Stuck In The Mud: Mudding becomes popular at Northwood

Tires buried in the mud, the wheels are spinning, but the truck does not move. The driver throws the truck into four-wheel drive, the tires catch and the truck slowly crawls out of the pit of mud.

“I like to take four-wheelers and trucks out into big mud holes; I don’t know why it gives [me] pleasure,” junior Grayson Bryant said.

Mudding is a sport that involves taking trucks and other off-road vehicles, like dirt bikes and four-wheelers, through pits or patches of mud, commonly referred to as “mud bogs.”

“I don’t really know why running through mud is fun, it just is,” junior Aaron Roberson said. “It’s fun tearing stuff up.”

Bryant considers mudding a practice of freedom and spirituality.

“It’s really just more of the freedom, just going back in the woods and tearing up mud holes. It’s fun, and it has a sense of freedom because you go out there and you have fun and you do whatever you want out there because you’re in the woods,” Bryant said. “When you’re in the woods you become closer with yourself. It’s like a spiritual enlightenment.”

Mudding can be dangerous if not practiced right. Senior Bella Chevalier found this out firsthand.

“If you’re not wearing the right protective [gear] like I wasn’t, you can obviously get hurt pretty bad. I flipped a four-wheeler over myself twice, breaking [two] bones in my leg,” Chevalier said.

There are often close calls in mudding.

“I was on a dirt bike and I ran into a log and my dirt bike went sideways and fell on top of me. I almost burned my leg on the tailpipe,” Roberson said.

Sometimes, mudding is not executed in an off-road vehicle.

“My Ford Fusion has even seen a mud hole or two,” junior Matt Johnson said.

Johnson said his mudding opportunities are usually impulse decisions, and since he usually drives his Fusion, that is what he muds in.

“I had all the guys in the back [of my Fusion]. They were all telling me to hit the mud hole. I took off at the stoplight, hit the mud hole; mud is flying everywhere, slinging on the side of the Fusion,” Johnson said. “I get up on the highway and take off; the Fusion’s unstoppable.”

Mudding isn’t always a solitary sport; there are many competitions every year. Lee County Mud Motor Sports Complex (LCMMC) is one popular local mud-racing track. The complex holds mud races every Saturday from March though November. Races start at 8 a.m., with multiple classes of trucks that can be raced.

Mud racing is an off-road motorsport carried out in vehicles equipped to overcome harsh muddy terrains and mud pits. The winner of every monthly LCMMC race wins $10,000.

Another popular mudding location that allows mudders to enjoy themselves individually or in a group setting is the ATV park Busco Beach. Busco is over 2,000 acres and contains multiple ponds, mud pits and drag strips.

Although there are many competitions and events for mudding, many people find themselves going anywhere they can find a lot of space.

“I really just look for a place with a lot of woods, hopefully not on someone’s land. That’s when people start to get a little twitchy, when you get on their land and start tearing mud holes up,” Bryant said. “Rule of the woods is to respect people’s boundaries and land. You also need to be able to know where you are and how to get back, that’s something you always need to look out for; you don’t want to get lost out there.”

Bill McPhilemy and Greyson Willard