ARNOLD--There was a hot time heard and seen in the old town of Halsey Aug. 8 and 9, and it wasn’t all from the heat.
Drivers and their cars went through technical and safety inspections at Halsey, Aug. 8, prior to the inaugural race of the Loup 2 Loup Open Road Challenge Aug.9. This race was the prelude to the 12th annual Sandhills Open Road Challenge (SORC) Friday and Saturday in Custer County.
Friday the one-mile shootout race took place between Callaway and Cozad. Then Saturday, the actual race on the county road between Arnold and Dunning was held.
Residents of Thomas and Blaine Counties approached the SORC board about the possibility of another leg and more days in the area for those coming from all over the country to participate in SORC. They have been witness to the positive economic development that SORC has provided to the community of Arnold and the area and thought such an event could be a benefit in the Halsey area as well.
A public meeting was held last October to ascertain the response and to see if there would be volunteer support as well the land owner’s approval. The road would be closed for the day of the race, preventing regular travel, which could be a hardship for those who live along it. The road between Halsey and Purdum is 14 miles of paved Sandhill topography - a lot of up and down and curves. The SORC board assisted the local committee members with not only advice but technical support in the form of equipment and insurance coverage. This first race was limited to only 50 drivers with the stipulation that they had to be veteran SORC drivers.
Drivers came not only from the area and the state but also from as far away as Alberta, Canada. There were drivers from Baltimore, MD, Texas, Wisconsin, New York, and Minnesota to name a few.
“One of the major concerns we had up to race day was if there would be enough volunteers to assist. That concern was displaced early as again our local residents came through,” stated LeMoyne Dailey, chairman of the Loup 2 Loup committee. “The name for this race came about as Halsey sits on Highway 2 and has the Middle Loup River close by while Purdum has the North Loup River adjacent to it.”
Comments from the drivers interviewed were all positive, stating they would not hesitate to return next year. The privilege of going first went to car #2, driven by Bruce Younglove of Minnesota.
“I definitely am doing it next year,” said Younglove after the race. “It was exhilarating thinking that I was the first one to cross the start."