Any vehicle can be an off-road vehicle if you’re willing to gamble…

Imagine if Woodsy Owl and Howdy Raccoon decided to take nature conservation matters into their own hands on the trails in a clapped-out, lifted (or not) Honda Civic and you’d be pretty close to what Tate Morgan and like-minded folks started in 2014 in the backcountry of somewheresville, Oregon with the Gambler 500. In the last ten years, this grassroots movement has grown with several events across the US and in other parts of the world in a somewhat organized effort to remove garbage from public access trails to keep them clean and open for off-road enthusiasts and hoonigans alike.

It’s not a race, there’s no tech inspection and there’s only one rule: Don’t be a dick. It is a 500-mile off-road navigation challenge with waypoints leading to areas of interest where people have abused the trails by using them as their personal landfill. Gamblers stuff as much of this garbage as they can fit in long-forgotten and cast-aside junkyard finds that have been resurrected and modified to handle the challenges of the rugged terrain beyond maintained forest roads. Gamblers will find anything from old, rusty Town Cars to out-of-commission limos, minivans, and even a few boats to transform into thrilling backwoods machines; the more outlandish and seemingly incapable, the better.

Participation in the trail ride and trash clean up is always free and Gambler events range in size from the small, rustic end-to-end rides to larger more elaborate events with a basecamp and in-camp shenanigans like mini bike races, dirt track challenges, team costume contests, “car shows” and anything else a ragtag group of hoonigans can dream up all in the name of becoming Gambler “lejunds”. You can find a listing of public events at the Gambler 500 website ( Don’t forget to pack your whisky and a tow strap and ABG!

Dedicated to the memory of Matthew Woo of Team Goodbye Horsepower. Raise hell, praise Dale!

Matthew Woo waving an American flag from the roof of a car at the gambler 500

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