Over 1,400 people from as far afield as Durango, Montrose, Grand Junction, Cedaredge and Glenwood Springs showed up to play in the mud in their 4x4s and watch others do so. The fest was jointly sponsored by the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re excited to see this muddy baby grow in the next few years,” said Kat Papenbrock, OCRA Operations Manager and a key Mud Fest organizer.
The day was punctuated with high-flying aerial demonstrations by the Mobile FMX team and nonstop announcing provided by Thunder Mountain race track. Mud volleyball, mud horseshoes and mud tug of war events rounded out the day of fun.
But the biggest draws of the day were the high-octane mud run and 4x4 obstacle courses. OCRA Board of Directors President Brandi Ross reported that altogether, there were 46 registrants between the two events.
Locals dominated in the obstacle course, which was a timed competition. First place in the stock division for the obstacle course went to local Dave Turner in a Jeep YJ. Next division was 32"-33" tires with first place also being taken by a local, Bruce Gulde, in his 98 Jeep TJ. The next class was 35" - 37" tires, with Rob Megna of Ouray taking the best time.
“We also had a fantastic group of rock crawlers participate, with Craig Ross, from Rockworx in Montrose, showing off for the crowd and catching some air during the first runs on the course,” Ross said.
The mud run was both a timed competition for the 8" trench and a distance competition for the 36" trench. First place in the 38" and above tire class for the mud run was Jeremiah Wilson, who made it 105' in the 36" trench in a Dodge truck. First place in the stock division for the mud run was Buck Soefler, who made through the 8" trench in 10.62 seconds.
Ross reported that the feedback from Mud Fest’s participants was “amazingly positive” regarding the 4x4 courses.
“Many of them did not expect the detail and challenge of both the mud runs and obstacle course,” she said. “Chris Miller and Bob Ross spent many hours designing, reviewing and revising the course until they felt it would meet the expectations of our 4x4 enthusiasts. They were assisted by an incredible team of volunteers and county employees. Congratulations to all involved on building an awesome playground for the participants!”
Ross also praised the volunteerism of the Wild Bunch 4x4 Club out of Montrose. “Several of their members stood out on the course the entire day with stop watches and measuring tapes,” she said.