What is a mud bog and where is Ethel, Washington? Those are the two most common questions when I say I’m going to shoot a Mudslingers4x4 event. A mud bog is a trench that’s been dug filled with water and turned with a bulldozer to create a muddy soupy mess. Like a drag race, trucks compete for time as well as furthest distance. Pit lengths are 130 feet in length and can be run in 10 seconds or less by competitors. Ethel Washington is just off I-5 on Highway 12 at Happ’s, Inc. Property.
Vehicle classing is based on tire size and engine size. 36 and under tires, run in the smaller pit and then the 36 and over pit, is where you always find a display of power and creativity. There is also a powder puff class and children’s class. Children you say? Yes, Mud bogs are fun for the whole family and with a little help from Mom or Dad, kids as young as 4 make it through the bog!
Making it through the pits is not just as simple as mashing the pedal and hoping for the best. There’s skill on what line you take, other trucks that got stuck may have made deep pockets or ruts. When you run in the day also plays a role in how dry our soupy the mud may be. The crowd always gets excited as a truck comes to a stop, and you can see the driver sawing the wheel to grasp for traction, and their passenger rocks the truck to try to break it free.
Carnage of the day was a little extreme this year. First time in Mudslingers’ history was there an incident of truck, climbing a pit wall and rolling onto its side. All passengers were fine and were checked out by medics. As dad was last to climb out, he stood a top the Ford Bronco and yelled, “We now got us a wheeling rig!” The crowd cheered in relief and excitement. Typically there are a few blown radiators, broken axels and drivelines; and occasionally a tire comes off the bead.
I spent the day between the two pits shooting anxiously awaiting the inevitable…being sprayed with mud. There’s no way to avoid it, when your at the mud bog your going to get dirty. The honor goes to a Chevy Suburban known as Possum Pieces. As it made its first pass, a tidal wave of mud came my direction. The only thing I could do was tuck my camera like a football and roll away from the spray.
So no mud bog would be complete without a wedding proposal! Okay well this was a first as well Will from Dogpound Off-road proposed to his best friend Lynnette. She eagerly said “Yes”! and was then ceremoniously thrown into the mud. Her quote was “Those that play together, stay together!” Wish you the best Lynnette and Will! – Eric Gearhart
Followed By: Being thrown in the Pit!
The Guy that got me muddy.