MARCH MUD-MOUNTAIN MADNESS
The Largest Mudslingin’ Event On The West Coast.
Editor: Eric Bewley Story/Photo: Glenn Anderson
SWEET HOME, OR. -Many years ago, everyone around Oregon went to the Foster Mud Flats event in Foster Oregon when the Army Corps of Engineers drained Foster Lake making room for Spring snow melts. This event went by the wayside when the Army Corps of Engineers due to environmental concerns quit issuing permits for the event. The Santiam 4WD Association has replaced the Foster event with the Mountain Mud Festival.
Held just outside of Sweet Home Oregon and selling tickets via Phone-in only and limited to 3 tickets per caller; 2500 mud lovin’ people gathered on March 6th 2004 for the love of mud. The ticket lines were phone lines set up for the Oregon Jamboree ticket sales and information, we called them a couple weeks ago to be sure there was no other way to get tickets.
Some of the vehicles that were seen having fun were A real Military Hummer complete with Army Guys, a Subaru Wagon with snow chains that was jumping it all morning until he killed it, brand new trucks, cool old Willys Jeeps, purpose built off road rigs, daily driver trucks and SUV’s, Jeeps, and Suzuki, oh yeah, a ton of Suzuki there were a few Sidekicks and a bunch of Samurai.
With the hundreds and hundreds of vehicles all over, it gets a little crowded, but there was plenty of space to have fun and all the participants were all accommodating to the other rigs.
The Santiam 4WD Association did a great job putting on this event, there were portable restrooms, food venders, medical personnel, event T-shirts and enough people to assist with parking and remind participants of the rules. Warn Industries was there with their rigs handing out decals. There was a large parking lot for tailgaters, tow rigs and spectators all had to be 4WD to enter with a ticket. They had two BIG hill climbs with a guy at the top with a tanker truck full of water keeping the hills as greasy as possible. There were numerous shorter hill climbs, mud holes, mud drags, and a cool obstacle course.
The event was scheduled from 9:00 am until 3:00 PM Saturday March 6th, but the line began to form closer to 6:00 am. Rigs must have been entering around 7:00 am as we got in around 8:30 am and there was a bunch of rigs everywhere! By 9:00 am there were already a few broken drive shafts and a couple axles! A broken Zook however could not be found all day long, but wherever there was mud, there were Suzuki.
Zukiworld readers Glenn Anderson and his Brother in-law Mike Forrest came to the event in Glenn’s 1988 Samurai Hardtop. Glenn has been working on his Samurai for a few years now adding suspension, tires, transfer case, lockers, and now a newly built 1.3L engine from Garrett Racing Engines in Lebanon, Oregon.
After an hour or so of taking in the sites and a few photos, it was time to head to the 1/8-mile mud drags. One big Chevy Blazer and a Big Ford Power Stroke had to admit to their friends that they were beat by a ’88 Samurai! Time to take in some more sites, they watched the big hill climb for a while, the deep mud bogs claimed a few more victims and one Chevy Transmission.
After lunch it was time to go see the obstacle course where earlier more rigs needed towed out, than even completed the course. The course had improved a little, not so many needing towed out now, so Glenn got in line to give it a go with Mike riding shotgun. To get as many people through the course as possible the staff lets one rig get ½ way around the course then lets the next rig go. The rig ahead of Glenn was very slow so the wait was a little longer than expected; finally the time came and off they went. There was a hill at the start line and a few hills between many deep muddy left and right 180-degree turns. The Samurai was screaming and the handling was better than expected. The corner that caused so many people to be towed out proved no problem for the lightweight Samurai and powered over the mud with relative ease. As Glenn neared the last corner, he actually caught the slow moving Bronco that must have had problems in the muddy corner. The event was timed and as he passed the finish line the timer recorded 1.29 Min on the windshield. Glenn asked if that was a respectable time, the response was the track record for the day was 1.12 Min. Glenn decided that was fun, and without a vehicle in the way he might be able to improve that time, so back in line he went. The second run was ready and no one was in his way this time, the word was go and the race was on! The Samurai was flying and the mud was too, this time crossed the line at 1.22 Min, not bad for a rig that was driven to the event, not trailered.
The Samurai performed better than expected, nothing big was broken, and they had a blast! Our hats off to the Santiam 4WD Association, the event were well organized, and there were challenges for all levels of 4X4’s. If you’re into MUD, you might give this event a try in 2005. We will see you there!