In the early 1970s, the Mears brothers added the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb to their off-road racing resume with impressive results. Roger Mears won the event in his first two attempts in 1972 and 1973. In capturing the title of "King of the Hill," Roger started a new trend of winning with lighter rear engine buggies. These smaller buggies competed against the established V8-powered sprint cars that dominated up to this point. Though not having the same amount of horsepower as their competitors, the Volkswagen-powered buggies utilized the engine's rear weight placement for better traction and its overall lighter weight for more speed.

Rick competed at Pikes Peak three times: 1974, 1975, and 1976. In 1974, he placed third overall and captured Rookie of the Year honors with a time of 13:01.99. In 1975, Rick did not finish his run and placed 25th, but he returned for 1976 with a Paul Newman and Doug Dreager-built buggy utilizing a VW Porsche flat-four engine. Rick captured the overall win, racing up the 14,000-foot summit with a time of 12:11.89.