Off-road aficionados are taking a gamble with their clunkers this weekend for fun and land stewardship.

Cumberland County is the site for Gambler 500 Tennessee, a Sept. 13-15 rally for litter pick-up on and off the beaten path in vehicles valued at $500 or less. 

Partnering with Carrie Smith of Cumberland County Sanitation Litter Prevention and Education, participants in the all-volunteer event will aim to clean up the countryside by making drops at assigned dumpster stations in vehicles valued at $500 or less.

“This year's theme is off the grid and underground,” states the Facebook event posting for Gambler 500 Tennessee. “Where we're going, satellite don't even work.”

Activities kick off at 10 a.m. Friday, when the gates open for camping at an off-road location at 6360 Newton Rd., about 13 miles from downtown Crossville. A $40 fee will be charged per camper to cover insurance and defray costs, but camping is not mandatory for participation.

The rally starts Saturday, when waypoints will be disclosed no earlier than 6 a.m. Checkpoints will be available for noncampers at the camp entrance. Staging will be nearby at the Old School Store before off-roaders turn the keys on their jalopies and head off to see how much trash they can collect in areas like Clifty, Hinch Mountain and Scott's Gulf and make 10 checkpoints assigned by Mason Dixon, Gambler 500 Tennessee organizer.

Check-ins will be via Facebook post. Five rings will be awarded during the 3 p.m. Sunday closing ceremony for Most Incapable Car, Most Litter Picked Up, Most Creative Design, Most Likes On Your Check In Post and Most “Gamblerish” of All.

Other than conforming to federal, state and local laws, each individual Gambler 500 event determines its own rules and competitions. Even the car value isn't set in stone: $500 is suggested, but not enforced. All types of vehicles — from vans to trucks to compact cars to mini-bikes — are encouraged.

“The agenda: Have fun. Make it to all 10 checkpoints, check in on Facebook, pick up some litter,

get back to camp before 3 p.m. Sunday,” is the missive for the weekend posted to the event's Facebook.

Campers will receive swag bags. Campsite activities will include at 4 p.m. Friday shooting match and a mini-bike race to start around 6 p.m. Saturday. Those wishing to participate in the bike race must sign up as soon as they arrive at camp. 

Billing itself “the world’s largest and competitive trail cleanup,” the Gambler 500 is an off-road, rally-style event that Tate Morgan started in Oregon as a challenge to see how far cheap vehicles could run.

Visit the Gambler 500 Tennessee Facebook for more about this weekend's activities.

Detailed Gambler 500 activities, including its history and previous events, can be found at Gambler500.com.

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