The Gambler 500 is a road rally/off road adventure for beater cars, trucks, RVs, etc. that cost $500 or less. Here are the few rules.
About the Detroit Gambler 500. The event takes place over two days, with wilderness camping in the middle. It will be held April 28th and 29th, 2018. At 8:00AM on Saturday
the 29th we will start at 352 Oliver Drive, Troy, Michigan 48084 and travel along a top-secret route performing challenges and covering difficult terrain. We will camp in the wilderness on Saturday night, then on Saturday morning cover more ground before we finish up in the mid-afternoon somewhere in bum-fuck-Egypt, MI. The route is kept secret until the morning of the start. The route will be equal parts street, highways, dirt roads, and off-road trails.
The Facebook Event Page is the most up-to-date source of information about the Detroit Gambler 500. It is located here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1938761949704921
Here are the rules:
Rule #1. Don’t act like a dick.
2. This isn’t a race. It’s a fun adventure.
3. Be Weird.
4. Spend as little as possible on your vehicle. $500 is your goal.
5. No minors are allowed.
6. Leave No Trace.
7. If you have a 4WD vehicle, be prepared to help others.
8. Vehicles must be fully street legal with a license plate, insurance, and an ORV license and trail permit.
Further Explanation of the Rules:
1. Don’t Act Like a Dick – Look, we are all a bunch of fuck-ups and dirt bags. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be entering this thing. But even if you are a total mess, you can’t act like it. You have to be polite. You have to be nice, and you can’t do anything that other people don’t like. You can’t fly offensive flags, you can’t run your generator all night, you can’t bump into other people’s vehicles, you can’t shoot fireworks at people, you can’t steal stuff, no doing heroin, you can't honk your horn after 11PM or before 8AM, and no leaving a messy campsite. You can’t break the rules that everyone else is following, you can’t cut in line, you have to shut up sometimes, and you can’t assume that anyone else wants to listen to the music you like. We are all a bunch of dirtbags, but we are different types of dirtbags, so if we want to have a fun time, you simply cannot act like a dick.
2. This is not a race. You know why? Because if it was a race, we would all cheat and spend more than $500 on this stupid event. No, this is an adventure. The goal is to find the crappiest vehicle you can and complete the event. It is a celebration of shitboxes and acting like McGuyver. Your challenge is to find a weird vehicle and make it do things it was never designed to do. If we do crown a champion, it will be the person who completes the event with the crappiest ride. There will also be prizes for ridiculous stuff, weird tasks, and other things that encourage people to do adventurous stuff, so there will be some competition at times. But it isn’t a race all the time. You should be happy this isn’t a race, because that way we will be able to stop for gas, to get food, and to go to the bathroom, just not all at the same time, that’s gross. We will also get to sit around the campfire, tell funny stories, and make friends. It’s a fun adventure.
3. Be Weird. Do you want to have a fun adventure? Show up with something weird. Show up with something that has only a slight chance of going 500 miles. Weird cars and trucks will make your fellow Gamblers happy. Do your best. Get in trouble. Your fellow gamblers will save your ass…probably. Be weird.
Motorcycles. I like motorcycles, and I hope you do too, but riding one on this trip could be boring as hell, so don’t. That’s why I have made motorcycle rules: A. Street tires only, not dual sports or semi-knobs, pure street tires. B. You need a big-ass fairing. It needs to be at least as big as the one Prince used in Purple Rain. C. Keep it weird.
4. Spend as little as possible on your vehicle. $500 or less is a great guideline. Again, the way to “win” the Gambler 500 is to complete the event with the crappiest vehicle possible. The more you spend, the more of a loser you become. Some team out there is trying to spend less than you. Beat them at that game.
Speaking of spending, the event is free of charge. It costs nothing to enter, but you get very little. There is no registration, not much organization, and no one to ask questions to. You can only read these rules, show up at the right place and time, and take care of your own stuff. We are going to give you a single sheet of paper at the start. It won’t even have our phone number on it, just a bunch of GPS coordinates and the phone number to the junk yards nearby. Everyone will be asked to be part of the event. Be prepared to help out your fellow Gamblers, maybe volunteer a bit, try not to complain, and mostly don’t act like a dick.
5. No minors are allowed. No one under 18. No one. They can’t ride along, they can’t come along, they can’t be around. No minors. Guess what? No minors. You know why? because minors aren’t capable of accepting legal risk and liability on their own. That’s why. So no minors. Please stop asking me.
6. Leave No Trace. We like the trails and the forest and we want to do this more than once. So we will leave no trace.
* You cannot leave your vehicle anywhere on the route. If it breaks, you will have to find a way to get it out of there. Bring your title just in case you have to leave it at the scrap yard. Bring money in case you need to pay to have it towed or repaired. We repeat: You cannot leave a vehicle someplace.
* We will leave no trash and no trace. We are rustic camping, so you have to bring in your own water, food, bury your poop and haul out your own trash. We are all camping in the Michigan State Forest. Every team will have a State-Required form to post at their campsite. When you leave, you will leave only that form behind. The sites do not have trash cans, there are no toilets, there is no running water, there is no mowed grass to tent upon, there is nothing. After we leave there will be no trash, no waste, and no trace that we were there, except for all of our single forms that shows who left the place exactly as they found it.
7. If you have a 4WD vehicle, be prepared to help others out of bad situations. Showing up with 4WD is the same as volunteering to help, you automatically get that responsibility. Bring a tow strap, a come-a-long, or a winch. Think of it as part of the game. The more people you help, the better you are doing on this crazy adventure. Maybe they’ll give you a beer if you yank them out, that seems fair.
