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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just back from a hiking trip at Big Bend...
Couldn't help but think of stories I've been told about that rally.

Where were the stages? Where did everybody stay - in the park, Marathon, Alpine? How did competitors cope with the heat? Just trying to imagine what the scene must have been.
 

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Can give you an update. Was Chair on the 88 to 92 Big Bend Bash.

BBB started as a TSD by the Dallas SCC in 1957. TX Region, SCCA started co sanctioning in 1965. Ran as a TSD til 71. Chaired by Clyde Durbin. Dallas is 600 miles away.

Those years did not stay in the BB just past thru and stayed in Marfa or Alpine. From 65 to 71 there was Terlingua Time Trails held in the deserted Terlingua Ghostown owned by a member by the name of Carrol Shelby.

In 67 Shelby had the first World Championship Chili Cookoff, that now brings 10,000 plus to an area of now 4 or 500 people.

Carroll Shelby owned a 250,000 acre ranch with 1100 miles of roads and allowed the BBB rally to use the roads. He sold later but we were able to continue the roads.

In Sept 72 the BBB was the first "sanctioned" PRO Rally. The national ran from 72 to 82 with a date change to Feb. Then the Bash took a breather from 83 to 87. Alpine was the HQ, which is about 80 miles away. Feb temps run from 60 to 90's. May and June Temps 90s to 117.

The 72 to 82 events were Chaired by Clyde Durbin, Harold Melnick, Stumpy Thompson, Costa Dunias and Sasha Lanz.

I Chaired the 88 to 92 events. Were sponsored by Carroll Shelby Chili and Coors. We stayed at the Terlingua Ranch Resort with overflow to Terlingua. Terlingua had places to stay by this time.

There had only been a few dozen people in the whole area in the early days of the BBB.

There are a million stories bout the Bash. I moved to Terlingua in 92 and bought the world-famous Lajitas Trading Post, an old general store on the Rio Grande from the 1800's. Had the also world famous Mayor Clay Henry, a beer-drinking goat. Sold the Lajitas Trading Post in 98. Another million stories about the LTP and goat.

Competed TSDs since 63, PRO Rally 82 to 92. Now moving back Sunday to Dallas area and will live part time in Terlingua. Now planning to run the Z in performance rallies.

Roger Gibson
Dallas and Terlingua
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Roger,

Thanks for the info. I've heard a raft of Eric Jones' Big Bend stories, which are of course quite colorful....but I really had no sense of the land when he told me those stories. Visiting the area really brought it home. It must have been a blast.

I've got to think you're going to be severely cramped in the city after being out in God's Country for that long!

(p.s....any idea when the hotel at Hot Springs closed?)
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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>Why did the event stop running?

Cause it's hell & gone from just about anywhere! It's 860 miles from Tulsa to Terlingua - 'next door' in Texas - but just 830 miles to another defunct rally - the Sunriser 400 in Chillicothe, Ohio four states away. So towing from your neck of the woods to BBB means you'd be just over half way there when you got to Oklahoma and it's little better towing from anywhere else. Shoot, Dallas to Terlingua is 600 miles!

The Big Bend Bash was one gnarly rally. The only roads I've run in the modern era that compare were those Friday night Prescott stages in 2001, but BBB boasted an entire rally's worth of them. While it would be great to see the event return I have to wonder how many folks these days would actually pay an entry to tow all those miles and submit themselves and their cars to a righteous pounding. ;-) I know I would if for nothing but old time's sake!!!

About the only pic I have left from those events (most succumbed to the Feather River flood of 1986) are one of my 504 after its last-ever event - the 81 Bash ...

http://realautosport.com/pics/Peug504/BBB-81.jpg

Halley ...
I wanna be invited to Jake's low water bridge christening ...
http://www.realautosport.com
 

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answers to Smith

1. The hotel at the hot springs in the Big Bend National Park was washed away, I believe in the 1920's. My books are already packed or I would look up. The remains of the hotel and springs are still alot of fun.
A short hike away there is what is called the "hidden hot springs"
Hard to find, but will attempt to give directions if you return. Rangers do not give out the location.

