ALTA VISTA — Is there a need to construct a 200-foot long pit of mud and drive turbo-charged trucks and Jeeps with gigantic tires through it as fast as mechanically possible?
Of course not.
But who doesn’t like to get a little dirty every now and then?
Well, during Saturday’s “Boggin’ in the Vista” event in Alta Vista, people didn’t get just “a little” dirty — they got very dirty and incredibly muddy.
Saturday the mud bog was nearly 4 feet deep, and not every truck made it through — not even a military Hummer brought over by Fort Riley’s 1st Sustainment Brigade.
“We love doing it,” said Jason Richardson, a Greeley native who started Kansas Mud Boggers and has run the annual mud bog in Alta Vista the last two years. “We mud race, and people race and try to make it a good family time. We just try to have some fun in the mud.”
Richardson — who also was the announcer during the event — started Kansas Mud Boggers two years ago with his wife, Samantha. KMB travels the region putting on mud bogs and has had as many as a thousand fans in attendance along with 60-plus trucks ready to sling mud.
In Alta Vista, an estimated 200 spectators were in attendance with anywhere from 10-20 trucks.
In the middle of the event, while drivers were changing tires on their trucks and/or Jeeps, organizers had a “people run,” in which spectators were invited to race through the pit on foot.
In the 21-and-over people race, a 30-pack of Busch Light was placed at the end of the pit as extra motivation.
Many squares make up the quilt that is America, and this one is as interesting as the vehicles themselves.
There’s “Shock Top,” a 1987 “super-stock” Chevy pickup owned by Leavenworth’s Marvin Wessel.
“Speed costs money,” Wessel said Saturday afternoon.
“So how fast do you wanna go? It used to be that people would just bring their old stock farm trucks, but not anymore.”
There are also trucks named “Wide Open,” “Mistress,” “Laffy Daffy” and “Lil Red.”
By the way, “Lil Red” isn’t that little.
There’s also “Mud Special,” owned by drag racer turned mud-slinger Perry Hicks.
“Mud Special” is a 1976 Jeep CJ7 and has been tweaked to carry 700 horsepower.
Hicks, who grew up in Manhattan before his family moved to Independence, Mo., after 6th grade, is 64 and retired with a full white beard. He has a look reminiscent of ZZ Top, the Oak Ridge Boys and Santa Claus — but muddier and in a black race suit.
His Jeep has no windshield or windows to block the flying mud — just a roll-cage, and he prefers it that way.
“People help each other out, and there’s a lot of family to it,” said Hicks, who is highly respected among drivers and has been racing for more than 30 years.
“It’s about having fun. You can’t go in worrying about winning.”
In addition to running KMB, Samantha Richardson also races.
On Saturday afternoon, she borrowed Hicks’ “Mud Special” and bested Hicks’ time of 8.536 seconds.
“I’ve had faster runs,” she said. “But I love it. I just have fun playing in the mud.”
Samantha inspired her husband to get KMB going.
“I grew up on a farm and I’d always take the farm truck to the pond to have some fun,” she said.
Jason caught on quickly.
“When we met about 11 years ago — and I hope I don’t get that wrong — I bought an old truck and she said, ‘Hey, put it in the pond,’” he said. “So I did and fell in love and raced for a couple organizations.
“I loved it, and with some backing I opened the Kansas Mud Boggers and have been doing it ever since. It’s something we love, and it’s something a family can go to for $10 — and it’s hard for a family to do that these days.”
For more information on Kansas Mud Boggers, they have a website at http://www.kansasmudboggers.com. The group is also on Facebook.