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Get Revved Up for the First Boise Gambler 500

Beater Cars Journey 500 Miles in One Marathon Weekend

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The Boise Gambler 500 begins Saturday, June 17, and provides a whole new way to bond over Father's Day weekend. - 123RF / _FLA
  • 123rf / _fla
  • The Boise Gambler 500 begins Saturday, June 17, and provides a whole new way to bond over Father's Day weekend.

The Gambler 500—a 500-mile-long navigational challenge for vehicles costing $500 or less—is gearing up for its inaugural run in Boise this weekend.

The on- and off-road trek will begin when the 185 rally participants and their low-price wheels meet at the Albertsons on Federal Way between 7 and 8 a.m. Saturday, June 17.

Organizers stress that the challenge is not a race—rather, it's a test of skill and resolve. "Gamblers" take off together but will traverse the 500 miles at various speeds, reporting in at GPS checkpoints along the way.

Vehicles can go solo, but are encouraged to travel in teams—though whether the goal is to build car-loving camaraderie or to ensure rides in case a junker breaks down isn't totally clear—and many “Gamblers” are planning to camp together Saturday night.

The Gambler 500 originally formed to give "abandoned autos...a chance to become legendary,” according to the national Gambler 500 website, which links aspiring Gamblers to nearby rallies. Of course, where there is great reward (and beater cars) there is also great risk of failure—in the 2016 Oregon Gambler, only 15 of the 31 participating cars managed to make it to the finish line. Still, if YouTube videos are any indication, the Gamblers had a great time despite the lemons in their midst.

The Boise Gambler 500 is setting participants up for success by providing maps, requiring all vehicles in the running to be licensed, titled and insured, and restricting entrants to those ages 21 or older. Participants are also reminded on the group Facebook page to respect the law, public lands and other drivers, and told: “Don't. Be. A. Dick. This is THE rule.”

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