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by Dave ‘Coonbottom” O’Kane

“I got stuck in the ditch!”

This is not the excuse a lot of high school students use to justify being late to their first-period class. However, it was one I used often, growing up on a dirt road covered in red Georgia clay.

While talking to people over the years, I’ve noticed that the reasons they give for getting into mud bogging are about as different as the answers when you ask why they mud bog.

For me, every time it rained I had no choice but to sling some mud. Even before I was driving, I knew you didn’t always have to speed through the mud to get to a paved road, but it sure was a lot more fun when you did! Even if that meant sometimes you ended up fish-tailing into the ditch.

When a small local mud bog opened up on the other side of the county I grew up in, I soon after got my first lifted four- wheel-drive. I’ve been addicted ever since. Now, I can’t imagine life without getting a mud-bogging “fix” every now and then. Here is how some other boggers says they got started:

“When I was young, my grandpa always took us out to the woods on his buggy, and my favorite part of those trips was when we played in the mud holes. Not long after we started to play in the mud on 4-wheelers. Then my uncle and I went in on halves on our first mud truck. After a lot of hard work, we took it out to the first mud hole, and my love for mudding has only grown from there,” said Pun Young from Loxahatchee, Florida.

“My first mud truck was a 1975 K5 Blazer with 31s. I bought it for $200. I just couldn’t pass it up. I took it to a local mud bog up this way a few times, beat the hell out of it and finally killed it. I ended up scrapping it. After that I bought my daily driver, which was a 1994 F-250 with 33s on it,” says Josh Foster of West Middlesex, Penn.

“It was perfect, but needed a little work, but I happened to be driving home one day, fell asleep at the wheel and totaled it. So, then it needed a lot of work. I parked it and bought a F-150 with 35s on it. I beat that a few times, ‘til I ended up parting it out.

“I hung out a lot with my buddy Scott who has the “MudSlut” from PA, and after about a year of my ‘94 being parked, it went to his house and we jacked it up and went from 33s to 64s. I threw in a set of 2.5 tons and some 18.4x34s. When I realized that was too small, I got a set of 5 tons and 28Ls.

“After problems with hauling (being over-wide), I came to have the ‘Floored Whore’ as she is today, with a fuel-injected 460, 4-speed, mated 205, 2.5 transfer case, 5-ton Rockwells and a set of 23.1x26s,” Josh said.

“I got started when I got my first 4-wheeler back in ‘97 (I was 8 at the time). It was a Honda 90, and I ragged that thing all out. I can’t even begin to remember how many sets of brakes my dad had to put on it. I loved driving through creeks and mud on that thing,” said Todd Allen from Lakeland, Fla.

“When I got my Tundra at 15 (2003), we went to Georgia, and that was the very first time I took a truck out on a muddy clay road. It was completely stock then, so it has come a long way.

“I still enjoy going out on both the 4-wheeler and my truck. I like the 4- wheeler more because the Tundra is still my DD. But, that doesn’t seem to hold me back,” Allen added.

“What got me started was back in the mid 80s when I fell in love with this truck that ran around in my hometown. It was a ‘69 ford F-100 on 44-inch Ground Hawgs. I was 14 years old and dreamed of owning it. When I got old enough to drive, I bought a ‘77 ford stepside on 36-inch Firestone TXs,” says Mike Harrison from Ontario, Canada.

“I got to wheel with the owner of that ‘69 a few times. After a few years the old ‘69 Ford disappeared (sold, I guess). Then about this time last year a guy called me to ask if I wanted to buy a truck that he had taken on trade.

“I said maybe I would come out and look at it. What a surprise I got when I got there and found the same old 1969 F-100, totally unchanged other then a set of 42-inch Swampers. Those Ground Hawgs must have rotted away. As you might guess, it is now right where it belongs – here in my yard. I even had the guy that owned it back then drop by and talk about old times,” Harrison said.

