CALICO A local organization that prides itself on enjoying the countryside through off-roading is gearing up to help run an endurance race at Calico Ghost Town this Sunday.

While the Barstow 4 Wheelers Club is mainly an informal organization, club president Gene Stoops said everyone who attends meetings has a similar goal of enjoying the countryside and helping the community. The biggest event the group helps out with is the Calico Trail Run, which will be held this Sunday, although they also take improverished children off-roading to enjoy the countryside and hold cleanup events along a two-mile stretch of Highway 247 in order to keep the desert looking beautiful.

The Calico Trail Run is expected to draw about 170 people this year, and members of the 4 Wheelers club will be up bright and early to set up aid stations along the 30K and 50K race route.

"The Barstow 4 Wheelers are a critical part of this race," said race director Andy Ziemer. "They support the aid stations throughout the race course. They man the stations and provide communications in case a runner is hurt."

Ziemer said the racers eat all kinds of food throughout the race, including "everything from baked potatoes to M&Ms." Runners will also have aspirin, Tylenol, and various salves available throughout the grueling race.

"It's an extremely challenging race and you should never go into it lightly," said Ziemer. "These people run a lot of races throughout the year. Ours is rated as one of the most difficult."

Although the race is challenging, Ziemer said the natural beauty of the Calico Mountains is what draws runners every year. He said that one of the participants is a woman in her 60s who has run the race every year since it began seven years ago. He said the runners that are in this year's race range in age from 17 to 68 years-old.

Proceeds from the race go to support Discovery Trails at the Desert Discovery Center. Last year the race earned the center around $6,000 to $8,000, Ziemer said. He hopes the race will earn up to $10,000 this year.

People wishing to register for the race can register online at through Saturday and can register at Calico Ghost Town on Sunday before the race starts.

The Barstow 4 Wheelers Club meets the second Tuesday every month at 7:00 p.m. at Sizzler at 1523 East Main Street. People who want more information about the club can call Gene Stoops at (760) 253-2419.

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