Sand Scorpions bring out riders for first major event of summer

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Sand Scorpions held its first major event this summer on Saturday as riders came out to Moses Lake Sand Dunes for the annual Off Road Race Around the Bowls.

Vehicles of all types made their way around the marked-off track surrounding the water’s edge, barreling and sliding through the sand, water and mud. Riders came from far and wide for the free weekend event.

Races and hot laps kicked off around noon on Saturday and continued until the crowd had to cool off in the water.

Brandon Douglass, a member of the Sand Scorpions, stayed busy on Saturday between setting up races, filming and riding. Even after coming over the bars on his bike onto a face full of muddy water, Douglass was all smiles leaving the track.

He described the feeling going around the track “exhilarating, yet peaceful.”

“It’s so much fun coming around there going as fast as you can, catching some air, flying through the water, trying not to get pelted by someone else’s dirt as you pass them,” Douglass said.

Douglass said he felt like the group’s first major event went pretty well with people keeping to their own social circles. After seeing how things went over the weekend, he said, the decision to hold their first major event seemed like a good one.

After seeing how well the Race Around the Bowls went, Douglass said he’s hopeful the biggest event of the season for the Sand Scorpions, the annual Dirty Dash 4 Cash Mud Run, can happen in late September. Right now, he said it’s hard to say.

“If we do attempt it, we’re gonna do a lot more social distancing things, offer people free masks and gloves to anybody that wants them, kind of give people the option that it’s here if they want it,” Douglass said. “Being free, we’re not forcing anyone to come, so it’s really up to them.”

Chad Schwab and Mary Ponsness, agents with Farmers Insurance, came out for the event on Saturday as both their agencies helped sponsor the weekend event. Schwab said he sponsored the Dirty Dash 4 Cash last year, and convinced Ponsness to join him at this event this year.

Schwab said the event offers a chance for them to talk with riders about offering coverage for their side-by-sides, ATVs, or bikes that other providers may not cover completely. As someone who grew up playing around the sand dunes, he said, he knew it was something he wanted to be involved in.

“I’ve never been to this Race Around the Bowls before, so this is the first time even seeing it,” Schwab said.

He said he’s hoping this isn’t the last event they’ll be able to sponsor this summer. Ponsness said it’s a joy to see everyone out having a good time at an event like this. She said she believes the area is blessed to have a place like the dunes right in the backyard of Moses Lake.

“People come from all over, California, Canada,” Ponsness said. “It’s just amazing the people that come for an event like this, and it’s just fun watching them get to be a part of it.”

Moses Lake Sand Scorpions President Rich Archer said the club is fortunate to have a ton of support and sponsorship from people and businesses in town. He said they’ve already had $10,000 donated towards the late-September event.

“We’re hoping we can have the event and everything will be good, but like everything, it’s all circling around the coronavirus right now, so we have to be aware of that,” Archer said. “We don’t want someone to come to our event and get sick, so we need to be conscious of that.”

Archer said he hopes to have a decision on the Dirty Dash 4 Cash Bounty Hole by the end of the month.

Races ended around 2 or 3 p.m. on Saturday as families and riders packed up their vehicles, with many heading down to the beach to cap off the day.

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