Happy Trails to you and your family!
As we head into Fall riding here in Southeast Texas, I'm looking back at the year and very happy that things are going well for TRH. After facing the last couple of years of losing the Skull Creek lease and the closure of the Sam Houston National Forest, the club is still in excellent shape with a solid membership support system and continued club events. For our 2016 TRH Off-Road Championship Series, we've had two very successful events, and we were able to try out the new Sprint Enduro format. We had Funday rides on Saturday before both of those events that allowed members to come out and ride at their own pace and leisure without necessarily competing the next day. The Funday concept had a nice rider turnout, so expect to see more of those in the future.
Our Brunes Mill 2-day Sprint Enduro on September 24-25 was incredibly popular as well over 300 Texas Enduro Circuit riders traveled to Columbus to enjoy the new format. Once again, thanks to the club members that came out to help the weeks before and after the event. Eric Pullen was the event chairman and did an outstanding job rallying the troops and coordinating the many moving parts. If you see him out and about, please tell him thank you for a job well done. Now he gets to relax and go ride some Texas Enduro Circuit events this Winter. I always like to take the opportunity to thank our very loyal and longtime TRH Texas Enduro event sponsor, Cycle Shack North. CSN General Manger Scott Holzheimer has a strong desire to support TRH and makes a huge difference by remaining a club member that not only helps work on our events, but rides them too. Our events are expensive to promote, but the support and prizes that he provides always make a big difference in our ability to continue our mission to provide you and your family excellent opportunities to ride your dirt bike in a safe and fair environment. Please stop by the shop if you are in Conroe and thank Scott for all that he does. On a final note for the Sprint Enduro, a good friend of mine and a Texas Enduro legend, Terry Maxwell contributed big-time to TRH again this year and provided the trophies for the Sprint Enduro. This is normally an incredible expense for our events, but the fact that it was a 2-day event and he designed and delivered the trophies from the Odessa area speaks volumes of his love for the sport and appreciation of the effort TRH puts toward our sport. Thanks again to Terry Maxwell!
Now, let's get down to what is next for TRH! HARE SCRAMBLES!! On Sunday, October 30, TRH will have the final round of the 2016 Off-Road Championship Series at the beautiful Sterling Ranch in Willis, Texas. On Saturday evening, Oct 29, TRH will have the Halloween Haunted Woods and party. So please bring your little gobblins out for some good fun and a scary time. Over the last several years, TRH has perfected the haunted woods part of the Halloween party, so you will not be disappointed. TRH friend Brad Burch is the landowner and has graciously opened his property for us to have this event. Chuck Liccioni and Ray Stephenson will be the event chairmen and are holding a work weekend on October 22-23 for club members to come out and help put the final touches on the event course. Sterling Ranch day ride fees apply, so please come out to lend a hand and get some good riding in. The event flyer for race weekend is on the TRH website EVENTS section and TRH Facebook page. Please check it out and we hope to see you there. Our 2016 TRH Off-Road Championship Series is sponsored by 3P Sport Cycle Center, MSR, Moose Racing, Thor, Pro Taper, Tucker-Rocky and the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Race Gas Program. Club Board member Alirio Amado works at 3P Sport Cycle Center and has coordinated very special prizes for each event and the final Series Championship Winners. Stop by to thank them for supporting the sport and check out the new 3P Sport Cycle Center located just south of Conroe at 3 Palms MX Park.
Now, for some new and exciting news for the Off-Road community in Southeast Texas concerning our trails in the Sam Houston National Forest. Due to the extraordinary team efforts of the Sam Houston Trails Coalition, Old Dudes on Dirt Bikes, and several devoted TRH members, there is a very real possibility to have the Sam Houston National Forest trails open soon on the East side outer loop (approx 25 miles). The Trails Coalition President and TRH member, Ed Ponikvar, is leading the charge and making things happen. The Forest Service heavy equipment is currently on the trail repairing the erosion areas that caused the shutdown. The key to our future is trail sustainability by keeping the sand and dirt on the trail in the face of mother nature through engineering solutions called drain dips. Drain dips are placed to divert water off of the trail. This will be our challenge as trail volunteers, as the responsibility to maintain the trails will be passed down from the Forest Service to our user groups. I do not think personal responsibility is an issue with our group, so putting in the work will not be an issue if it is the price of having trails to ride. The best news for us is that Ed is relentless in his organizing and motivational efforts to lead this charge to get our trails open again. Understanding that he is doing all of this on a volunteer basis, he has learned how to navigate the challenges associated with re-opening public land by creating relationships and cooperation with the Forest Service, local politicians, and most importantly the other trail user groups. I have personally watched his dedication and helped him with my own energy and experience to bring this entire effort back from devastating bad news, and now we are on the edge of getting the trails re-opened. There are a couple of things that you can do to help push this momentum over the edge. Maintain your TRH membership, Join the Trails Coalition ($10 a year) and come out starting this Sunday to help the volunteers finish up the parts of the outer loop that we can affect by cutting face slappers and putting the final touches on a few bridge repairs. Yes, you can bring your bike or Four Wheeler, but as always, you must have a current ORV sticker and follow the rules as you've always done. Meet up at the Eastside Trailhead behind the Gulf Coast Trade Center around 8am. But, please understand that open riding is still not allowed, but with your help, we are getting closer. The very existence of the Sam Houston National Forest Multi-Use Trail system is critical to ensure the health of the Off-Road community continues to thrive here. If the forest trail system goes away because it was too much effort or we relied on someone else to do it, we stand to lose multiple decades and generations of TRH sweat equity and history. Not to mention, capturing this moment and showing your support will ensure that generations after us will have a place to go ride and play. That is what we do and why we are here. Please get involved and help us keep this wonderful place open.
