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by Dave ‘Coonbottom” O’Kane

by Dave “Coonbottom” O’Kane

Times are tough. There's no way to sugar coat it. Money is simply tight right now. Anyone watching the news knows there is no end in sight for the economic mess we are in. All of this really goes without saying.

None of us has not had their wallet (or purse) hit hard by financial woes. We have all had to tighten up our belts.

Unfortunately for the mud-bogging community, the thing we all love so much may be one of the first luxuries to be cut when times get tough.

One of the things I like most about mud-bogging is that it attracts people from every income level. Whether you gather around the pond, or at the track, muddin’ seems to be its own “melting pot” of different economic classes who all share a common interest.

I enjoy the fact that our sport provides one of the rare occasions that a millionaire can pop open and enjoy a cold one right alongside a blue-collar buddy in a very different tax bracket.

Lately, however, finding a way to pay the bills seems to be more on everyone’s minds than spinning tractor tires.

I’m sure you’ve heard the same excuses I have lately: “It’s been too hot!” or “It’s too far to drive!” or “I’ll just go fishing for now and wait ‘til the fall.” “I just don’t have any money for it right now,” is the one excuse I’ve heard more than any of the others, and I am sure you can relate.

Can you blame them? Bogging ain’t cheap anymore. Hard-core mud trucks have more in common with a race car than an old, beat-up hunting truck.

The past few years have hit some of us harder than others. Coughing up $100 for fluids might be difficult for one person, while another may have to settle for the $10,000 engine instead of the $40,000 one. Regardless of the amount, we are all having to make sacrifices. Sadly, the only option for a handful of folks is to get out of mud-bogging altogether.

It’s always nice to walk outside in the morning and see your rig sitting there in the yard, waiting for its chance to sling some mud, but if you're about to lose your yard (and the house attached to it), a bog truck doesn’t mean very much.

Even a hard-core bogger has to eat! It’s a tough decision, but fat has to be trimmed when the going gets tough.

No one ever wants to give up a life’s passion. Mud-bogging really is a lifestyle. It is something that is passed down from father to son (or daughter).

Once it gets in your blood, it never really leaves. It's like that black mud that stains your favorite shirt. You can wash and bleach it clean, but you will always see a shadow of that stain if you look close enough.

You can’t look down on a man who has to make that tough choice. On one hand, you don’t need a designated 800 hp tractor tire truck to have fun in.

There will always be hunting for patches to cut donuts in and muddy dirt roads to ride on. Throw some all-terrain tires on your daily driver and hope the spider gears in the 10 bolt holds up.

You might be better off financially when you give it up, but after a while you will notice an itch. The first time you go back out to a pond, you’ll notice the itch is getting worse. Just like an itch acquired in a different way – it never goes away. The empty feeling stays with you.

That feeling of not being able to floor it and bump the shifter will be with you for a while. You can feel that proverbial belt tightening around your waist when your friends let you ride as their “rope witch.”

You’ll regret it. Maybe not a lot...but you will. I’m not here to give financial advice or talk someone out of making the smart choice, but I would like to remind some folks that it ain’t costing you much to let your bog truck sit.

Remember, times will change. It may take its sweet time, but things will get better. There will be a little extra play money in that paycheck one day. So, rich or poor, we are still a community, and our community will keep finding some mud to sling until there is no more dirt left. Because, once a mud bogger...always a mud bogger. Truck or no truck!

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August 5-7 – Myakka Mudd Flats

Over $2,450 in cash prizes will be up for grabs when Myakka Mudd Flats hosts the 1st annual Myakka City Swamp Buggy Races (Naples Style) on Sunday, Aug. 7 during a three-day weekend of off-road fun, including a bikini contest (Saturday) and side-by-side “Pinks-Style” mud truck and street truck racing and a “Hill & Hole” race (Sunday). Only $25 for the whole weekend (kids 12 and under free). Gates open at noon. Mud trucks, ATV/UTVs and airboats welcome. Free camping. Located off I-75 to Hwy. 70. Call 941-809-7395 or 229-859-9941 for more info.

Aug. 12-14 Mud Muckers Hot Boots Contest!

MudMuckers, the world’s largest off-road family fun park and home of JR McNeal and monster truck star “Razin Kane,” will be open all weekend on Aug. 12-14 in Bunnell. The "Hot Boots" (bikini optional) competition will be held on Saturday. Gates open Friday at 9 a.m. and close Sunday at 6 p.m. The park now has an all-new area for trucks, a new ATV pit, free hot showers, camping, bike wash and more trails than any other park in the world. MudMuckers consists of 11,000 acres of family-owned land in Bunnell, Fla. and has developed the best trails, mud pits, vendor area and entertainment. See ad on page 46 or for more info, call “Iron Horse” Billy at 386-566-1456 or visit www.MudMuckers.com.

Aug. 19-20 – Bikes & Bulls (& Barrels) PRO RODEO IN TAllAHASSEE

Sponsored by Clear Channel Radio and Budweiser, the Bikes & Bulls Professional Rodeo will be held at the North Florida Fairgrounds in Tallahassee on Aug. 19-20. The event will be action-packed with bull riding, daredevil freestyle MotoCross (featuring the death-defying Ives Brothers in the "Ball of Steel"), exciting barrel racing, "The Car Crushing Beast," thrilling Monster Truck rides and mud drags on Saturday. Two-time World Champion Ross Hill and fearless bull fighters will risk life and limb to save the cowboys (and each other) from the heads, horns and hooves of their dangerous adversaries in the arena in extreme bull riding for serious cash, buckles and top honors. Nashville recording artist Greg Burroughs will provide live music for a country dance each night. Admission is $15 (11 years old to adult), $5 (ages 6-10) and free to those 5 and under. You can enter the bull riding competition for over $1,000 in cash ($100 entry), and there will be an open Barrel Race for all guys and gals who are interested in running ($30 entry fee), with $500 added each night to the paybacks. For more info, call Shawn 229-224-2794, 850-671-8400, 850-209-0772 or email: [email protected] Vendors welcome.

AUG. 20-21 CREEK BOTTOM ATV PARK OPEN RIDING WEEKEND - DOLES, GEORGIA

Creek Bottom ATV Park in Doles, Georgia will hold an “open riding weekend” on Aug. 20-21 and Sept. 17-18 on 500 acres of mud, water and trails. For more information, go online (www.creekbottomatvpark.com) or call (352) 528-3252. Creek Bottom ATV Park has 1,800 acres of mud, water and trails with lighted mud pits, bridges, free hot showers and free primitive camping, all located on Hwy 32, 15 miles west of Ashburn, Ga.

(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!