That was the week that was ~ okay it was only four days, but it had so many moving parts – starting before daylight and ending well past the battle of the moon vs the closest planet.
The stars of Thursday were Karen Frye (owner of the Clifton Hotel) and Devenee Paige (lead barkeep). Watching the two of them in action was like watching art being made. It was supposed to just be a reception for all the Hill Climb Early Birds. Each year some drivers just showed up early. It became ‘a thing’. Anyway, the Clifton Hotel & Bar became the place to ‘see who else showed up early’.
Friday at the paddock (the Ward Canyon Ballfields) started to come alive with County personnel being the first on the scene, watering the ground to reduce dust, and it worked. Our food vendor could not attend, but the family Spears set up a Snow Cone stand to rival the State Fair. The young man the Town of Clifton sent us for weekend support was simply outstanding. He made himself a rock star for always being in the right place when needed.
And we are appreciative that the Sammich Shop (just at the bottom of Ward Canyon near Canyonlands) for staying open. We heard lots of compliments from the drivers and audience members.
But the yeoman efforts of the volunteers at the Tourism Council Booth must be commended. They braved high winds, an over-turned booth tent, lots of questions and yet they still had a smile for everyone. They were also selling 2022 Clifton Hill Climb T-shirts, a few from 2021, and offered a world class Official Clifton Hill Climb 2022 Race Program.
Come Saturday morning the lower paddock began to see RV’s and covered race trailers. One by one they found and claimed their spot, and rapidly turned into a Racing Community eager to share stories and tell tall tales. Racing began shortly after 9 am, with eyes in the sky. Yes we had a certified drone operator who was bale to face the challenges of high winds bursts and keep the drone in the air.
For the first time since the Hill Climb ‘came back’ in 2015, the Tourism Council had an announcer at the starting line. Not just anyone, but also a talented DJ, and the King of the Hill for all things IT. The audience, even the drivers appreciated hearing what was going on, thanks in part to Sports Car Club loaning us one of their two-way radios so we could keep everyone informed. It was a great addition!
With our originally scheduled vendor unable to attend we were fortunate enough to gain the attention and support of Dugs BBQ (full name – DUG’S Blow’n-Smoke BBQ LLC). They served up some mouth watering delicacies that pleased everyone.
Then came the 2022 Hill Climb Race Parade, a local favorite with locals lining the street to take pictures, see the various racing vehicles, and just enjoy an outdoor event after such a long dormancy. The Driver Meet & Greet at the American Legion was augmented by both great food but also fun music. The Mares Bluff Veteran’s Memorial cooking crew were on hand – and they got rave reviews from everyone. “Best burgers in the state” was said more than once.
All the way from Las Cruces, NM, we were entertained by The Two Of Us (buskers who played requests and regaled with 60’s, 70’ and 80’s covers. Everyone there looked happy, sounded cheerful and made numerous comments about how much they “appreciated the hospitality of Clifton” .
Sunday, timed race day #2, was just gorgeous – Chamber of Commerce weather! But then as the racing heated up and new personal; best times were broken, the weather heated up as well – so did another round of gusty winds. But everyone took the delays in stride and wound up having another great day at the track. Some of the spotters, of our drone operator and yes – even our Starting Line Announcer captured some great live action on the curves and straightaways. While we are posting some videos online at the Tourism Facebook page, the drone operator and our IT guru can generate more individualized videos for racers, families, and the public. Your own collection of photos and videos – by driver – or by other groups or categories. Please email us at: VisitGreenlee@gmail.com with any questions.