CalROCS Disney, Ok
Story and photos by Jaime Bacon

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Friday 3:25 PM

Buggies are just starting to arrive en-masse in camp.

Several have already gone out to practice and play in the rockgarden, including Russ Hogan in his latest Hornet creation, now on Unimog Portals and 49” Super Swamper IROKs.

There also appear to be several other rigs with the 49” inch IROKs that may be running.

Friday 4:15 PM

Many Disney newcomers are trying out the infamous Waterfall, seeing exactly what it’s all about.

Friday 5:30 PM

It’s a chaotic scene. More competitors arrived and were getting ready for the next days event. Tires are being scuffed, suspensions checked, and last minute repairs were made.

Friday 7:11 PM

Ken Blume does some last minute checks on his buggy, trying some of the most insane lines that he can find.

Friday 7:15 PM

Troy McDaniel (#98) tries the Waterfall in his CJ. Nearly flopping when taking the wrong line, he found the correct one and managed to climb the Waterfall with no further problems. Troy’s rig was previously built by the former Avalanche shop that is now Poison Spyder Customs. The rig is no longer recognizable as it has since then been rebuilt.

Friday 10:00 PM

Vehicles are still coming in. Several rigs that would be in the XXL class have showed up, and you can hear the sounds of work being done all over the place. If the number of rigs around are any indication of the possible number of competitors, there should be an excellent turnout for this weekend event. The sounds of tools and conversation fill the night air.

Friday 11:45 PM

Rockcrawling regular John Lloyd was put out of the competition early with tranny problems, and to add insult to injury, during a late-night trail run, he was inadvertently injured by an unseen tree branch. Early checks back at camp showed a slight puncture to his eyeball. John left to head for the emergency room in Vinita, OK just to insure there was no further damage.

Friday 12:15 PM

Rigs are slowly making their way back to camp, and everyone is slowly settling down for the night, although you can still hear revving engines and loud conversation.

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Saturday 6:40 AM

Early morning sounds fill the air as camp starts to stir. Lil Rich is already out, setting up the courses for the day’s event.

I asked Lil Rich how Disney compared with other venues, such as Moab and Farmington.

His response: “Disney reminds me of a cross between Farmington (NM) and Fernley (NV). The rocky ledges remind me of Farmington, and the rock garden reminds me of Fernley. There’s no loss of traction, for sure though.”

Saturday 8:54 AM

Brad Littrell and Spotter Matt Mangin get some early morning practice in on the Grand Staircase. Running Sway-A-Way RaceRunner coilover shocks on a Bruiser chassis built by MD Off-Road, the rig flexes quite well. The 39.5 IROKs are also nice and grippy on the Oklahoma granite.

Saturday 10:13 AM

Joe Walker and Erik Altom from Joplin, MO had a great run on course A4 with a near roll (and awesome save) to finish with a score of -16 taking the 20 point bonus line.

Saturday 10:41 AM

Ken Blume and spotter Chuck Carlson finish A4 with a -27, taking the 20 point bonus line.

I asked Ken how the buggy was doing so far.

His response: “The run didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The option line gave me trouble, as I thought it would.”

Saturday 11:48 AM

Course A5 is proving especially difficult, with a DQ by Joe Walker (which was later reversed) and a 40 by Paul Haug. The DQ by Joe Walker came about as he tried the bonus line. With time winding down, and unable to make it, he backed off the line to just finish the course. Sprinting for the gate, he bypassed the regular gate, which he should’ve taken (according to the rules). Since he didn’t, and time was up, he took the DQ, but disputed the ruling. Lil Rich came over, and after some discussion, it was ruled that if you made a valid attempt at the bonus line, but did not make it, you could finish WITHOUT going through the regular gate. This actually ended up helping to keep Joe in the running.

There has alson been some breakage today. In his first rockcrawling event, Derek West broke a rear driveshaft U-joint, and there have also been several broken axles as the sounds of carnage fill the air.

Saturday 12:15 PM

Russ Hogan had a nice flop trying to back down a bonus line on A5. Trying to get in position, his rear end fell off first, followed quickly by the rest of the Hornet.

Click here to see our Disney photo gallery!

Saturday 12:30 PM

Troy McDaniel broke just through the first gate, attempting the first bonus on A5. The welds on his front driveshaft broke at the slip yoke when he came down on it. Tough break for a relative newcomer.

So, I didn’t really get many notes after a four wheeler incident (in which I rolled it), but here are a few notables:

Tom Rawlings broke a hub on A4, but still managed to finish with a negative score.

