Bend garage preps for Gambler 500

Rally set to roll through Central Oregon

Bend garage builds Big Vicki

BEND, Ore. - The Gambler 500 is coming to Central Oregon, and the crew at VR Garage in Bend is ready.

"So we bought a 2002 Crown Victoria, which is an old police car," said VR Garage co-owner Adam Huddart.

"We started, basically just putting stickers on it, cause we were going to have fun with it," recalled VR Garage co-owner Cameron Ruddell. "And we said, 'Well if we're actually going to do this event, we actually have to make it off-road worthy.'"

The guys at VR Garage started with a a plan - turn a clunker into an off-road vehicle, and drive it in the Gambler 500.

"It's to test your navigation skills," Huddart said. "So there are several ways to get there and several way points, so you try to get to as many way points as you can in the route."

The Gambler 500 is Oregon's 500 mile, mostly off-road navigation adventure rally. It pushes the limits of beater cars on an ultimate road trip from Portland to Central Oregon, and back again. Way points are places or geographic coordinates that drivers need to check-in at during the rally.

"This is for fun basically," Ruddell said. "All of us off-road enthusiasts and being able to do it with 300 other people and have a good time, especially in a race that's not actually timed."

Adam Huddart, Cameron Ruddell, and Jason Koschnitzke worked on their car, "Big Vicki" for about 6 months, before it was ready to go for the rally.

The team isn't exactly sure what they're going to do with Big Vicki once the rally is over. You can stay up to date with their progress over the weekend by checking out their blog:

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