Maurice and Elaine Tierney started Dirt Rag in 1989, creating a magazine that provided an inclusive forum where readers shared their stoke for the riding, culture, and lifestyle of mountain biking. After having a great time at the legendary Jim Thorpe Mountain Bike Weekend, the pair decided that Dirt Rag was in a position to translate the magazine’s in-print stoke to an in-person “gathering of the tribe.”
The first edition of Dirt Fest took place in 1991 at Camp Soles, a YMCA youth camp east of Pittsburgh. The original event was decidedly chill. There was no vendor expo bristling with the bleeding edge of bicycle technology. Demo rides amounted to swapping bikes with a newfound friend. There was a lake, a bonfire, and a bicycle polo field. Nighttime entertainment consisted of an attendee strumming a guitar at the group bonfire—a far cry from The Earthtones jamming for a circus tent full of partying mountain bikers.
Circumstances led to the loss of the original Dirt Fest venue after its second year. Due to difficulties securing a suitable location, the event remained dormant for nearly two decades. Then, after attending the Allegripis Trails grand opening in 2009, it was realized that the newborn trail network offered the perfect venue for future Dirt Fests. In a collaborative effort with the Raystown Mountain Bike Association, Allen Gwinn of The Army Corp of Engineers, The Friends of Raystown Lake, Maurice Tierney of Dirt Rag and Evan Gross at Rothrock Outfitters, the event came back to life in 2010.
Dirt Fest Pennsylvania at Raystown Lake has grown steadily since its inception, proving what we’ve known all along: that mountain bikers just want to have fun! In our opinion, there are plenty of mountain bike races to choose from, but not enough “just for fun” events. That’s why we’ve added a second Dirt Fest in 2017, this time in West Virginia at Big Bear Lake Trail Center in Bruceton Mills. You’ll find the same Dirt Fest vibe, plenty of great trails and a welcoming space to hang out and talk bikes. Come and join the tribe at either location—or better yet, at both!