Mud fun

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
What George Gore of Durham likes best about mud bogging is that it’s an afternoon of clean fun for people of all ages.



Well, the fun isn’t totally clean. It does involve a lot of mud, after all.



Gore is organizing the first “Rocking G’s Mud Sling” this Sunday on his property two miles south of Durham.



“It’s fun for everybody, from little kids all the way up to elderly people,” Gore insists. “Once you go to one, it almost gets you hooked. It really does. They’re fun-especially if you like trucks and mud.”



But Gore realizes that even people who like trucks and mud may not know much about the sport of mud bogging.



It’s competitive, but not too complicated.



For the most part, mud bogging is high-horsepower four-wheel-drive pickup trucks with big tires racing through a pit 200 feet long, 20 feet wide and filled about three feet deep with mud.



If the drivers get their trucks through the pit, the winner is determined by the best time. If nobody makes it through, the driver with the best distance wins. Prize money is based on the number of entrants.



Gore is expecting around 150 vehicles at his event. The trucks will be divided into 10 classes, which are determined by tire size.



The truck of an average weekend mud bogger starts out around 800 horsepower. Gore says the vehicles of serious competitors can generate 1,500 to 1,600 horsepower.



“You get them into some mud with big tires, you never know what’s going to happen,” Gore said.



He is also offering an open class designed for beginners and amateurs who simply want to see what their vehicles will do in mud.



“It’s open to anybody,” he said. “A lot of guys who have four-wheel-drives just want to come and play in the pit.”



Gore has been a fan of mud bogging for many years now, but this is his first opportunity to host an event. His brother, Glen Gore of Marion, is president of the Central Mud Boggers Association.



George’s mud run is sanctioned by the CMBA, a statewide organization with some 180 members. Its headquarters are in El Dorado.



The CMBA sanctions around 25 events each season, which runs from May through October. Drivers collect points toward a seasonal championship. Gore is planning to host a second event Oct. 1.



In addition to enlightening people about the sport, Gore hopes to break some false impressions people may have about it.



“Nobody understands what mud bogging is about,” he says. “A lot of people, when they think of mudding and four-wheel drives, the first thing that comes to mind is a bunch of rednecks drinking beer and tearing things up.



“In some cases, that may be true,” he says with a chuckle. “But in this instance, it’s a sanctioned event. I recommend it for all ages. People think it’s mainly for guys, but it’s not. There’s women racing in this too. All of them compete together.”



Gore is investing significant time, energy and money to make his event successful. In addition to the cost of preparing the pit, he has to recruit a support staff of around a dozen people, and arrange for announcers, food booths, seating and restrooms.



But Gore thinks the investment will be worthwhile.



“I think it’s something this area needs,” he says. “I’m not trying to put down any other thing we have in Marion County, but this is something I believe could really go over here once everybody comes and sees what it’s about. I figure, as much as I like this sport, surely there has to be other people in Marion County who like it as much as I do.



“It’s an enjoyable way to spend a day,” he adds. “There’s not many things to do in this area on a Sunday afternoon. What better way to spend it than sitting beside a mud pit watching some trucks?”



The races will begin at noon. Gore recommends that spectators arrive an hour or two sooner to get a good seat. He hopes to provide some bleachers, but spectators should bring lawn chairs if they have them.



Gore, an independent roofer by trade, is hoping at least to break even financially his first time out. But he says this event means more to him than making money.



“It’s a lot like roofing,” he says. “When I’m done, I can stand back and look at how good a job I’ve done. At the end of this race, I can stand back and look at everybody having fun and it gives me pleasure.”



The fee for drivers is $20. Spectators can get in for $5. The event will be located a quarter mile east of the intersection of K-15 and 270th, which is where the Durham Park Cemetery is located.

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