2. Moving to Dallas area, not the city. Could never live in a neighborhood again. Farm, between Dallas and Waco. Already have a one mile plus rallycross site laid out.

answers to Kennedy

3. Why did it stop? Good question. When the Bash stopped in 83 to 87 was the lack of a chair. It is quite a feat to organize an event of this magnitude 600 miles from home. You can go to 14 US states and 4 Mexican states in 600 miles from Dallas. You would also think it would be hard to get workers, but that was not the case. There was a great core group that it was like going to Mecca to go to the Big Bend. Alpine has a great ham group that erected a permanent tower on the peak of Christmas Mountain to be able to cover the event properly. At least three of the hams became ralliest and competed on the Bash and other events. Cook/Brooks/Octupal

Some of the 83/87 years, hosted a WWWBBB (We Wish We Were at BBB) party in Dallas and 50 to 60 people would show up on the traditional 1st of Feb date for some of the million stories and BBB videos.

Lack of a chair in 93 was the reason again. Though, had moved to Terlingua in late 92, needed a breather. Had competed in 60 PRO events from 82 to 92, Asst RE Rally, chaired the Bash 88 to 92 with a great Rallymaster Bob Logue, chaired the first Paris By Night in 84, and worked the Guard and Chamber on Paris from 85 to 91.

Now I have had my breather and getting the Z ready to compete. As far as the BBB...maybe someday someone will chair again...?

Roger Gibson
Dallas area & Terlingua

ex Buffum/Smiskol TR7-later conv to V8
ex Henderson SX4
ex Witt/Quick 280ZX
 

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Left seat and not British!
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Let's hear it for old farts bringing back old (but great) rallies! Go for it Roger!

Kim DeMotte
Official Old Fart, etc.
 

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your other left, you idiot
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I never went, but I have heard a lot of the stories.

The year we thought about going, I read the supps.

The recommendation was to fly into Dallas. Now my knowledge of Texas was a bit thin, but that seemed a long way. Looked it up in my atlas (Al Gore had not yet invented the internet then) - 600 miles. That is like flying into Grand Rapids Michigan to get to Wellsboro PA.

The other thing that I remember from reading the supps was a warning to NOT bring your guns.

Different breed down there.

press on,
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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>I never went, but I have heard a lot of the stories.
>
>The year we thought about going, I read the supps.
>
>The recommendation was to fly into Dallas. Now my knowledge
>of Texas was a bit thin, but that seemed a long way. Looked
>it up in my atlas (Al Gore had not yet invented the internet
>then) - 600 miles. That is like flying into Grand Rapids
>Michigan to get to Wellsboro PA.
>
>The other thing that I remember from reading the supps was a
>warning to NOT bring your guns.
>
>Different breed down there.
>
>press on,

Geez Jimmy, you missed the 80-mile transits that seperated the headquarters motel in Alpine from Study Butte, Terlingua and the stage roads. If memory serves, we departed MTC1 and headed south for the first matter of rally business, a service stop to refuel. I know I will NEVER forget learning the folly of the minimum 10-foot tow rope after it was used to connect my dead Vega to the Chevy pickup of Clem Thompson for the scariest 68 minutes I've ever spent in my life.

BTW - there was a Study Butte resident who worked elsewhere (Ft. Stockton, El Paso, San Angelo, some place or other) and commuted in his Cessna. He used Rte 118 as his landing strip so you'd see him circle while making certain there was no automotive traffic, then he'd land and taxi straight to his house. Weird stuff for sure ...

Halley ...
BBBBB (Bring Back Big Bend Bash)
http://www.realautosport.com
 

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answer to Halley

Right, rosds were tough. Though you did not make the 88 to 92 events, you would have found the high desert mountain rally roads had been graded within a month b4 the event. Competitors who had run b4, said the grading made alot of difference. First place cars averaged in the high 40's. Roads are very twisty with very few straights. Buffum compared the BBB course to the Greek Acropolus Rally.

answer to Jimmy

The part about guns had to be added to supps after a worker was worried about snakes and wore a six-shooter on his hip everywhere he went b4 the rally. (Snakes are not out in Feb) It was worrying the ranch/resort folks and some of the rally folks b4 I was able to contact him and have him remove his gun.

