100 degree temperatures do not draw crowds away from the Widowmaker Event in Croydon. However, the sanity of some riders who attempt this climb is often in question as they make their death-defying climbs, especially in this kind of heat on a rose colored hill.
Sanity aside, you may see looks of trepidation before riders climb this hill, but there are always big smiles after they succeed. Riders spend all year making sure their machines are in tip-top shape for this occasion and it is incredibly gratifying when a rider reaches their goal, even if that goal was only to go farther than last year.
The event moved from the Salt Lake area to Croydon in 2002 with the help of Albert Wilde and his family. The Widowmaker Hill Climb and Adventure Expo is a three-day event that brings in riders from all over the U.S. and Canada to try to climb the 1,000 foot hill.
The exposition offers activities for the whole family including helicopter rides and the Super Mini-Moto SX Challenge. The mini-moto was new to last year’s hill climb event, but is not new to Morgan. The challenge used to be known as the Morgan Mini-Moto and was initially run in conjunction with the Morgan County Fair.
The professionals, amateurs and even mini-moto participants seemed to be one big happy family. Every year over 2,000 people gather to witness these climbs. It is loud, hot and totally worth attending.
The series is part of the Rockwell PRO Hill Climb Series, one of the most elite hill climb series in the nation. Riders from all over the country charge these hills in hopes of getting their share of the sizeable pro purse as well as the Rockwell Time Championship watch.
The event hasn’t always been hosted in Croydon, but has a long and famous history of extreme motorcycle racing. When you stand at the bottom of the hill and look up at more than 40 stories of rock, brush, dirt and motorcycle parts, it is easy to see why this hill is seen as the ultimate test.
This year local Cody Young came away with one of the top spots with an incredible 668 foot climb. Young said, “No matter where you are from, the Widowmaker climb has to be at the top of every hill climber’s list of goals. Pulling off a good climb on that hill has got to be one of the biggest adrenaline rushes ever!” He went on to say that for climbers, it is all about progression and improving each climb.
Young gave a shout out to all the other hill climbers in the series. “There were riders who made it farther than I did and I have to give them credit. These are the best riders in the world.”
Young wanted to thank his friends Logan Robison, Alex Waldron and Craig Spencer for helping his progression and, of course, he couldn’t have done it without his mom and dad.
The Widowmaker offers three different courses. The Pro Exhibition Hill is 1,000 feet and has a 76 percent grade. There have been more than 4,500 attempts on the championship hill in the last nine years with only 20 athletes making it to the top.
The Pro Altered Hill, known as “MOE’s Hill” is 550 feet and is tamed only by pure horsepower, nerves of steel and adrenaline.
The third hill is the Trophy Hill and offers different challenges to amateur riders ranging from 3 years old to 85. They ride everything from 50cc shaft drives to vintage classics and the latest in motorcycle technology.
Hopefully there will soon be a hotel in Morgan County to host visitors, but for now, spectators are happy camping out to enjoy the event.
The event hosted a large number of vendors, including long time supporter Morgan Valley Polaris. Vendors sell everything connected to motorcycles and extreme sports. There were also plenty of food and beverage vendors on hand to help combat the heat of the day.
The Pepsi Challenge was on hand this year manned by Mountain Green residents Chris Vesper and Sydnie Pappas. The results were tallied and Widowmaker attendees preferred Pepsi 96 to 46.
Professional photos were taken of the entire event by The Infinity Machine and can be viewed online at www.theinfinitymachine.com. There are quite a few to scroll through, but they help you see what a challenge this hill is for the riders and how much fun they have doing it.