2014 High Lifter Mud Nationals Recap 0

If playing in the mud with the Nation’s best riders and fastest jacked-up mud-slinging equipment is your thing, then High Lifters Mud Nationals would be the event for you. At Mud Creek Park in Jacksonville, Texas during the late days of March you can find the fun just like we do every year. This year’s event was full of great wet sticky mud and over 13,000 happy friends with one common goal of going deep, all while spread out over 4000 acres.

Even with the rainy weather there was no shortage of riders looking to get muddy.

Even with the rainy weather there was no shortage of riders looking to get muddy.

On an overcast Wednesday the park began to come alive as mud maniacs and tough built mud machines of the ATV/UTV kind were rolling into the park from many miles away. The vendor area was full of shuffling feet as the sharpest machines on the property gathered for the Bad to the Bone contest. This first event would take the minds of innovating garage mechanics all over the south and build up incredible show machines. After attending the High Lifter Mud Nationals for several years now we know that anything will show up at this contest and several real “Show Stopping” rides came in with a vengeance. The top honor and the prize of $500 cash went out to an LSU fan named Matt Evans who really went to extremes with his bright yellow and purple 2013 Can-Am Max. The really sleek Polaris RZR XP1000 built by S3 Power sports made the second place spot with a very dark and ominous looking Maverick built by John Bohning rounding out the third spot. This contest seems to grow in a different direction every year and there were more UTVs than ever for 2014.

Matt Evans won the Bad to the Bone contest with his Can-Am Maverick Max.

Matt Evans won the Bad to the Bone contest with his Can-Am Maverick Max.

Just after the big show each of the same contestants gave it their all with the loudest stereo. The Audio Formz Mud Jam was on, and the big sounds of the day could be heard ringing through the tents up on vendors row. This was a very loud event and some recorded decibels topped 120. Top honors went to Cody Alvey in the UTV class and Michael Sharp in the unlimited class. This unlimited machine had over 30 speakers mounted on it and recorded a staggering 121.4 db. Definitely a need for earplugs!

With the threat of heavy rain storms predicted for Thursday it was really unsure if any of the events planned would take place. Mother Nature seemed to plan out the day just right as the rain began to fall just before the Massimo obstacle course could get going, but that did not stop the masses from gathering around the roped off segments to see the action. This obstacle course is becoming a fan favorite for sure. The quick wit of one regular “three wheel” rider makes this entertaining for everyone. His stage name is Joe Dirte’ and he brought the crew to cheer him on for 2014. His trusty Honda three-wheeler seemed like it could die any minute but did just the opposite and thrilled everyone in attendance. There were other riders in the race and each one had to give an absolute shot at each obstacle to be considered a valid contestant. If you went around you would be disqualified. With the rain getting heavier every minute the event went on and the racers gave it all they had. With the best lap clicked off by Seth Russell, the Team Gorilla Axle racing crew celebrated all the way to the safety and dry shelter of the campers to wait out the fury of the wild East Texas storm.

The rain came and unloaded a torent for the true mudders in the park as well as mishandling camper canopies and a few pop-up tents along the way. This would make for a very interesting night and morning. Most, including ourselves, would pack it in for the night until the sun reappeared the next morning, dragging us from the hotel room. While driving our 2004.5 Chevy 2500HD 4X4 through the Mud Creek Off-road Park it was apparent that four-wheel drive was a must. The roads were slick and vehicles had become stuck everywhere. This was Mud Nationals and it was about to get real!

The Endurance Chalenge at the Highline required two riders to cross the mud hole successfully.

The Endurance Chalenge at the Highline required two riders to cross the mud hole successfully.

Racing was on tap for Friday and the Highline would be the place to get things started. The endurance challenge on the Caleb Moore Memorial Highline shook the weak from the fur of this monster. Many entered; yet many would also break or become stuck in the depths of this makeshift river of mud. Getting two teammates from one end to the other and back is the goal. If you want you can ride on one machine or choose to take two. As long as you both come back and do not cross out of the boundaries of the course you were scored a time. Fastest time always wins, but the smartest riders would advise choosing the right line so as not to become traction for the next guy or gal. I guess being last to start would be a very good thing, so you will know where all of the hidden caverns are under the murky waters. Dakota Klein and Dave Ostapiw made the grade and found the fastest route down and back.

There was more racing in store, but you might ask if racing is the only thing to see at the High Lifter Mud Nationals. The answer is no. Many different parts manufacturers bring out incredible products from impressive lighting to very elaborate stereo systems. The High Lifter tent in the main vendor area has many of their great products for those who may break their machines during their five days at the park. There are also many things to eat at the park including incredible Cajun-style items. The bacon wrapped shrimp or turkey legs would fill the voids until dinnertime.

Manufacturers were on hand at the High Lifter Mud Nationals for demos rides.

Manufacturers were on hand at the High Lifter Mud Nationals for demos rides.

Many ATV and UTV manufacturers were also on hand, including Can-Am with a full rig dedicated to just gear for your ride or yourself. The demo rides kept the second of three big rigs at the Can-Am hill rolling while just across the road Yamaha owned a piece of the property, fixing many machines for park riders to keep the excitement going.

The High Lifter Mud Nationals are not just for burly dudes in waders.

The High Lifter Mud Nationals are not just for burly dudes in waders.

The High Lifter Mud Nationals is an incredible event and one that you need to make at least once in your life. The mud is deep and the park is huge, but with things like a late Friday evening Freestyle show and concerts with big artists like Uncle Cracker you are bound to have a good time. If you want to compete in the Mudda Cross or the straight-line mug bog then just get with Clay Wylie of the Championship Mud Racing series and sign. This is the biggest ATV/UTV mud event in this United States of America so we hope to see you there in 2015!

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