While allowing a handful of special events seeking a permit in Grand County to move forward in the process—including motorized events like a Jeep Jamboree and the 2023 Land Rover National Rally—the Grand County Commission denied the 2023 Rally on the Rocks. 

The UTV event has been contentious for years. In 2016 and 2017, then-Mayor Dave Sakrison urged Grand County to deny the event a permit, citing “extreme” disturbances to the community. A permit was denied for the 2021 event, which subsequently took place south of Moab in San Juan County. The 2022 event was canceled, with organizers putting out a public statement that “ROTR is a Moab event and just will not be the same anywhere else.”

“​​This event has generated more complaints than any other event we hold,” said Commissioner Kevin Walker. “I just feel like if we would approve this, that means we’re basically just rubber stamping everything.” 

The vote at the April 18 meeting was 4-2, with commissioners Bill Winfield and Mike McCurdy in opposition.

The Intent to Apply, a tentative application, was denied on the grounds of impacting the community’s “peace, comfort or welfare” as laid out in the special events ordinance. 

Other events that were approved to proceed are the 2023 Land Rover National Rally, the Rexy Queen of the Desert cycling event, the Jeep Jamboree and October Expedition 2023, the Moab 240 Endurance Run 2023, the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Jeep Cherokee, the Red Canyon Powwow, the Museum of Film and Western Heritage Ribbon Cutting, the Moab Craggin’ Classic, the Moab Trail Marathon, the GGBY Highline Gathering, and the Dead Horse Ultra.

“I think some of the things that we often look at…are collisions on the calendar,” Walker said. “Most of the events on this list have been here in the past, and we didn’t notice big overcrowding issues.”