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by Dave ‘Coonbottom” O’Kane

by Dave “Coonbottom” O’Kane

It is once again summer time in Florida, which means if you are going to be having fun outside, more than likely you will be near, on or in the water. Fishing, tubing, swimming...I could go on and on, but you get the idea. However, I am a mud-bogger. When it comes to having fun in the water, nothing beats driving through it!

Some people might look at a small pond and think it would be a good place to catch some bluegills, but I see it as a good place to get stuck! For me, every year Memorial Day weekend kicks off the start of summer. So, for my unofficial start to summer, I made my way down to the small coastal town of Carrabelle, Florida.

While most folks spend the weekend on the beach or on a boat, I had to spend mine at a mud bog, of course. Crooked Creek mud bog is still a small, “local” venue. Some organized events across the U.S. draw in several thousand visitors, but it is nice to still have places that draw a few hundred spectators for each event.

Although Crooked Creek’s “Summer Splash” didn’t have several thousand people come through the gates, some of the biggest names in mud-bogging showed up to this local bog.

Former “Truck of the Month” winner “Twitty” came all the way from South Carolina. Many of the big-name Dallas, Georgia trucks made the long drive down, and trucks from all around North and South Florida showed up for the biggest “local” bog going on.

Even before the majority of the crowd starting showing up on Saturday, drivers were already out bogging Friday evening. There were no competitions for cash or prizes, no grudge matches or TGW cameras rolling – just mud-boggers doing what we love – bogging.

As Saturday rolled around, you couldn’t have asked for better conditions. A sunny sky, a slight breeze, plenty of freshly-turned-up black mud and a small block Chevrolet firing up as an alarm clock. It was going to be a good day!

I have noticed hangovers aren’t nearly as bad when you wake up to the smell of racing fuel. That is just something you can’t experience going out fishing on the river. Whether I am slinging mud myself, or watching other drivers do it, bogging is a vacation for me – even if it is just for the day.

The larger annual mud bog events take me nearly a week to get prepare for. There is planning, prepping, packing and all of the other chores that have to be done before you can hang out at a bog for three days.

But going to a local bog down the road is a lot less stress. It can be the perfect family activity. Unlike those long, boring road trips around the country in a mini-van, going to a mud bog is perfect for a family that enjoys adrenaline and having fun! There is nothing wrong with your typical family summer vacation, but sometimes you just need a spur-of-the-moment getaway with the kids.

Mud-bogging has never been more exciting and popular than it is right now. When cameras are rolling, every driver goes all-out to show they are the best.

But when there are neither cameras filming, nor thousands of fans, it is still awesome to see drivers competing with each other for nothing more than bragging rights.

One driver would go out and let it rip from one end of the pond to the other. Not to be out-done, another driver would roll out and try to show him up.

It didn’t matter if they had a race truck, a bog truck, or if they were out there in their daily driver, everyone was out there to have fun and leave the world behind for a little while.

As the day went on, it was time for the high-jump competition, pitting drivers from all around the Southeast going all-out to see who could catch the highest air and jump the farthest.

There was a nice chunk of change on the line, but the money probably meant very little to the drivers. It was all about showing off and seeing if you could beat the other guy. It was about being a rock star.

It was about making memories.

As I was leaving Crooked Creek, I realized once again why I am a mud-bogger. Life is too short to view the world out of a window while it flies by at 70 mph.

Sure, sometimes you want to just relax and float down the river in a tube or lay out your towel a little closer to the waves while you nap. But other times you want more than just looking back and thinking about the nice tan you got while drinking a few cold ones.

It is the exciting memories you hold onto the most. I can’t tell you the biggest fish I caught or how many scallops I’ve picked up, but I will always remember watching a ‘60s model Chevy skim across the mud and a K5 popping slap wheelies so hard the rear glass broke out.

It has been a decade since the first local bog I started going to shut down, but I still remember hanging out there on those muggy summer nights like it was last weekend. This is why no matter what, I will always be a mud-bogger.

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July 13-15 Mud MuckerS world’s largest family mud park

Mud Muckers will hold a major mud event on July 13-15 in Bunnell, Florida. Mud Muckers is a privately-owned tract of about 11,000 acres in north central Florida, about 30 minutes north of Daytona. It offers the best of off-road riding for ATVs and side-by-sides, including guided night rides, free bike wash, truck and ATV pits, miles of wooded trails with deep water and stream crossings, free hot showers, free camping, a general store and vendors. The park also has a 1/8-mile “round pen,” muddy landing strip, bottomless mud pit and a kiddie ATV pit. For mud trucks and swamp buggies, Mud Muckers also has a Hill-N-Hole course, big mud pit and a play area. Mud Muckers offers fun for the whole family. Gates open on Friday at 9 a.m. and close Sunday at 6 p.m.

JULY 1-3 CREEK BOTTOM ATV PARK FIRECRACKER BASH - DOLES, GEORGIA

Creek Bottom ATV Park in Doles, Georgia will hold its 6th annual “Firecracker Bash” on July 1-3, highlighted by the first-ever joint SMRS & CMS race. There will be a poker run on Friday, July 1, and the SMRS/CMR race will be held on Saturday, July 2 with a live band performing Saturday night. Creek Bottom also has “open riding weekends” planned for July 16-17, 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 located on Hwy 32, 15 miles west of Ashburn, Ga

July 20-22 – Triple Canopy Ranch July JAM!

Summer’s Hottest Party will be July 20-22 at Triple Canopy Ranch (TCR) in Lake Wales, Florida. The open bogging event will be an action-packed, mud-slinging weekend, including a “Dirty Girl Competition,” “Gator Dance-Off,” and Open Pit Bogging. On Friday, DJ Gonzo will be at vendor row working the crowd and hosting the “Bikini Bull Riding” contest. On Saturday night, DJ Gonzo will get the “Party After Dark” started early, along with an entertaining “Gator Dance” contest and widely-anticipated, crowd-pleasing “Dirty Girl Contest.” Capping off the evening will be national recording artist Moccasin Creek bringing the house down with their outlaw country rock. Admission for “July Jam II” will be $40 for the weekend with kids 12-and-under admitted free. Day passes are available on Sunday only for $30. Gates open on Friday at noon and will remain open until Sunday at 4 p.m.

Aug. 4-5 Ocean Pond Mud Bog Free Monster Bus Rides

Ocean Pond Mud Bog, located just north of Chiefland on Hwy. 19, will host a mud bog on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4-5, at the 80-acre offroad park. The event will include an open mud hole all weekend, as well as free Monster Bus Rides. Admission is only $12 for guys and $5 for ladies, with kids 10-and-under admitted free. For more information, see ad on page 79, check out www.OceanPond.net or call 352-258-5973.

(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!