Thousands expected at mud-bogging event

mud-bog-bBy Jaime Thomas

Thousands of oversized vehicles are expected to descend upon Whitehall this weekend as part of the Mettowee Off Road Extreme NAMRO Mud Drag event.

This year will be Whitehall’s first time hosting the event, which has previously been held elsewhere. When it was canceled at another mud park, NAMRO, the North American Mud Racing Organization, asked Mettowee owner Ralph Jameson II if he would host.

“We were approached by a company that wanted to hold an event here, and we decided we’d try it out. We expect there to be between three and four thousand people here,” Jameson said. The company that is organizing the event with him told him to expect mud bog enthusiasts from near and far, including about 1,000 from Canada.

The main event will take place along a flat mud track, where vehicles of up to 2,000-horsepower will race along a 25-foot-wide, 200-foot-long strip followed by 450 feet of shutdown. Jameson said the driver with the best time will win, and he expects there to be $6,000 in payouts and trophies, as well.

He said the trucks are normal-sized vehicles that have been modified with such features as bigger tires and bigger engines. And there will be other activities as well, like a normal track for all types of vehicles and a mud-wrestling pit, which he described as more of a spectator sport. As part of the mud park, Jameson said there are all types of terrain from beginner to extreme, including hill climbs, rock crawls and other trails.

The company helping to organize the event has already marked out the track and prepared it for the weekend, and Jameson said it’s “nice and soft.” He expects to draw a large crowd and therefore generate revenue for businesses in both Whitehall and Granville. And this isn’t the only competition he will hold this season.

“There will be elimination derbies all summer, and we will be making donations to the local fire departments and rescue squads,” he said, adding that he hopes to give money away after this event as well. “We hope to generate something that will benefit everyone,” he said.

Jameson, who opened his park in 2009, said people who like outdoor sports will enjoy this weekend’s event.

“Off-road wheeling is becoming a fast-growing sport. People like to get out and play. There’s nothing like getting out with your vehicle and playing all day,” he said.

Because a large crowd is expected, Jameson encourages local participants to carpool to the event, and those interested in camping at one of the 141 campsites are encouraged to arrive early. Camping will cost $10 per night for tents and $20 per night for RVs. The fee for the races is $25 for a driver and truck and $20 for spectators. For more information or to help with security contact Jameson at 518-708-4337.

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