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by Dave ‘Coonbottom” O’Kane

by Dave “Coonbottom” O’Kane

Sometimes I wonder if ol’ Hank Jr. realized how right he was when he coined the phrase “a family tradition.” I also wonder if Trucks Gone Wild Host Matt Steele realized just how right he was when he named the annual TGW event at Pudding Creek the “Dysfunctional Family Reunion.”

I’ll admit I am biased. Pudding Creek in Perry, Florida is like my home field. Just a little over an hour away, I’ve gone just about every time the gates have been open. It’s become a tradition I always look forward to, because I feel like I’m back with family.

I was just about as excited about seeing familiar faces as I was the mud-bogging for this year’s 3rd annual Family Reunion. People from all over the country (Vermont, New Hampshire and Texas) drove to the little town of Perry just to play in the mud. It really was like a big family get-together.

Just a few short minutes after I arrived Friday morning, I was tackled (literally) and a bottle of pricey bourbon was shoved in my face. It was good to be back “home.”

After a few “long time, no see” swigs, I met up with Kim and Dale Wetmore – the husband and wife team responsible for Kima’s Muddawgs (www.kimasmuddawgs.com) – who have set the standard for high quality mud bogging pictures in the Southeast. The rest of the afternoon was a huge meet and greet. People from all over, who normally never get a chance to meet, shook hands and shared stories.

Saturday morning came early. Roaring big blocks replaced alarm clocks. Adrenaline replaced coffee, and the crowd was stirring before the sun even rose above the tree line. It was time to sling some mud! If you’ve never been to a large mud bog, it is virtually impossible to describe. It overwhelms the senses. The smell of fresh earth mixed with fuel; the ground moving beneath your feet as a truck on 6-foot-tall tires drives by; the sound of 100 engines roaring in harmony.

There is commotion in every direction. You can’t stay focused on one truck very long for risk of missing some of the action elsewhere. It is like looking at chaotic art – there is a certain beauty in the madness going on all around.

Around noon, the Freestyle Event began, with drivers competing to impress the judges and the crowd by tackling deep or shallow mud and jumping several berms. The mega truck “all-stars” included: Spare Parts Doug, Bone Collector (Tim Bishop), Mr. Good Time (Drew Delong), Twitty’s K5, PorkChop (Shawn Delong), Swamp Donkey (Mike from Vermont), Jimmy Rigged (Jimmy Riggins), Dirt Pro (Matt Smith), Daniel “Air Mundy” and several others. All put on a wild show, but it was “Spare Parts Doug” who won, with “Jimmy Rigged” taking the “Big Air” award.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the weekend was the new trucks that made their debut. Tim Bishop’s highly-anticipated “Bone Collector” got its first taste of mud. With a blown alcohol engine, tube frame and fiberglass body, it resembles a monster truck.

Another new truck unveiled in Perry was Chris Durden’s red Chevy. Rarely do I use the term “show-stopper,” but there is no other way to put it. Coming in at just under 2600 horsepower, it is safe to say this beast raised the bar for mud trucks.

The rest of the weekend went by in a blur. As many were heading home Sunday morning, others were still bogging. It was hard to say goodbye to some folks, because it would be months before I would be able to talk to them in person again. But, all good things must come to an end. Monday morning would be coming too soon.

I will see my mud-bogging family again soon, whether at Pudding Creek or some other pond. Because where there is mud, there will be mud-boggers. It’s what we do. It’s a family tradition, and that is how we roll!

Driver of the Month

This month’s “Driver/TRUCK of the Month” honor goes to Joey Siegmund of Starke, Florida – or “Joey the Madman” as he is known by his fans.

Joey currently drives a 5-ton, 1998 Dodge Cummins. Other than a tune and exhaust, the truck’s drive train is basically stock! “It won’t spin the tires fast, but it does have A/C!” he jokes.

Joey has been bogging for 21 years now and got into bogging by “driving my dad around in the hunting woods.” He is best known for taking his rigs anywhere and for getting in some legendary “stucks” in the huge white “Pop-A-Top” Ram.

When asked if he missed going fast, Joey said, “Adrenaline junkie...that’s me,” adding, “I got something in the works,” hinting about another “go fast” vehicle.

Whether riding around the pond in style, or flying across the mud, “Joey the Madman” is just happy to be there. “Just being at a mud bog, that’s the greatest thing in the world!” Joey said.

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April 1-3 – Redneck Yacht Club Trucks Gone Wild Weekend

Redneck Yacht Club in Punta Gorda will host Trucks Gone Wild (TGW) for a full, three-day weekend of mud-bogging April 1-3 and is planning a Memorial Day Party on May 27-30. For details, see ad on page 68, call (941) 505-8465 or check out: www.redneckyachtclubfl.com. RYC in Punta Gorda has 800 acres of trail riding, a 500-foot oval mud track, four mud holes, live music, camping, a drive-through buggy wash and concessions.

April 2-3 – Ocean Pond Mud Bog

Ocean Pond will get down and dirty April 2-3 and May 7-8 in Old Town, Fla. Admission is only $12 (under 10 free). See ad in April issue for more info.

April 2 & 16 – Auggie Bog

St. Augustine Raceway will hold one-day Auggie Bog events on the first and third Saturdays of the month (April 2 & 16). Primitive camping will be available on Friday night prior to both events, which are open to mud trucks and ATVs. Campers can enter after 4 p.m. on Friday. Gates open at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Admission is $15 per person (kids under 10 free). Auggie Bog now has 300 additional acres set aside for ATVs. For more info (including entertainment info), visit www.AuggieBog.com, see ad on page 67, email [email protected] or call (904) 868-9740 for details.

April 9-10 – Hog Waller ATV-ONLY Weekend

North Florida’s #1 Outdoor Adventure Park – Hog Waller Mud Bog – will host an ATV-only weekend April 9-10 in Palatka. See ad in April issue or go to: www.HogWallerMudBog.com for details.

(For the rest of this month's scheduled events pick up the current issue of Woods 'n Water Magazine.)

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For more in-depth off-road coverage, pick up this month's issue of Woods 'n Water, click on our forums page http://www.woodsnwater.net/forums for the "Offroad" section and be sure to visit http://www.woodsnwater.net/boggin for awesome video and photos of recent events around the South!