire, of course. For a state that is 42nd in total population and 46th in square mileage, New Hampsherites are doing their best to hike, bike, climb, swim, kayak, or off-road every square mile. Nearly one third of the state’s area is taken up by national and state parks and trails, with ATV riders and trails growing in numbers each year. There are 22 ATV clubs in the state, and the 66 ATV trails account for around 7.5% of New Hampshire’s entire square mileage. It’s safe to say that ATVers have found their home in New Hampshire.
As for the festival, it’s clear that riding your own ATV through the Jericho Mountain State Park was really the highlights of the event for most people. For as fun as the mud pit racing was, it was clear that most people were there biding their time until it was their turn to hit the trails. The festival is only in its third year, with a few kinks in planning to iron out. The races started nearly an hour later than they were scheduled, and the lack of coordination between races and drivers meant a lot of standing and waiting for the next race to start.
But that didn’t stop the mud from flying when the races did get underway, as fans cheered the riders on as they made their way through the crashing brown waves. Even females got into it, as there were a high number of women competitors taking their ATVs through the pit. No gender stereotypes here, as ATVs are fun for everyone.
The festival ended with everyone taking off to hit the trails for a fun and fast afternoon through a dusty and hilly forested landscape. As New Hampshire knows, it’s a great place to get your ATV muddy.