Members of the Cliffhangers 4X4 Club climb a hill during the Roughrider Rendezvous. The club will gather July 18 for the 24th rendezvous in the Badlands.
Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:56 am
David Rupkalvis Williston Herald
For 30 years, Mark Innis has enjoyed getting away from Williston to go four wheeling in the Badlands.
And every time he goes, he has a goal of leaving nature better than he found it.
Two weeks ago, Innis read a story about off-roaders who were devastating the area, destroying trails and leaving trash behind. Innis wanted to make it clear that most off-roaders respect nature and do their best to treat it well.
As a member of the Cliffhangers 4x4 Club, Innis said his club members always leaves a place better than they find it after a ride.
“Anything we find on the trail, we pick up,” he said. “We take out more than we bring in.”
Later this month, the Cliffhangers 4x4 Club will be hosting the 24th annual Roughrider Rendezvous Association annual Meeting. At the meeting, club members will get to ride through the Bandlands in McKenzie County.
The event runs from Friday, July 18, through Sunday, July 20. Fees are $65 for registered driver and $30 for passengers over the age of 16. Only 75 vehicles are allowed at the event.
Through the years, the Cliffhangers have done such a good job respecting the trails, the U.S. Forest Service continues to allow its land to be used for the rides.
When Innis participates, he drives a 1979 Bronco that has had few changes. He said the rendezvous is just a lot of fun.
“It’s just the family enjoyment,” he said. “I held off for two years taking them to the Badlands. Once they got a taste of the Badlands, that’s the only place they wanted to go.”
Innis said the trails are designed for both new and experienced drivers.
“We try to get a trail rating for anybody, from novice to hard-core trails,” he said.
And almost every year, there are new challenges. Innis said when new obstacles are found, the first person who makes it over gets to name the obstacle. That has led to some interesting names, ranging from Sphincter Hill to Cake Walk.
Innis said the Cliffhangers are always looking for more members. With all the new people in the area, he is hopeful some might want to join the club for a time of family-friendly fun.
While riding trails is always a little dangerous, Innis said riding together makes everyone safer.
“I don’t like going down there alone,” he said. “It’s best to go with somebody. We’ve never had any serious injuries.”
Anyone who is interested in participating in the rendezvous can pick up application packets at the Williston Convention and Visitors Bureau or they can visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/cliffhangers.nd