Best in the Desert Racing Association has announced that their 2021 season-ending event, the BlueWater Desert Challenge Brought to You by Fox, has been moved from Parker. It will be held instead at the Peralta Ranch in East Kern County, Calif. near Cal City on Nov. 4-7, 2021. The event name will also be changed to Cal City Desert Challenge Brought to You by Fox.
Best in the Desert announced the move Oct. 13 after being informed on Oct. 9 that the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) would not allow the event to run as planned. The Tribes cited an increase of new cases of coronavirus COVID-19 among their community as a reason for their decision.
Melissa Newton, Director of the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, said she was disappointed with the relocation.
“We are sad to hear that the BlueWater Challenge has been moved from Parker to Cal City as Best in the Desert Racing organization brings tourism, and excitement to our area,” she said. “Many local businesses rely upon this event and this change will impact the whole community.”
BITD events usually fill up the area’s motels, hotels and campgrounds. They also create revenue for restaurants, retail stores and gas stations. Parker Town Manager and Finance Director Lori Wedemeyer has told the Town Council on several occasions the busiest times of the year for sales tax revenue are when the off-road events are held here.
In addition to the races, other events were planned. These included a youth UTV race and a street fair to coincide with holding contingency and technical inspection in downtown Parker. Contingency and technical inspection were held for several years at the BlueWater Resort & Casino, but the BlueWater has canceled all special events until further notice.
BITD’s press release said they were disappointed by CRIT’s decision, but added they were excited about the move to Cal City. They said the entire community is behind the relocation of the event, and BITD has access to over 80 acres of real estate to host an off-road race thanks to Lou Peralta and the Peralta Ranch.
“With season-ending points on the line and a year of hard work and effort by all our race teams there was no way we were going to let our racers down and not hold an event,” stated Jeff Phillips, Best In The Desert Race Operations Director in the press release. “At the Peralta Ranch, we have all the ingredients to put on not only a great truck/car/UTV race but also an excellent Youth UTV race as well. All I can say is everybody get ready, this is going to be special.”
CRIT has recently seen an upsurge in new coronavirus cases among their members. The Tribal Council reinstated their ‘Safer at Home’ order Sept. 16. Among other things, face masks are mandated in public areas on CRIT land. As of Oct. 13, there had been 1,033 case among Tribal members and 20 deaths out of a membership of 4,500.
There is no word yet on the Parker 250 race for motorcycles, quads and UTVs, or the Parker 425 race for trucks and buggies, which are set for early 2022. CRIT banned these races from their lands in January 2021, so they were held away from Parker on land held by the Bureau of Land Management.