Yes, there is a different attitude about guns in Texas. Terlingua is about as remote as you can get in the US, but have never seen anyone wearing a gun who was not a police officer b4 this incident. Texas since has adopted a concealed carry law for individuals and less than 1% have taken the courses and survived the scrutiny required.

Side note: Former Texan Dick Fitzgearld, then residing in Baton Rogue, LA, was running the 85 POR and found MI attitudes toward guns were different than he expected. After the rally, and after I had made the tow back to Dallas, Dick was still in jail in Houghton. He had been stopped and police had found a pistol in his service vehicle.

Roger Gibson
280Z
Now back in Dallas area and part time in Terlingua
[email protected]
 

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Ah, miscellaneous Big Bend stuff:

The Mule: that 510 was run be Ron Hayslett of Las Cruces New Mexico, who was also a top-notch TSD guy. He later sold the cat to Vic Jacko of Roswell, NM who totalled it in a Divisional Pro in Victor, Colorado in the early '80s.

The big blow to the Bash was when SCCA National decided that it was too far from a major metropolitan area to promote properly (their concept - go figure). I always liked the roads, as they proved to be an equalizer for us mid-field teams. We could run about 95% (about 15% slower than the fast guys) and wait for the really fast guys to fall off the road and break someting, and we could sneak into the top 10. The only times the roads got really ugly was the few times that it rained. On one national (I'm sure Mike remembers this one) a flash flood crossed the road between about car 5 and the rest of the field. By the time we reached the area, the water was three feet deep and Gary Eaton's Peugeot deisel was stuck with water most of the way up the doors. Later in the event we drove through another flash flood past an RX-3 that had slipped off the inundated road into the creek bed and water was going through the car over the base of the windows. Another year the rally was postponed for many hours when the roads got so slick that workers couldn't get to the controls. Even John Buffum went off the road in a noncompeting car just trying to check out stage one.

One dry year we were going well (in a turbo Corvair, yet) and almost caught Bruno Kreibich's very fast Baja Bug. We thought we were doing pretty good until we found out that Bruno had missed a curve over a blind crest and spent several minutes getting back on the road. We still got 9th that year, if I remember correctly.

That was back in the days when rough roads and endurance were part of the game, and just finishing an event was an achievement to be proud of. It was also in the "blind" days before detailed stage notes. We'll never see those days again. Too bad; rockadillos make nice pets, and the scenery is just stunning.

Jim Pettengill
 

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Oh Man,
What memories!
I had the pleasure of competing in the '92 BBB. It was a 1600 mile tow from Hartsville SC, where Jim Kloosterman and I worked at the time. We loaded up and towed over Route 20 for hours! Days, maybe! We'd each drive for a tank of gas, then have a beer and a nap while the other drove. No sooner had we hit US 20 on the way to the event (50 miles or so into the trip), than we lost 2nd gear on the van. Well, we figured we be in 4th for the next couple days, so who needs second?!?
That was the year that it rained so hard that JB couldn't get through all the stages with the Legacy that Subaru had loaned him. (FWD, street tires)
They ended up using the access road to the ranch for a stage road, and since Jim and I were staying off the ranch property, we had already run that road a few times. Very helpful, kinda like recce. But man, were those roads snotty! We had a great time, and I'd be interested in running it again. The Z would love those roads! If they were to schedule Paris one weekend, and BBB a week or two later so we can fly home between events (or stay and work on the car, if I were running a French car...), that would be a hoot!
Greg Healey
 

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I suppose it would be possible. But you would need to find another set of workers and organizers as the same people who did BBB now work on RdP.
 

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The years I ran it, and even drove down from So Cal to work it once, were some of fondest memories in 20+ years of rallying. I thought the roads were excellent! Fast mostly, pretty smooth, some real twisty bits in places and the assorted Armadillo in the road. One part was so twisty in 1988 that Dave Thomas (RX-2 we loving called "The Pig") and I had a jackrabbit in front of us and the bugger outran us without shortcuttin' the turns! <insert Dave Thomas joke here>

But then again, anyone like me who was weined on Rim of the World, Indio, Gorman and High Desert Trail would think those roads were smooth. What I remember are the crests! So many crests! And most were straight but you didn't know that coming up on them and you knew that a very very few had goodly turns after (blind rallies in those days) so one year we asked Gibson to just mark the ones with a turn instead of asking him to mark 200 straights for five with turns, we all knew the rest were straight, but he didn't agree, and I guess if I was drive 1200 miles per weekend to lay out a rally I would be pretty negative about any changes too.