Driver of the Month

This month we kick off a new “Driver of the Month” monthly feature in Woods ‘n Water. It was difficult to pick who the first driver would be, but after winning a three-way tie in October’s Pudding Creek Freestyle Competition, the honor goes to Michael Whiting of Tallahassee, Fla.

Most people may know Michael as the driver of the “John Deere Bronco.”

His ‘79 Bronco is powered by a 557 big block Ford built by Eric Morris, and is somewhere in the 900 horsepower range. The fabrication work was done by “Taco Troy.” Michael is the son of a mud-racer, so it is only natural he has been mud-bogging and mud-racing all his life.

When asked about his thoughts on the three-way tie in the Pudding Creek freestyle competition, his reply was, “It wasn’t about the money, I just do it because I love it”.

It showed, and that is why Michael Whiting is this month’s Woods ‘n Water “Driver of the Month.”

You can catch Michael in his “John Deere Bronco” at Triple Canopy Ranch on Dec. 10-12.

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Dec. 3-5 Myakka Mudd Flats Side-by-side Pinks Style Racing

Myakka Mudd Flats will host a three-day weekend of off-road fun on Dec. 3-5 with 2-1/2 ton and bigger, side-by-side mud drag racing (Pinks Style, double elimination) and Hill-N-Hole for cash prizes ($1,000 first place). Mud trucks, ATV/UTVs and airboats are welcome. Free firewood, live music and concessions available. Bring your fishin’ pole! Call Philip at 229-859-9941 for more info.

Dec. 11 – ERIDU RACEWAY 4-Wheeler Mud BOG

Eridu Raceway in Eridu, Fla. will host ATVs and UTVs only (no trucks), sponsored by Aaron’s, at their new 1,700-foot long track (with side-by-side, 50-foot-wide lanes) on Saturday, Dec. 11. For details visit www.eriduraceway.com, call 352-572-7213.

Dec. 10-12 – Triple Canopy Ranch 2nd Annual Toys For Tots Toy Drive

Trucks Gone Wild (TGW) returns to Triple Canopy Ranch in Lake Wales for the “2nd Annual TGW Christmas Party in support of “Toys For Tots.” Last year’s event was Florida’s largest toy drive for the “Toys for Tots” program from the mudding community, and this year’s event is on track to be even bigger, as Trucks Gone Wild features a “Mud Truck Freestyle Competition,” high-flying “Long Jump” contest and an incredibly wild, first-ever “Warehouse Racing World Championships.”

If that isn’t enough, TGW will be producing their very first music video for a brand-new single performed by “The Dubblewide Boys.” Video footage for the music video will be shot throughout the entire weekend, including when “The Dubblewide Boys” perform their featured song at the TCR and TGW “Party after Dark!” It will be a perfect ending to the 2010 TGW “Tour of Destruction.” “It’s the final stop on the TGW 2010 Tour, and we plan on going out with style!” says TGW’s Matt Steele, “There’s almost too much going on!”

The rules for the first-ever TGW Warehouse Racing World Championships include: Must have helmets, seatbelts, fire extinguishers and no hubcaps. In an effort to make clean-up quick and easy, please remove all headlights and taillights. There will be a “People’s Choice” award for the best “decorated or themed” car, so be sure to dress them up and get creative. Any vehicle can enter the TGW “Long Jump” contest, and there is no charge to enter the warehouse racing or long jump event. Gates will open at 10 a.m. on Friday and stay open all weekend for this massive weekend event, so come out early, stake your turf and strut your stuff on TGW’s music video! Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots to brighten someone’s holiday. For more information, go online to www.TripleCanopyRanch.com.

Dec. 18-19 – Auggie Bog

St. Augustine Raceway will host mud bogging on Dec. 18-19 in St. Augustine. Gate opens at 8 a.m., primitive camping available, gates close at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Kids 10 and under enter free. For more info, visit www.AuggieBog.com and see ad on page 65.

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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!