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Fat Tire Fest 2021, October  15-17, 2021

Complete Field Guide to the 2021 Fat Tire Festival

Event Check In Opens at 9A on Friday October 15th.

The Riding

There will be professionally guided rides available Friday and Saturday with options for everyone, from family paced mellow low mileage / low speed jaunts to full-on-worm-burning epic rides.  All rides leave from the vendor expo area and there will be multiple ride options rolling throughout both Friday and Saturday.  When you check in to the event you will receive the hard copy schedule including all the rides and all other activities for the weekend.  You will also receive a hard copy of the maps of the trail network and GPS files will be available for download prior to the event and onsite.

The Trails

The new trail network at CampO is buffed in real nice with over 10 miles within CampO’s 800+ acres.  These new trails have brought professionally crafted MTB trails to FTF, allowing for a much more rideable network with great flow and fun for everyone.  Then we have the expanse Forest Service trails  25+ miles of everything from super rowdy and rugged to wide open double track, original Shawnee goodness.   We also have full use of the Glendale trail network, the original home of Fat Tire Fest!   Glendale is about 10 miles, as the crow flies, from the expo area, about a 25 minute drive, and some of the best trails in the Shawnee!  This ~15 mile trail network includes slickrock, bluffs, tech and flow. And finally, new for 2021, the Touch of Nature MTB trail network, an official FTF offsite ride location.  This network consists of ~10 miles of brand new for 2021 professionally crafted MTB trails about a 40 minute drive from CampO.  Worth the trip, some nice new stuff with fun man-made features.

Bike Demos

Specialized will be on site with demo trucks stuffed to the gills with awesome bikes for you to throw a leg over and take out into the dirt, all will be available for real demo rides on our CampO trail network! We will also have a few gravel e-bikes from Niner on hand for you to demo. The only limit to the fun will be please bring them back within one hour so others have a chance to try them out too, but feel free to take them out multiple times and try multiple bikes!

Rail Trail Ride

For the mellowest riders we go offsite on Saturday to the very scenic Tunnel Hill Trail, a short 10 minute drive away, for a fun ride on southern Illinois’ only rail trail.  Experience riding through a tunnel over 500’ long, riding across multiple trestles, the largest of which is 400’ long and over 100’ high and enjoy the fun of a meandering ride on the relatively flat trail. This ride is an out and back so you can go as long or as short as you want.

The Race

Finally on the riding front, for those looking for something a little competitive and a LOT fun, a race for everyone, the Off-Road Crit.  Join in for the fun on a one-mile course combining a bit of everything from gravel to stair drops to smooth singletrack.  We race for 30 minutes +1 lap and the prizes are huge, the biggest of which are the bragging rights which are yours to flex all weekend long.  Podium ceremonies happen before dinner on Saturday evening.

The Venue

Camp Ondessonk, located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, is an amazing destination that has served as the location for Fat Tire Fest for the last seven years.  They provide us with treehouse accommodations for all, have tent camping options if you would rather, and a number of spots for RV’s too (no hookups though), let us know when you sign up which you would rather do. The treehouses give you the outdoor experience like no other, without the hassles of packing all your camping gear. Think open air sleeping with a roof over your head, no doors or screens to interrupt your enjoyment of all things outdoors while keeping you and your gear dry and off the dirt.  Each treehouse has a number of bunks, all with mattresses, and to keep it real, none have power. So, a sleeping bag, some clothes, your bike, riding gear and a good flashlight are all you need to bring. We will have a charging station at HQ with more than enough room for all your devices to get a refresh.  There are flushers and warm showers conveniently located throughout camp to get you back to fresh after a long ride on the trail.

The Refreshments

Those who have been before know; we have the best food and drink of any MTB festival in the country. Hot breakfast both mornings with great food options and plenty o’ BACON, a Pulled Pork BBQ dinner on Saturday night, a great beefy pasta dinner Friday night and to cap it off on Sunday awesome Open Fire Grilled Pork Steaks for all at the final lunch! We also make sure you have lunch with you on the trail, a full sandwich and lunch snack bar is provided Saturday morning so you can pack yours before you get on the trail and on Friday we have a small sandwich bar set up at the HQ/Expo area and Glendale.  We have watercoolers all around at the Expo area and samples of many different performance drink mix options.  Excel bottling makes sure we have soda on tap all weekend.  The guys and gals of Shawnee Mountain Bike Association have taken on providing the free beer and are sure to keep the kegs of New Belgium cold and plentiful to keep those of age frosty all weekend long.    All of this is included for every FTF participant!

Other FUN!

With our move to CampO seven years ago FTF grew from more than just one of the region’s best MTB events into a full-on outdoor adventure weekend with tons of fun for the riders and non-riders alike.

Vendor Expo and Prizes

This year we have a great vendor expo with representatives from the following sponsors onsite with awesome products: Specialized, Garmin, Thule, Niner and a couple others yet to be announced. We will have prizes from tons of sponsors, as always thousands of $$$$’s in prizes will be given away throughout the weekend, with the grand prize ceremonies at lunch on Sunday after the O’Face Adventure Race.

The Quest

We had a couple real great additions developed from the challenges of putting on FTF in 2020.  One of them was our scavenger hunt, an event that you can participate in all weekend long.  With a sheet of clues in hand you explore all throughout CampO property to find the answers to the challenges presented.  Challenges are presented in the form of riddles and puzzles and the more challenging they are the more points you win.   Put the highest score on the board and take home big prizes!  The Quest ends Sunday morning at Breakfast, winners are announced and prizes awarded at lunch on Sunday.

Fat Tire Challenge Friday Night

The Fat Tire Challenge will go down on Friday night, and always includes the world famous “Huffy Toss”, the “Little Kids Bike Dual Slalom”, the CampO tug of war to lead it all off and who knows what else we might cook up. We will have a huge campfire going all night long to keep you nice and warm while you wait for your turn at the craziness.

Music by the Campfire Saturday Night

Saturday night after everything else is done and dinner is finished, we will light the fire and warm up the guitar for a nice acoustic night by the campfire at the FTF HQ.

Scary Movie Night in the Woods

Jon was convinced this would suck in 2020; it didn’t!  Get the $hit scared out of you as you watch a super sketchy scary movie at the most haunted location on Camp property.  Like for real, don’t come if you have any cardiac or anxiety issues, you will be scared, a LOT.  Set the Terror Level at CODE BROWN and bring a change of pants.

Sunday Morning O’Face Adventure Race

Sunday morning, just after breakfast, we all jump in for the O’Face Adventure Race.  This is a super FUN, challenging and exciting adventure race held on the CampO grounds that gets everyone in on the fun.  O’Face is an awesome way to cap off a great weekend of fun, podium ceremonies with great prizes for the winners will happen right after lunch.