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Oregon’s 500-Mile (Mostly) Off-Road Race, the “Gambler 500”

Oregon’s 500 Mile (Mostly) Off-Road Race, the “Gambler 500” pushes the limits of beater cars on an ultimate road trip

A journey through Oregon’s backroads began in 2014, when founder Tate Morgan said to friend Andy Munson, “It would be cool to get a bunch of guys together, go out and buy sh***y $500 cars and see how far we can go.” The first year, 14 cars took the challenge, and by the next year the number doubled. Maybe half of the vehicles actually complete the journey. Many of the drivers push their vehicles to their limits, unafraid if the vehicles make it to the finish line.

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The scene is like a hybrid of Mad Max and Cannonball Run, beginning at the Corner Saloon near Mt. Hood. An old firetruck, a pinzgauer 6 wheeler, a hearse, and the “Gambulance” are among some of the hoopties gunning for the finish line, passing through 25 GPS checkpoints along the way.

Gambler Andy Munson plays navigator from the Co-Captain's chair
Gambler Andy Munson plays navigator from the Co-Captain’s chair

250 miles into the race, there’s a campground at the halfway point where an overnight bonfire rager takes place with a mudding obstacle course that drivers can earn extra credit in pride for their ride.

Check out this awesome video:

If you’re curious about the event, you can check out the Gambler 500 Facebook Page. Unfortunately, a map won’t be available until you show up for the race on July 15th. If you can’t make it this summer, don’t worry, there’s a winter wonderland Gambler 500 as well.

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Oregon’s 500-Mile (Mostly) Off-Road Race, the “Gambler 500”