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by Dave ‘Coonbottom” O’Kane

I get asked a lot of random questions. And usually I have a lot of random answers. However, the other day I was asked a question that truly stumped me.

Why do you mud-bog?

A friend who would not be caught dead hanging out around a pond (and certainly not driving through one) asked me the very simple question that I had to stop and think about for a while.

I celebrated the 4th of July by hanging out at Crooked Creek Bog in Carrabelle, Fla. It was nice to spend the day outside watching trucks (and buggies) running wide-open throttles and slinging some good ol’ black mud.

Of course, I had a blast watching all of the madness and hanging out with friends I haven’t seen in a while. But still, I caught myself thinking, why did I have a blast? Of all the other things I could have been doing that could be called “fun,” I chose to do this.

A mud bog certainly isn’t what most people would consider a normal 4th of July celebration, but there is no place else I would have rather been that day.

I find it quite fitting that the 4th of July (Independence Day) was when I finally realized why I like mud-bogging. It’s because of the freedom of it.

When I am behind the wheel, with my foot to the floor, I am free. There are no speed limits, no red lights, no white lines, no roads and none of the rules all of us have to obey and follow every day.

When you are out there, you forget about that late mortgage payment, about the bills, the horrible job, the annoying neighbor, the speeding ticket and all of the other headaches life throws at you.

For a few brief moments you are free from having to worry about all of that. You are free from the normal routine and rules that we must live by.

Since we were youngsters, we were taught not to talk to strangers. But, at a mud-bog, if you see a stranger stuck, you act on the freedom to help them out. It is completely normal to help a stranger get pulled out.

We were always taught to be careful and not take risks, especially behind the wheel. But, at a mud bog, heck, it is encouraged! We are free to act a little crazy for a change.

I think, most importantly, you have the freedom to feel alive. Most people, myself included, forget from time to time what it really means to be alive.

When the engine roars to life and the adrenaline hits, it kind of helps remind you what living means. (Sure, some of you folks like to creep around, but you have the freedom of choice to do that too!).

Even as spectators...we are celebrating our freedom to go to an event that we chose to enjoy.

So, after thinking about it, I feel kind of sorry for someone who will never experience what mud-bogging is all about.

Because, when I tell them I bog because of the freedom of it, they’ll just shake their heads and never understand.

Here are some other answers I got from fellow mud-boggers when I posed the same “Why do you bog?” question: “It’s like being a kid again, where your biggest worry for the day is, ‘Which hole do I play in?’ or ‘What choices do I have for a cold refreshment’?” – Dusty “Izzy” Engel from Tifton, Georgia.

“I think a lot of it has to do with not knowing what will happen when you hit the hole. Wondering if you will make it or not. It’s a challenge and always brings a lot of excitement.” – Parker “The Big Brute” of Cocoa, Fla.

“Its just a damn good reason to get outside and enjoy life!” – Chris “Crue Cab” of Melbourne, Fla.

“Beer, buddies, girls and mud! The rest is left at the gate!” – Josh Potts of Jacksonville, Fla.

“It is the fact that you are in charge of a very powerful machine that is capable of destroying almost anything – including the driver – and you alone are controlling its power,” – Austin Wells, Jacksonville, Fla.

And, finally, sometimes the best answer is the simplest one:

“Cause it’s fun!” – Jen.

Every Weekend – Dirty Foot Mud Ranch in Ft. Meade

Dirty Foot Mud Ranch (DFMR) is a new 1,800-acre membership club for ATVs, UTVs, dirt bikes and like-size machines located in Ft. Meade, with a mud pit for trucks and swamp buggies opening soon! DFMR has 1,500 acres of wooded trails, a large U-shaped mud pit, 1/2-mile dirt track, mud pit, R/C track, 300-foot flat drag strip, wash-downs and 150 acres of primitive camping. DFMR is open every weekend, on Friday (3-8 p.m.), Saturday (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) and Sunday (8 a.m.-5 p.m.). For more info, check out: www.dirtyfootmudranch.com, call (863) 245-3676 and see ad on page 68.

Aug. 6-8 – Beaver Hut Boggin’

Albany, Georgia’s Beaver Hut Boggin’ will host a three-day, Aug. 6-8 event and pay out $100 to any truck that can cross the bounty hole. The park also has a circle track, five mud pits and a big play area. ATVs and campers welcome. Live band Saturday night. See ad on page 74.

Aug. 7-8 – Horse Hole Creek One-year Anniversary Party

The new Horse Hole Creek in Inglis will celebrate its one-year anniversary and Grand Opening of its new ATV track on Aug. 7-8. Upcoming events include: Aug. 21-22 and Sept. 4-6. For more info, call 352-447-5538 or visit www.MudUp.com. See ad on page 67 for a $2 off coupon.

Aug. 7-8 – Ocean Pond Mud/ATV Races

Ocean Pond Mud Bogging & Offroad Park in Old Town will host free monster bus rides, deep mud, ATV racing and some of the biggest and baddest trucks and ATVs in the South on Aug. 7-8. See ad on page 70 or call 352-258-5973. Next event Sept. 4-6.

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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!