By checking out the nearby Parker 425 attraction, Blue Water Resort and Casino visitors can get a taste of the exciting culture of off-road desert racing. Blue Water serves as the host hotel for the annual Parker, Arizona race, which pits teams of drivers against each other in an off-road battle. Best in the Desert Racing Off Road Racing (BITD) organizes the race. They put on nine annual races, with entrants from 35 states as well as Argentina, Ireland, Mexico, and several other countries. The Parker 425 is one of their flagship events, and helps kick off the desert off-road racing season.
Off-Road Racing’s Background
Off-road vehicles are built to be quite sturdy in order to withstand the punishment of tough tracks; they come with harnesses (to hold the driver in), roll cages (to protect the driver during collisions or flips), suspension lifts (which raise the vehicle so it can drive over taller obstacles), and heavy-duty tires, among other equipment.
Off-road desert racing has had an immeasurable impact on auto racing as a whole. NASCAR “has its roots in dirt racing,” and several famous NASCAR drivers, including Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson, also have off-road racing backgrounds. The off-roading culture is marked by friendly-but-competitive camaraderie, and has produced some inspiring characters.
Parker 425: More than Just a Race
Parker 425 attracts hundreds of racers. In 2011, there were over 200 entries into the race. According to the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce, Parker 425 is a “very important economic driver” for the community, and nearly a week’s worth of events surround the race. Accompanying events include a downtown festival with live music, food, and vendors. Additionally, some racers take part in exciting time trials and other contests before the race. Accompanying the main race is a trick-truck challenge, which in 2012 dispersed $120,000 in rewards.
The main event—the race itself—begins in downtown Parker. It features an exciting stretch called the “Parker Python,” which puts drivers through a tough set of switch-backs and jumps. From three different vantage points, spectators can view power slides, jumps, and flat-out racing.
Blue Water Resort & Casino: Gateway to the Parker 425
Located on the northeast side of Parker, near the Colorado River, Blue Water Resort & Casino serves as an ideal base for those looking to enjoy what Parker has to offer. There are several dining options at the resort, including the River Willow Steak House, a riverside bar, two lounges, a deli, and a grille. For all-day and all-night entertainment, the Blue Water Casino offers 500 slot machines, table games, and a high-limit gambling area. And of course, supreme access to the Parker 425 is one of the best parts of staying at the Blue Water Resort and Casino.