Parker 425 start

A truck roars across the railroad crossing on 18th Street on its way to the race course after the start of the 2020 Parker 425 on California Avenue in downtown Parker. The race will not start on California Avenue this year as the Colorado River Indian Tribes have cancelled the portions of the race on their reservation, and racers would need to travel over Tribal land to get to the race course from downtown Parker.

The Colorado River Indian Tribes have expressed their disappointment that Best in the Desert Racing Association has decided to hold their Parker 425 off-road race in January after the Tribes announced it had been canceled Dec. 29. A statement from Best in the Desert said the race will still take place, but it will be entirely run on land held by the Bureau of Land Management.

The race and events surrounding it have been scheduled for Jan. 13-16.

The Tribes said they had cancelled the race due to fears a large influx of visitors would further spread the coronavirus pandemic. The same day the announcement was made, the Tribes reported 28 new cases among Tribal members to bring the total to 541.

“From our point of view we were hoping that the race would understand and cancel the event for the safety of the community,” the Tribes said in a statement released Dec. 30. “Apparently that is not what Best in the Desert chose to do. We won't speculate as to their reasons, but we think it's clear that our only concern is the safety of our people.”

BITD’s Bryan Folks told the Parker Pioneer Dec. 29 that they had been working on a contingency plan with the Town of Parker and BLM in the event the Tribes closed down reservation land to the races.

“We want to let our racers and fans know that the BlueWater Parker 425 Presented by Jimco Racing is ON despite the recent announcement by the CRIT,” a statement from BITD read.” Best in the Desert has been working on a contingency plan with the BLM and our other partners from the Town of Parker for over three months in anticipation we would not be able to use CRIT reservation land.”

The BITD statement said the race will start and finish on Shea Road, which would be similar to the traditional start and finish for the old Parker 400 for many years. The race will still be three laps, but with less mileage. The race will be “just shy of 400 miles.” They said updated course and pit maps along with other information will be posted in coming days at their website, www.bitd.com.

The Town of Parker and BITD had already made plans to hold contingency and technical inspection in downtown Parker, along with the Downtown Experience Street Fair. These had been held at the BlueWater Resort & Casino, but the BlueWater has been on limited operations since it reopened in September, and all special events have been cancelled until further notice.

The race had started on California Avenue in downtown Parker since before BITD began operating the races in 2003. That won’t happen this year because the racers would need to cross Tribal land to get to the race course. The Parker Python and main pit area, which are popular spectating and camping locations, will not be used this year because they sit on Tribal land behind Avi Suquilla Airport.

In their statement, the Tribes said they have received no cooperation or support from other entities in fighting the pandemic.

“Once again, CRIT stands alone in this fight against the pandemic as there has not been any support from the Town of Parker or La Paz county since it began,” they said. “This was not a decision that Best in the Desert had not already discussed with us they understood the possibility of our involvement ending.”

Parker Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said no one at the Town was consulted by the Tribes about cancelling the race on Tribal land. She added the cancellation came as a shock to the Town staff.

The off-road races in Parker are the biggest draws for visitors to the area. It’s estimated more than 20,000 spectators come from the Parker 425. They fill local hotels and campgrounds to their limit. Race fans also spend money in local businesses and restaurants.

In their Dec. 29 statement announcing the cancellation, the Tribes noted Indian Health Services has reported 141 new cases between Dec. 1 and Dec. 27. In the same period, La Paz County reported 473 new cases, bringing the county’s total up to 1,347. A total of 33 county residents have died.

“The influx of thousands of racing spectators would drastically increase the number of COVID-19 cases on the CRIT Reservation when the pandemic is already reaching alarming numbers,” the statement said.

The Tribes noted their “Stay at Home” resolution, No. 54-20, was re-instated Dec. 24. It sets a 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew on Tribal lands, prohibits non-essential travel, cancels recreational activities, and prohibits gatherings of six or more people not in the same household. The order will remain in effect until at least Jan. 31.

In their statement of Dec. 30, the Tribes urged everyone to follow the provisions of Resolution No. 54-20 and to “stay safe.”

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(4) comments

fnelson

It doesn't make no sense, These defiant people resisting live saving measures. The California Hospital ER's are filled to over capacity with Covid people all dying in the hallways and tents outside? There has be a part of your brain missing or something? Half of people who have died from Covid 19 are Trump MAGA supporters. They believed Donald Trump telling them to not wear masks and it's okay to gather in large crowded super spreader events. Donald Trump said there civil rights were being violated. Well what we are in right now is a deadly Bio hazard war zone and that has nothing to do with civil rights violation. These people have gone mad and have lost there common sense of reality.

Bill

The death rate in the U.S. is 1.7% of those who come down with the whuflu.

Trump supporters have nothing to do with your paranoia over a nothing.

ANelson

"Half of people who have died from Covid 19 are Trump MAGA supporters. "

So then the other half would be Biden supporters. right? California has the most stringent lockdown/prevention orders in the Nation. So how are all these people getting it? Look at hospital capacity reports and not the bullshit media, and you'll see that hospitals are at about the same capacity levels as every other year. (That's how hospital make money) And the seasonal flu rate is 98%-99% lower than normal. Everyone that dies and tests positive for COVID is listed as a COVID death. Including trauma (car accidents, falls, gunshot, drowning, multi-system failure in geriatric patients in Hospice and nursing homes, etc.) It's estimated that COVED deaths are over-reported by 40-60%. And even with the over-reporting, only about 1/10th of 1 percent (.10568%) of US residents die from COVID. (For comparison 13.4% die from Heart Failure). COVID (reported) deaths of those who test positive is 1.75%, in other words, the survivability rate is 98.25% for those who "catch" the disease. More people are dying from conditions related to the lock-downs, than related to COVID (suicide, domestic violence/child abuse deaths, starvation/malnutrition, delay in other medical care, drug/opioid abuse, cardiovascular disease & stroke from inactivity, etc.) A common sense approach (hand washing, distancing, mask wear) is a far better solution than shutting down stores, businesses, events, imprisoning people in their homes, and destroying livelihoods. But $600 will get us through, right?

fnelson

Go back to California and go hang out in those over crowded ER rooms and see if that will make you a believer. Go hang out in L.A. why do you want to come over here then. And take your Covid virus super spreader attitudes with you. Better yet, go to Mar Lago in Florida with Trump, see how much he cares about you guys. Go to Washington DC be around your lying/cheater loser POTUS Trump. Why come to Parker, AZ. Don't you idiots know that your on Indian Land.

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