8. Vehicles must be fully street legal with a license plate, insurance, and an ORV license and trail permit. We don’t have tech inspection for this event, we just have the police. I’m betting they will show up too. Over 500 crappy vehicles will be at the start of this thing and a bunch will probably be smoking. It will definitely attract attention. It is very likely that the police will be walking the rows of vehicles looking for law breakers to write tickets. Have your stuff together and you won’t have any trouble. Try to cheat or lie and you might miss the event, get fined, and have to tow your vehicle home. Think of the police as our volunteer tech inspectors and please be polite.
You need an ORV License and trail permit. They cost $36.25. You can get them at the sporting goods desk at Walmart, Meijer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a bunch of places. They print them with the same machine they use to print fishing and hunting licenses. The money goes to maintaining the trails we will use.
Night Before: Like a bad wedding, we will be entertaining guests the night before. Show up at the start, get your registration done, leave your trailer someplace, have a beer, it's kinda chill, you'll get the feel for it and you'll want to help out.
What to expect on the big day:
Towing in? You're gonna have to find someplace for your trailer. Our city, Troy, Michigan is really nice and safe, but nothing is risk-free in this world. Walmart? Industrial buildings that are closed for the weekend? Meijer? There are plenty of those around. You are gonna have to figure it out on your own though.
8:00AM – There will be a HUGE line at “registration”. Don’t get out of your car. It’s drive-through. Once you get to the front of the registration line you sign a waiver, get the sheet of GPS waypoints, and will be given an area to park based upon your vehicle. Don’t ask questions, just keep the line moving. Weird vehicles will get the best parking area, then RWD, then FWD, then 4WD. After you park, walk back to the registration area in front of PriveCo.
9:45AM – There will be a driver’s meeting on the lawn of PriveCo. Everyone needs to attend. You can ask questions then.
10:00AM – We will broadcast the start over your FM radio. Weird vehicles will leave first, then RWD, then FWD, then 4WD. Within each group, the vehicles that registered first will get to leave first. If you follow directions, we will all be on our way in minutes.
10:00AM – 12:00 – Have fun, knock off the waypoints and do the activities. There is a lot to see.
Noon-1:30PM – Saturday – We will be meeting up again. Everyone will be meeting for an early round of bench-racing, fluid-level-checking, and lunch eating. There are a bunch of places to buy food to eat at this stop too.
1:30PM – Start #2. Wait for the signal on your FM radio and then we will all leave again, this time in a free-for-all. There are many GPS Waypoints ahead of you including gas stops at least every 150 miles.
6:00 or so? Saturday – The first people should start arriving at our camping area. If you have been cooking food on your engine, find Tom and ask him to judge your chow. There is a trophy for the best food.
Evening challenges may happen at the campsite area. Also, your ORV tag allows you to use the Michigan State forest trails as much as you want. Have fun.
Saturday Night – Campfire stories. Try to build a forest-safe campfire. Clear a fire-ring, use local firewood only, and have a way to put it out if you need too. Camp however you want, but remember rule #1, Don’t be a dick. We’ll be sorta quiet after 11 and totally quiet after midnight, wear earplugs if you need silence to sleep though. At night in the Michigan forest the nighttime temperature will probably drop into the 30's. Be ready for that.
9AM Sunday – There will be an event. Teams that consider themselves fast should line up first. Teams that just want to have fun can start later. Fast teams will be let go at 30 second intervals, fun teams will start whenever they want.
Noon Sunday – Lunch break at the campsite - We will do a final cleanup sweep – Then we will start traveling to waypoints again.
1PM - 3PM Sunday – You'll keep driving, knocking down the waypoints you were given on Saturday.
3PM Sunday – Award ceremony of some kind at the Campsite. Everyone leaves from there for the long drive home.
You will be given the GPS coordinates of about 30 waypoints along the route, so you'll need some way to navigate using only these. Google maps on your phone is capable of this if you know what you are doing. Google maps is also capable of not doing this if you don’t know what you are doing. Look up: “How to navigate using google maps without internet”
Many waypoints will have a note. It could just be: “Gas Station”, it might be: “Take a picture with the bear”. If it tells you to do something, do it. If not, it is probably just a note to let you know that you are at the right spot.
We are "Dispersed Camping" which means we are camping way out in the woods with no nothing. There will be no toilets, no latrine, no running water. There will be no trash cans, so you have to take all of your trash home with you. Poop and biodegradable toilet paper can be buried.
Announcements will be made with a portable FM radio transmitter. We will tell you what radio station to tune to at the start (like 87.5). The transmitter has a range of a mile or so, so you should be able to hear it from anywhere in the start areas.
On trail communication can be done with CB radio or cell phones. With a CB you can call anyone in your area (usually 1-3 miles). CB radios work anywhere. Use channel 6 for Gambler stuff.
With a cell phone you can call anyone whose number you know, as long as you have reception. You won’t have reception everywhere we travel, but you will have it a lot of places.
There will be no central “Gambler phone number” to call. If you break down you will have to find your own help. You will either have to call a friend, wave down a fellow gambler for help, or call a tow truck. So, if you see someone who is broken down, try to help them out, they might really need it.
That's about it for rules and advice, be nice, keep it weird, and this could be a life-defining adventure. Remember: Always Be Gamblin’. ABG.