King of the Hammers – What You Need to Know

From January 26, 2023, to February 11, 2023, in Johnson Valley, California, the King of the Hammers UTV race will take place. This exciting event attracts many visitors from across the state and the country each year, and we can’t wait to see this year’s racers. Today, we’re going to share everything you need to know about King of the Hammers, including how much it costs to attend the 2023 race.


The History of the Race

The King of the Hammers was originally founded in 2007 by Dave Cole and Jeff Knoll. They brainstormed the initial event in a bar on a napkin, and the race has grown exponentially since then. OG13 was the name given to the trial run, which had 12 teams. These teams are invited back each and every year to be part of the event. Every winner is one of the “Kings,” and they are also invited to come back each year to compete again. The event has grown year after year, adding more drivers and plenty of events for spectators. It has now become a whole week-long event, attracting visitors from around the world for this race.


Why Do They Call It King of the Hammers?

The name of the race comes from the fact that each of the mountain trails had “Hammer” in its name. The winner of the challenge is called a King (or Queen), which is why we have the King of the Hammers race.


How Many Racers Are In the King of the Hammers?

While the first official race in 2008 had just 50 drivers and no spectators present, the King of the Hammers has grown year after year. Expect to see about 400 teams participate in the race this year.


How Many People Attended King of the Hammers 2022?

80,000 spectators turned up for the 2022 event, with millions more tuning in online to watch the race. During the race week, there are dozens of different events to enjoy in Hammertown, the temporary settlement that’s created in Johnson Valley in celebration of the King of the Hammers race.


How Long Does It Take To Complete King Of The Hammers?

With so many challenges on the route, the King of the Hammers can take between seven and 14 hours to complete. The course is roughly 235 miles long with many different obstacles and conditions to overcome on the way.


How Do You Qualify To Race Your UTV At King Of The Hammers?

There are a few different ways to qualify to race at the King of the Hammers. You can gain a spot from the previous year’s race or one of the Regional Series races in the previous year. Previous winners and OG entrants are always welcomed back, and you can also qualify through last year’s Nitto Tire National Championships.


How Much Does It Cost To Race Your UTV At King Of The Hammers?

Each UTV will need to pay the fee of $1,700 for the Class Desert or Rock race. There’s also a $150 USAC Licence fee for the driver, a $100 fee for the navigator, and $55 for each crew member.


How Much Does It Cost To Watch King Of The Hammers As A Spectator?

The spectator pass will set you back $75, but there are various upgrades and VIP options on offer as well. Active duty military and veterans can also receive a discount on their purchase. Children under the age of 12 are free, but you’ll still need to add a child’s ticket to the order and complete the waiver. You’ll receive a QR code at the end of your transaction, which you’ll use for entry during the event. Make sure you book as soon as you can to avoid missing out on any of the passes you are after.


What Is There To Do As A Spectator At King Of The Hammers?

While the race is the main attraction for any spectator at King of the Hammers, you’ll find there are plenty of events to keep you busy before and after the main race. The King of the Motos weekend will take place from January 27 – 29 and is a great ticket add-on that we recommend anyone considers. Many people opt to buy a camping pass, allowing them to stay for a few days or even the whole week. The area of Johnson Valley is fantastic for off-highway vehicle drivers, so many spectators also opt to add some days to their trip to enjoy this experience for themselves. There is a 188,000 acre OHV area that is open during the weekend, which attracts visitors from around the world.

Most spectators will opt to tour the area with their four-wheel drive vehicle, and there are rentals available if you are coming without your own. On top of driving, we recommend trying out hiking and wildlife spotting here, offering you a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of the local area. There are also special events on offer throughout the period of the King of the Hammers, so make sure you check out what’s going on each day and night to make the most of your visit.


Past Winners Of King Of The Hammers

Past winners of the event include:

  • 2007 – JR Reynolds and Randy Slawson
  • 2008 – Shannon Campbell
  • 2009 – Jason Berger and Jason Scherer
  • 2010 – Loren Healy and Rodney Woody
  • 2011 – Shannon Campbell
  • 2012 – Erik Miller and Robert Ruggiero
  • 2013 – Randy and Michael Slawson
  • 2014 – Loren Healy and Casey Trujillo
  • 2015 – Randy and Michael Slawson
  • 2016 – Erik Miller
  • 2017 – Shannon Campbell
  • 2018 – Jason Scherer
  • 2019 – Jason Scherer
  • 2020 – Josh Blyler
  • 2021 – Randy Slawson
  • 2022 – Raul Gomez


As you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to with the upcoming King of the Hammers race. It will take place from January 26, 2023 to February 11, 2023 in Johnson Valley, California, and we can’t wait to see who takes the crown this year.


Prepare Your UTV for Race Day at Halo Performance

Based in Odessa, Florida, Halo Lockers is the UTV division of OX Off-Road. OX manufactures selectable lockers and off-road-related parts. Exceptional quality and product strength define our UTV products and accessories. Our products are proudly made in the USA. We only use the best materials, manufacturing, and metallurgical processes. When you call us to discuss upgrading or strengthening your side-by-side vehicle, you are going to talk with a UTV expert. Please call 727-230-7803 with any product questions or for assistance with the ordering process.