From the forests and the beaches in Grays Harbor, there are many destinations that make the area a pleasing place to visit or live. One destination that draws people from all over is the Grays Harbor ORV (GHORV) park on the outskirts of McCleary. The GHORV has several riding tracks and expanding services under the promoters that obtained the lease in 2017.
“They’ve got plans for new events and ways to maximize use and benefit the facility for the community,” shares Grays Harbor Fairgrounds and Tourism manager, Mike Bruner. “It’s the type of facility that most communities don’t have and people come from all over the state, or even the region, to ride there.”
Lease holders, Brent Davis, and well-known motocross rider, Ryan Villopoto, have been working together to run the GHORV with many changes in mind to help put Grays Harbor and the park itself on the map for not only UTV and ATV riding events and motocross, but also with mud runs, camp sites, concerts, downhill mountain biking and more.
Davis and Villopoto became the new lease holders by chance when Villopoto and Davis’s son, Mason, had been training together for impending races. They had seen that there was an open practice at the ORV and attended it. “We both hadn’t been there for over a decade and we both commented on the park about how beautiful it was and what it could be,” shares Davis. “Lo and behold, the lease came up and we jumped on the chance and now we already finished our second year.”
Villopoto’s direct involvement is something that makes the GHORV unique. Villopoto was born in Poulsbo and is an internationally famous racer with a long list of achievements. He has been referenced as one of the best riders in the world. After his retirement in 2015, Villopoto wanted to keep busy, but was not sure at the time what he wanted to do.
“When this opportunity came up, it was right in his wheelhouse and he was comfortable taking it on,” shares Davis. “He also knew that the sport needed some help and he wanted to help his home state.”
With Villopoto’s Instagram page currently at 978,000 followers, his reach has been important for the success of the ORV park. Riders travel from all around the United States and even down from Canada to be in his summer camp that is geared to train with riders of all ages and skill levels. It is held at the GHORV by Villopoto himself and other experts as a fun and educational camp.
The summer camp is only one of the many changes that have been made or are in the process of making. Weather dependent, the park is open from March to October, and draws approximately 30,000 people to Grays Harbor each year between racing events, practice days, concerts, campers, and mud runs. With all of these upgrades and progressive plans for the land, that number will keep growing. “It’s a facility that’s super important to us,” Bruner shares. “As a tourism draw and bringing people to our area and as a community resource.”
As of right now, the new promoters have painted the buildings and repaired them and are also working on a way to fix up the spectator stands with new paint and seats. Next autumn, there are plans to entirely rebuild the main motocross track and add a sewer dump in the lower campgrounds and an additional 25 water and power spots.
The park has five directional tracks. The Flat track and Outdoor National Motocross track, and then the ATV/UTV four-mile loop, Kids/Vintage track, and Arenacross track are all new this year. A goal for the lease holders is to eventually also have an indoor track since the current tracks are only typically usable for a few months out of the year.
Currently, they are working on WORCS Off Road, RV Amateur Motocross Cup, Loretta Lynn Motocross Qualifiers and regional events for 2019. And will be having the Pac West Motocross SSS Off Road Series, RV MX Summer Camp, Dirty Dash mud run, Quad Cross, Cascadia Dirt Cup, and the Green Beret OCR.
As part of being a diverse park, outdoor concerts have been put on the list of hosted events with five concerts played so far. Artists such as the Def Leppard Tribute Hysteria Band and the Humptulips Country Band have played and there are plans to continue to schedule others.
The sky really is the limit at the GHORV and the promoters are helping bring awareness to the park’s diversity and potential. “We are excited to work with everyone in Grays Harbor to help promote the county and all that it has to offer,” shares Davis.
For more information, visit the GHORV Instagram page, GHORV website or GHORV Facebook page. The GHORV is also in the process of developing an app for people to have instantaneous information and updates, but it is not yet available in any app stores.
Check out these cool event videos taken at the GHORV park!