CRANDON, Wis. – Each Labor Day weekend, thousands of off road racing fans descend on the small town of Crandon, Wis., to watch the biggest short course races of the year during the Polaris Crandon World Championships.
Crandon Int’l Raceway, also known as “The Big House,” has been hosting short course off road races for more than half a century. Crandon’s normal population tops 1,900 residents. During the Labor Day weekend, the population count can easily swell to 50,000.
The Polaris Crandon World Championships kick off Thursday with practice sessions across multiple categories. The track challenges seasoned pros, amateurs and young racers alike. Crandon’s race weekend features three full days of racing along with an opening day parade held downtown. The parade includes high school bands, one-of-kind wacky vehicles, community decorated floats and more. Race vehicles participating in the weekend are also on display and fans can get up close and personal with their favorite driver.
A new addition to this year’s festivities is a UTV poker run sponsored by Lucas Oil. The Lucas Oil Legends UTV poker run takes fans and their UTV’s on an adventure through the lush forests surrounding Crandon on designated trails, stopping at way points to collect poker cards. Celebrity drivers will also join in on the fun.
The Ultra4 purpose-built rock-buggies from King of the Hammers also race Friday. It’s always interesting to watch vehicles designed to race in the desert perform on a short-course track. There is also a class for the kids with short course karts. These miniature replicas of the bigger trucks have 450-honda style motors that put out 48 horsepower. Other youth classes include 170 and 570 side-by-sides. Youngsters eight and up can get their racing careers started in these machines. Racing goes well into the evening. The party really never stops at Crandon.
The Pros hit the track for the season points finale on Saturday as the sanctioning short course series – Championship Off Road – wraps up 12 rounds of racing. There are still some intense point battles to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Some of the most spectacular racing of the weekend comes from Sunday’s World Championship Cup events. The gloves come off as if the drivers were in an ultimate fighting ring. Souvenir rings are earned on this day along with bragging rights to see who the best short course off road driver is. The final race of the day puts the four-wheel drive trucks against the two-wheel drive trucks in a staggered start. It’s a winner take all with a huge purse prize and the chance to win Crandon’s famous perpetual cup.
The pits are open and fan friendly and racers are approachable, taking the time to talk to anyone interested in their passion. For race fans and those in the industry, Crandon is a bucket list item. Known as one of the most historic parties in the dirt, it’s a great way to spend Labor Day weekend with family and friends.
For additional coverage from Crandon, visit our friends at dirtsportsworld.com.