From the coast to the forest, there are many areas that make Grays Harbor a delightful place to settle down or visit. One that entices people from both near and far is the Grays Harbor ORV (GHORV) park on the rim of McCleary. The expansive park has multiple riding tracks and ever-growing services under the newest promoters that took on the lease in 2017.
“They’ve got plans for new events and ways to maximize use and benefit the facility for the community,” explains 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.”
The new lease holders, Brent Davis and prominent motocross rider Ryan Villopoto, have been collaborating to operate the park with many upgrades in mind. They plan to put Grays Harbor and the GHORV on the map for not only UTV and ATV riding events and motocross, but also downhill mountain biking, mud runs, concerts, camp sites and more.
Davis and Villopoto, who have been friends for years, became the new lease holders by chance. Villopoto and Davis’s son, Mason, had been training with each other for races. They had seen that there was an open practice at the park and went to check it out. “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,” comments Davis. “Lo and behold, the lease came up and we jumped on the chance and now we already finished our second year.”
Villopoto’s hands-on involvement makes the whole operation unique. Villopoto was born in Poulsbo and is a world-wide famous racer with a long list of victories. It’s said he’s one of the best to ever ride. In 2015, he retired. He wanted to keep busy in some way, but wasn’t sure exactly where he wanted to invest his time.
“When this opportunity came up, it was right in his wheelhouse and he was comfortable taking it on,” comments Davis. “He also knew that the sport needed some help and he wanted to help his home state.”
With Villopoto’s Instagram page at 978,000 followers and growing, his reach has been instrumental in the success of the park. Riders will travel from all over the country and Canada to participate in his summer camp, geared to work with riders of all ages or skill levels. It’s held at the park by Villopoto and other riding experts as a fun and educational camp experience.
The summer camp is merely one of the many updates that have been made or are in the process of being made. Weather dependent, the park operates from March to October. It draws about 30,000 guests to Grays Harbor per year between campers, concerts, racing events, mud runs and practice days. With all of the progressive plans for the GHORV, that number will continue to climb. “It’s a facility that’s super important to us,” Bruner comments. “As a tourism draw and bringing people to our area, and as a community resource.”
Thus far, they have painted and repaired the buildings and are also working on a way to update the spectator stands with seats and fresh paint. Next fall, there are plans to reconstruct the main motocross track and also put in a sewer dump in the lower camp area, then add 25 more water and power spots.
The park is home to five directional tracks. The Flat track and Outdoor National Motocross track, the Arenacross track, UTV/ATV four-mile loop and Kids/Vintage track are all newly added in 2018. A goal for Davis and Villopoto is to one day construct an indoor track since the tracks now are only typically usable for a handful of months out of the year.
Right now, the GHORV is working on RV Amateur Motocross Cup, WORCS Off Road, Loretta Lynn Motocross Qualifiers and regional events for 2019. They will have the Dirty Dash mud run, Quad Cross, Cascadia Dirt Cup, Pac West Motocross SSS Off Road Series, RV MX Summer Camp and the Green Beret OCR.
As part of diversifying the park, they now have five concerts on the books. Performers like the Def Leppard Tribute Hysteria Band and the Humptulips Country Band have rocked their concerts there so far, and there are plans to provide more in the future.
There are limitless possibilities at the GHORV and the lease holders are striving to raise awareness of its benefit to the local community “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, take a look at the GHORV Facebook page, GHORV Instagram page, or GHORV website. And keep an eye out as the GHORV is developing an app for people to have recent information and updates.
And if you’re in the mood to see something cool, check out these event videos taken at the GHORV park:
- The 2018 Ryan Villopoto Motocross Summer Camp
- The 2018 Quad Cross
- The 2018 PacWest Motocross
- The 2018 Dirty Dash
- The 2018 SSS Off Road Sprint Series