10-4-16 THANK YOU, TRH!
A word from Lynn Bailey, your current TRH President:
Sept 10-11 Brunes Mill 2-Day Sprint Enduro Work Weekend - Trail Clean
Sept 12 TRH General Meeting @ Rio Bravo MX - 7:00pm
Sept 18 Brunes Mill 2-Day Sprint Enduro Final Course Marking
Sept 24-25 Brunes Mill 2-Day Sprint Enduro - Texas Enduro Circuit
September is shaping up to be very busy as the temperatures come down and we hold our traditional Texas Enduro Circuit event. This year we are holding the event as a 2-day Sprint Enduro at the Brunes Mill Ranch in Columbus, Texas. The Texas Enduro Circuit rulebook can be found at TSCEC.ORG for class structure. This will be the same location and event format as our May TRH Off-Road Championship Series round. The key point to remember as a TRH member is that if you want to ride the event for Texas Enduro Circuit points, you must send me an email requesting to ride for points. If you want to ride the event for fun and do not care about circuit points, please come out and enjoy this unique event. The final plea is to plan to help before, during or after the event. We still need sweep riders for both days, checkpoint scoring personnel, and help with set up starting Friday and early Saturday. Camping will be allowed. There will be a kids Hare Scrambles on Saturday at 11am. Classes are from 50, 65, and 85cc, Girls, and Beginner Women. This event will be under Texas Enduro Circuit Mini-Enduro rules. Those rules are located on the TSCEC.org website. Bottom line is that it will be a really enjoyable weekend. The Sprint Enduro for the Texas Enduro Circuit will begin at noon on Saturday and 9am on Sunday. See the flyer on the TRH website, TRH FACEBOOK page, or your email, or this link.
Monday, Sept 12, we will hold a General TRH meeting at Rio Bravo MX park. Please make plans to attend and grab a bite to eat, catch up on TRH happenings, and Sept is the month that we begin accepting Constitution and Rule Changes. If you have an idea or would like to submit a rule change for the TRH Off-Road Championship Series, this is the opportunity to discuss and submit. The October meeting is the time each year that we vote on the changes if necessary. Our meetings are official meetings and meeting minutes are recorded. If you wish to review these minutes, you always have that opportunity before we vote to approve those minutes at each meeting.
OK, let's talk about the elephant in the room. If you haven't noticed yet or read the well written articles by Brian Perret, the Sam Houston National Forest multi-use trails have been closed since June. TRH member and Sam Houston Trails Coalition President Ed Ponikvar has been leading the charge and spending a tremendous amount of time working tirelessly to try and reverse the fortunes of all user groups. The last several months were consumed with all trail users coming together and organizing efforts to become fluent in trail sustainability and generating the volunteer process to obtaining, training, and begin using equipment to bring the trails back to a prescribed standard. It is a slow process because we are all volunteers and each step along the way takes time and should be treated as a building block. The trap that we all fall into is the mis-understanding of how to get the forest open again. Let me be very clear. WE NEED THESE TRAILS OPEN AGAIN! Although there are other places to go ride a dirt bike in the Houston area, the Sam Houston Trails have been a constant when other facilities come and go. The SHNF trails deserve our time and attention. They will stay closed until we act. It is really that simple. If you did not go out this summer to help survey the trail damage, please understand that the flooding from April and late May created hundreds of erosion spots on the trail that will require many months to repair. The trick will be to harvest the sediment that washed away and place back in the erosion location and create water bars to divert the water off the trail. We have to get the water off the trail and help ourselves by creating sediment traps to easily get the soil back on to the trail. We are gaining ground on TRH volunteers to become trained and certified to operate Forest Service equipment to augment FS employees in this task. If you have heavy equipment experience and want to engage the process, please contact me. I agree that summertime was not the ideal conditions to get out and do trail work, but as the temperatures cool off, PLEASE watch for work calls and help the few volunteers re-claim the trails that want to use. The trails are still there and they are CLOSED. The remaining wooden bridges are falling into disrepair. All we need to do is rally to perform the necessary work to get them open again. I'll be there, please come help.
Update and situation on the Skull Creek and lease property/insurance. Currently, TRH maintains a contract with the Skull Creek landowner to maintain our use of the storage barn at the Skull Creek campground. Eric Pullen continues to maintain the camp house and facilities that we own in that campground. This is where TRH stores and maintains the equipment and trailers. Unfortunately, the General Liability Insurance situation that covers TRH, Inc. and the landowner for year around lease operations has not improved and remains elusive. That's why we cannot use the campground for camping or the 1100 acre property to ride. If we can break through on the Insurance for year around operations of a lease property, we can use the campground the 1100 acres. We do have TRH members searching for new lease properties. That remains a slow process that requires time and a tremendous amount of luck in this part of the country considering the amount of property we are seeking and willing to contract for. Please remember that we are all volunteers and each member provides that chance moment that we can get lucky to find a new lease. f you happen to run into a landowner, always ask and refer them to me for further discussion. Always remember, in 1998 TRH was not looking for a lease property when club members knew someone that knew someone that owned Skull Creek.
See you out of the trail,
2016 TRH President
Here is a video of the recent Sprint Enduro at Brunes Mill, Test 1, courtesy of Brian Johnson with TJ's KTM:
Our Success Depends on YOU!
Check us out and learn how you can become more involved today! Each of us has a talent that would be greatly appreciated and extremely valuable to the ongoing success of TRH-Volunteer!!!