What I really loved was the Tour de Terlingua before the event. Care to elaborate anyone, my fingers are fatigued....
 

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The years I ran it, and even drove down from So Cal to work it once, were some of fondest memories in 20+ years of rallying. I thought the roads were excellent! Fast mostly, pretty smooth, some real twisty bits in places and the assorted Armadillo in the road. One part was so twisty in 1988 that Dave Thomas (RX-2 we loving called "The Pig") and I had a jackrabbit in front of us and the bugger outran us without shortcuttin' the turns! <insert Dave Thomas joke here>

But then again, anyone like me who was weined on Rim of the World, Indio, Gorman and High Desert Trail would think those roads were smooth. What I remember are the crests! So many crests! And most were straight but you didn't know that coming up on them and you knew that a very very few had goodly turns after (blind rallies in those days) so one year we asked Gibson to just mark the ones with a turn instead of asking him to mark 200 straights for five with turns, we all knew the rest were straight, but he didn't agree, and I guess if I was drive 1200 miles per weekend to lay out a rally I would be pretty negative about any changes too.

What I really loved was the Tour de Terlingua before the event. Care to elaborate anyone, my fingers are fatigued....
Yo John

All the crests except one turned bent a little to the left or to the right (enough to make a "yump" a disaster) after the crests. So there were two straights over crests, one on the day stages and one on the night stages when the course was run in reverse.

RM Bob Logue and I worked very hard to have a most complete route book. We never had any "offs" with injuries and only a couple of "offs" on any kind. The worst was Steve Torrance and Tom Kelley of Dallas laid a Z in a bar ditch.

We paid for an ambulance in a central location (service), a paramedic in fast sweep and arrangements with a Border Patrol Helicopter standing by. Thankfully, we never needed any of them. The area is quite remote, btw.
Careflights are from Midland/Odessa 200miles plus or Lubbock nearly 400 miles.
Alpine has a hospital about 80 miles away.



The Big Bend Bash still had about a 40 page route book without marking the crests. Seems like the highest average speed for a winning car was 48mph. The highest speed obtained seems like was around 115+ one on the couple of mile Hen Egg Ridge portion on Control one.

The roads were very twisty keeping the averages down. One of the best movies ever was when one of the west coast cars (You and Lon Peterson?) went off the road shortly after the only spectator location, with maybe 20 folks max.

While still off course, crossed a pretty deep arroyo and came up the other side and worked their way back to the road thru some mighty rough terrain w and posted one on the best times on stage 3.

That portion was shown at many parties, events and meetings for years after.

Will talk about the sanctioned Tour de Terlingua in another post.
 

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RM Bob Logue and I worked very hard to have a most complete route book.
The Big Bend Bash still had about a 40 page route book without marking the crests. Seems like the highest average speed for a winning car was 48mph. The highest speed obtained seems like was around 115+ one on the couple of mile Hen Egg Ridge portion on Control one.

The roads were very twisty keeping the averages down. One of the best movies ever was when one of the west coast cars (You and Lon Peterson?) went off the road shortly after the only spectator location, with maybe 20 folks max.

While still off course, crossed a pretty deep arroyo and came up the other side and worked their way back to the road thru some mighty rough terrain w and posted one on the best times on stage 3.
Will talk about the sanctioned Tour de Terlingua in another post.
Oh, I never meant to make it sound like it was ever poorly organized, rather the opposite, Big Bend was a rally I looked forward to back then. It was serious rallying but a very laid back atmosphere!

I never saw any video of Lon Peterson and I from that event, and only one picture, and that is from a quarter mile away it looks like. I'd love anything from the 1991 event that showed us. That was my first overall win ever, and I couldn't think of anywhere else I would have wanted that to happen.
 
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