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OPINION: Mud bogging - it's Yuba-Sutter
The rush lasted 13 seconds for Jimmy Vasquez, a perfect cocktail of power and acceleration and noise. He cranked the steering wheel, stomped on the gas and let all else melt away as he drove his '75 Chevy truck through a gigantic pit of slop.
Stress, gone. Everyday pressures, nonexistent. The work week, a million miles from the 24-year-old's thoughts. In this moment, this unabashedly country-boy moment, he was king. The crowd roared. The exhaust blared. The Super Swamper tires on his black pickup struggled for traction and his right foot started to cramp from flooring it so dang hard, yet he was in nirvana.
All because, in 13 seconds, he made it though a muddy hole without getting stuck.
"The adrenaline ...," the Yuba City resident said, "nothing else does it for me."
Behold the mind of a mug bogger at the Yuba-Sutter Fair Saturday.
Once a year, they come en masse to the fairground's grandstand arena to drive through a 120-foot long, 4-foot deep (though nobody knows for sure) pool of wet dirt. It's what they do, and they make no apologies for how ridiculous the premise is.
In theory, it's mind-numbingly sophomoric: Take car, depress accelerator, try to not get stuck. Most do though. So what the nearly 2,000 people, who showed up for the fair's mud bogs and tuff trucks show got was a few seconds of unmuffled V-8 baritone followed by the sight of a John Deere backhoe towing out a now mud-clogged Silverado/F-Series/Jeep Wrangler.
But nobody seemed to mind. In fact, getting stuck was celebrated. Making it was akin to hitting a walk-off grand slam. Because, at the end of the day, this event is purely, deliciously, Yuba-Sutter. And the competitors agreed.
"Absolutely," they said.
We're country, ag, rural. We fly these characteristics with pride. This area's full of orchards and four-wheel drive pickup trucks. Off-roading is natural. It's why the 48 drivers who entered Saturday had no qualms about getting dirty and busting up their rides.
"Most of these kids do this stuff at the river bottoms anyway," said Tim Thomas of TNT Motorsports, the company promoting the event. "This is a truck area, you do this (event) in Sacramento and you'd get half as many people."
Caleb Gibson and James Clontz, a pair of local teenagers, both got stuck in their daily drivers. Mud was everywhere, including the engine bay on both pickups. The suspensions sagged under the weight. One's a welder and another a logger. If they break down, they'll need a ride to work. Their attitude: Who cares?
Darrel Anderson made it through in his F-350, but blew a $700, monster-sized tire in the process. His attitude: Who cares?
This is their sport. You have golf, they have suspension breaking, drive-shaft dislodging, ear-splittingly loud mud bogging. The winner got around $300 bucks and a trophy with flames on it, but winning wasn't paramount. Camaraderie trumped competition.
"It's just a way to relieve stress," said 20-year-old Brooke Newman after washing off her pant legs under a spigot.
She was filthy, everyone was.
After Vasquez and his Chevy waded out, he hopped into the bed of his lifted single cab and gazed into the grandstands. There were families, teenagers texting, young kids plugging their ears and grandparents eating corn dogs.
All ages, all backgrounds, all types of people congregating in the name of speed and mud.