It was close to 30 years ago, but there used to be what they called "mud hops" up in the town of Tasley. What's a mud hop you ask? It's pretty much what it sounds like. A bunch of people dig a large pit in the middle of a field, spray a few thousand gallons of water into it, and try to drive their trucks through one at a time. There are different classes based on tire sizes and vehicle mods, but the end goals are all pretty much the same. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?
I was only 4 or 5 years old when the mud hops were held up in Tasley, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. My dad was in charge of one of the tow trucks responsible for pulling out the trucks that got stuck. This meant I had one of the best seats in the house, on top of the wrecker's hood. Sitting there with an ice cold Coke in one hand, a snack cake in the other, watching the competitors trying to plow their way through several feet of mud, I didn't think I could ever have more fun. Except for the sailor hat. I was pretty fair skinned, so I always had to wear this ridiculous sailor's hat that came down over my ears. It was embarrassing even for a 5 year old. I was so happy the day my dad handed me my own child-sized Coor's Light hat. I wore that hat until it was too small to fit on my head.
As much as I loved watching the trucks drive through the mud pit, I think I enjoyed it even more when they got stuck. That meant I got to ride with my dad and "help" him pull them out. It was a fascinating process, full of cables, levers, and dangerous looking machinery. We never failed to pull someone out, and we never got stuck. As cool as it was riding in the wrecker, I was always jealous of the people that got to ride in the tank. That's right, a tank. The National Guard brought one of their tanks along, and they would use it to pull out a truck every now and then. I want to say it even got stuck once, and it took a couple of tow trucks to pull it out, but I might just be making that up. Sadly, after a few years interest waned or the property was sold, and they stopped holding the mud hops.
That all changed last fall, when the Exmore Moose Lodge held their first "Muddin' at the Moose" event. It was hugely popular, and it appears that they're going to make it a regular thing now. So when I found out they were having another mud hop this past weekend, I knew I had to make it out there. I also made sure I took a bunch of pictures to show off.
As you can see, there's a common theme among the vehicles. 98.7% of them were pickups, with a couple of oddballs thrown in. Some of them had bodies that looked like they were just rolled out of a showroom, while others looked like they were leftovers from a 50 car pileup. Regardless of how they looked going in, all of them came out the same way; caked from tire to top with mud.
One thing about a mud hop, as the day goes on, the holes just get messier and deeper. Most of the drivers hooked up a tow rope before they started, otherwise they would have to tromp waist deep through mud to attach the rope to their hitch. They didn't come there to get muddy, they just came there to drive. I was particularly fond of the truck above, mainly because it looks like the first truck I owned. This one just has a lot more engine and the tires are slightly bigger than the ones I had on my S-10.
A few trucks had some pretty elaborate paint jobs, such as "Mud Mistress" up there. Someone spent a lot of time and money, only to have it covered the second it left the starting line. Some of these guys spend a lot of time and money building these rigs, and in most cases, it was just for that one day. After that, they'll put on some old tires and push it back into the woods or the garage until the next event. Still, it's nice to see folks take pride in their work, when most people around here tend to half-ass everything.
One of coolest vehicles out there was this jacked up Camaro. It was one of my favorites, but I think that's mainly due to the fact I owned a Hot Wheels monster truck that looked exactly like it. As crazy as the car looked, it was one of the few in its class to actually make it all the way through the pit. It took a few seconds, and it was spraying plumes of mud 50 feet in the air, but they made it.
Since it's pretty hard to convey all the noise and energy that goes on at one of these events, I actually took a couple of crappy quality videos to share with you folks.
I've never been much of a gearhead, but there's just something about hearing and feeling the amount of power some of these trucks are putting out. Some of these guys are pushing 1000+ hp, which is why they tend to just skip across the water, rather than sinking into it.
It was a great time, and if you ever get the chance to attend a mud hop, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't like it, look on the bright side; at least you'e not the guy that has to clean up afterwards.