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Meet the ORMHOF Class of 2023:  Helen 'Sugar' Fields

Meet the ORMHOF Class of 2023: Helen 'Sugar' Fields

Helen Fields – Advocacy Pioneer

Helen ‘Sugar’ Fields is a Hall of Fame legacy inductee.  Dubbed the ‘First Lady of Four Wheeling’ by the East Coast 4WD Association (EC4WDA), Sugar Fields had nearly a half-century of continued leadership in competitive and recreational 4-wheeling at club, regional, and national levels.

In the 1970s, the Indiana-Ohio-Kentucky (IOK) Four Wheelers, under Sugar’s leadership, had the foresight and tenacity to convince the New York Central Railroad to sell a former gravel pit on 69 acres in Cleves, Ohio for off-road recreation. The property nicknamed ‘the Pits’ became the home of Gravelrama, one of the longest running off-road events in the country. In fact, Gravelrama 8 marked the first appearance of the first ‘monster truck’ at an off-road event, ORMHOF inductee Bob Chandler’s Bigfoot. Sugar coined the event slogan “America’s annual 4WD happening” for Gravelrama and along with her husband Ken announced at the event for 33 years. Gravelrama celebrated 50 years in 2021.

Sugar played a key role in stopping overly restrictive raised-vehicle legislation in Maryland and across the Country. She was named the United Four-Wheel Drive Association Four Wheeler of the Year in 1991. In 1992 EC4WDA hosted the annual United Convention in Baltimore, where Sugar lobbied federal representatives on behalf of 4WD recreation. She was also instrumental in the creation of the North American Motorized Recreation Council (NAMRC).

“Sugar was a woman pioneer advocate in the motorized sport arena which is dominated by men,” said Gary Marr, Land Use Chairman for the East Coast 4 Wheel Drive Association. “Sugar touched all aspects of the sport.”

In 1998 SEMA honored Sugar for her tremendous networking, being an effective member of the nationwide four-wheel-drive community, and for her tireless promotion of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) concept at national and regional club events.  “You have no idea what it meant to me to stand up on that stage to receive an award as a volunteer on behalf of my sport. The reality is just starting to hit me and I’ll never forget it,” said Sugar.  SEMA Director of Outreach and Public Affairs Brian Caudill commented, “Sugar went the extra mile to protect the interests of fellow hobbyists against the seemingly overwhelming tide of harmful government legislation and regulation. We appreciate her labors and we are proud to honor her achievements.”

Prior to her passing in 2015, Sugar received an award from EC4WDA for 40 years of service. West Virginia Senator Mark R. Maynard said, “As a child in the 80s when my family would attend East Coast 4-Wheel Drive Association events, Gravelrama was always a highlight.  As new competitors, my parents felt immediately welcomed by Sugar. She was always very helpful. It’s just not the same without her voice echoing over the loudspeaker at Cleves. The off-road community misses her.”

Jim Bramham, ORMHOF Class of 2018 inductee said, “Sugar was a gracious, effective, creative, dynamo, and leader who was as sweet as her name. She was a promoter, racing enthusiast, land use advocate, and friend.”

About the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame

The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame was established in 1978 by racing promoter and NORRA founder Ed Pearlman to recognize and honor those individuals and organizations whose lifelong contributions to off-road motorsports have set a standard for others to follow. In 1995, legendary off-road racer Rod Hall became ORMHOF chairman, a position he held for more than twenty years, before selecting current chairman Mark McMillin as his successor.

The mission of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is to educate and inspire present and future generations of the off-road community by celebrating the achievements of those who came before.  Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees represent excellence and achievement in many areas of off-road, including advocacy, journalism, industry, rock sports, desert racing, short course, and rally.  

ORMHOF maintains a collection of vintage off-road vehicles that are displayed at museums around the country, as well as an extensive online archive of print, images, and videos, with more content added as funds become available.  The Hall of Fame Off-Road Registry invites clubs, organizations, events, businesses, and individuals with fifty years or more of history in off-road to apply for Hall of Fame heritage status in the official archives of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. 

The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is funded through donations, individual memberships, and industry partners. A 501c non-profit organization, ORMHOF has earned a GuideStar Non-Profit Gold Seal of Transparency for 2023.

ORMHOF is guided by an all-volunteer board of leaders in the off-road community, including chairman Mark McMillin and board members Frank ‘Butch’ Arciero Jr, Dave Cole, Frank DeAngelo, Bud Feldkamp, Jeff Furrier, Bob Ham, Josh Hall, Gary Haugley, Rich Klein, Rafael Navarro III, Fardad Niknam, Bonnie Vessels, and Rory Ward.

Links to 2023 Gala tickets, discounted room rates, and Gala sponsorship opportunities are available on the 2023 Ceremony tab. We invite you to browse the ORMHOF online collections of print, images, and video, and to learn more about how to join, partner, or donate. Legends live at