Never Give Up Award

The Never Give Up Award is presented by Laverne Unser in honor of her late husband, Louis. The recipient of the award is announced at the annual Induction & Awards Ceremony.

Recipients of the Louis Unser Never Give Up Award demonstrate a pursuit of excellence in the face of adversity. Louis Unser relentlessly fought through health issues to persevere in his passion for engine building. Like Louis, these individuals exemplify a ‘Never Give Up’ attitude in their off-road career, possessing a relentless attitude, indomitable spirit, and perseverance.

2019: Ed Waldheim

The 2019 Louis Unser “Never Give Up” Award was presented to Ed Waldheim by Hall of Fame inductee and board member, Frank DeAngelo. Waldheim, who had been fighting cancer, still managed to attend the ceremony. He was weakened from cancer treatments and was confined to a wheelchair, but the big thumbs up and smile on his face tell a lot about this remarkable man. Ed passed away within weeks attending the ceremony. We are so honored and grateful that he was able to attend in person and receive the outpouring of thanks and gratitude from the more than 500 people in attendance that night.

Waldheim was a competitive off-road motorcycle racer for five years and later earned numerous accolades and awards for his advocacy on behalf of the off-roading community. Ed was appointed by two governors to serve as a Commissioner for the State Parks OHV Division.

Among his many awards and honors were the Golden Helmet Award from the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division of California’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Off-Roader of the Year from the California Off-Road Vehicle Association, Bureau of Land Management Volunteer of the Year award, AMA Motorcycling Advocate award, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council Perseverance Award.

Waldheim was a founder of Friends of Jawbone, Friends of El Mirage and Friends of Dumont Dunes in California. He was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005 and into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2007. He also had the main building at California’s Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area named in his honor.

Previous Winners

  • 2018 Dick Landfield
    Hall of Fame Racer, Creator of Ford Rough Riders
  • 2017 Malcolm Smith
    Off-Road Motorcycle Legend
  • 2016 Charlie and Linda Engelbart
    SCORE International Volunteers
  • 2015 Rod Hall
    ORMHOF, Rod Hall Racing, 50 consecutive Baja 1000s

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