NEW PLYMOUTH — The Big Nasty Hillclimb, Idaho's largest motorcycle event, drew a crowd to the Pence Ranch near New Plymouth Friday evening as the action-packed weekend event officially began.
Music blared from the stage and attendees browsed vendor booths or gathered in a field below the 260-foot hill as riders in the mini, 125, 250 and female classes gave it their best.
Organizers expect this year's event to draw more than 12,000 spectators and hundreds of participants. Riders of all ages will compete for best time or highest distance reached on steep hills ranging from 250 to 600 feet.
"You see a lot of cool stuff," said Charlie Kuhlman of New Plymouth, whose 10-year-old grandson is riding in the event for his fourth year. "It's just the highlight to see somebody make it over that hill. Pretty impressive."
One especially memorable moment recalled by Kuhlman and a few other regular attendees came two years ago, when a man in his 80s took a shot at the big hill.
"He didn't quite make it ... but he was alright. It was awesome," said Bill Moran, a Nampan who planned to compete for his third year in the 450-stock trophy hill class.
"That was about the coolest thing," added James Payton, a friend from Homedale there to support Moran.
Randy Stephens, a Grass Valley, Calif., resident, attended the event last year while visiting a friend and decided to return this year to ride in the "over 40, over-the-hill" class, he said.
"It's just exciting to watch guys go up the hill," he said. "I'm just trying to stay out of the ambulance over there."