Dan Gable broke his passenger side ball joints and the knuckle in the same spot. The carnage also took out the axle shaft and u-joint. Luckily (and amazingly) the brake lines, tie rod, and driveshaft were all fine, otherwise he would’ve had to pack up early and go home (which he almost did anyways). A last minute pep talk from Tom Rawlings (and some wrenching help) got Dan back in the game.

And one of the most amazing stories of the weekend, brought to my attention by Big Rich, David Bradford entered his 6-inch lifted, 35 inch tire shod Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in the competition AFTER it had already begun. It seems his fiancé had a *little* something to do with it.

I managed to catch up with David Sunday morning, and the only question I could come up with was: “What the HELL are you thinking?” After some mention of a blond she-devil and showing some sack, this is the story:

“I’ve always wanted to compete, and she basically talked me into it. I came to have some fun and watch some wheelin’, and ended up getting talked into it.”.

His spotter, Jeremy Sanders relayed the story something like this:

“She gave him 200 bucks and said ‘Go do it’.”

So, I went to talk with his fiancé, Brianne Boulter, to get the scoop from her. She pretty much summed it up in one sentence.

“I told him to stop being a chickenshit and show people what it could do.”

Yep, she’s a keeper.

Saturday 10:47 PM

Well, I did it again. I asked Chris “Chrispy” Patrick to take me for a ride on his 40-inch Xterrain-shod buggy. He let me drive. This was not the problem. I drove some easy stuff, not being familiar with the rig and all. Let me say that was easily one of the coolest things I’ve done. After a little playing, I then headed towards the other dams, to show Chrispy the Waterfall and Lil Blue. After playing with the rear steer (very cool), we started to head back to Hogan’s Off-Road Park.

Less than a mile away, driving down one of the roads, the front drive shaft let go (I had switched Chrispy positions, so no, I wasn’t driving). This was problem number one. It also knocked a hole in the oil pan. This was problem number two. So, we hauled ass for camp after picking up the driveshaft and all associated materials.

You’d think finding a 1310 to 1410 drive flange wouldn’t be a problem in a group of about a 1000 people, but it was! So, we booty’d the flange (by welding a strap to it), and they hoped it would hold. Thanks again to Russ Hogan for the welding.

Also, while we were at camp repairing, Ken Blume decided to do a little night run with Steve “YellerBlazer” Sharp and Ken Lamp, and got into a little trouble of his own. Trying the bonus line on A5, Ken not only busted his driveshaft, but also his control arm. This is the same obstacle Joe Walker didn’t make, and Ken didn’t try during his regular run.

After that, it was on to bed.

Click here to see our Disney photo gallery!

Sunday 10:32 AM

Russ Baer and spotter Joe “JoJo” Johnson had a little trouble on B5, high centering while trying to make the first gate. They timed out and had to take a 40.

Across the road, I can see Dan Gable’s Land Cruiser died trying to take the bonus line. He new fuel cell was sucking air and he wasn’t getting any gas.

I can also hear Russ Hogan trying B2 out, and the Hornet is screaming.

Sunday 11:25 AM

Joe Walker hammered it to finish B2 in 2:37, and that included the 20 point bonus line.

Sunday 11:35 AM

The bigger rigs aren’t having nearly as much trouble on B5. Dan Gable finished with only a few backups and Tracy Holland finished with a -2, as he didn’t use his rear steer, and he took the “No Strap” bonus.

Sunday 11:47 AM

Troy McDaniel broke badly on B3. The lower cross-member ripped off the frame, which caused the axle to rotate down and pull the driveshaft apart. During the extraction, his axle rotated further and bent the coilovers.

Sunday 12:15 PM

Tracy Holland punctured his passenger side front tire on B1. Coming out of the water seems to be a problem for the bigger rigs as Dan Gable had to gas it in the same spot.

Sunday 12:20 PM

Derek West spit out the caps on his front passenger side drive shaft. He did the same thing yesterday, but on the driver side. A repair was made in about 6 minutes, but he had to be bypassed as he took just a minute too long.

Sunday 12:45 PM

Ken Blume just got a -12 on B3. Ken and Chuck had an awesome run, with no stops and no backups.

Sunday 1:27 PM

Ken Blume completed B4 in 1:20 with a -19 in a flawless run. He made the course look easy, including the big ledge for the bonus points.

Sunday 1:45 PM

David Bradford finished on a slightly sour note. On B3 (also his last course), his pitman arm broke, ending his run, and his day. Hopefully his fiancé will still marry him.

Sunday 2:20 PM

Tom Rawlings finished B3 with a few points, but he will still win the competition.

A few people I’d like to thank:

Big and Lil Rich.

Matt “My Leg Hurts” Hodges (aka the LakeRat) from West Texas Offroad.

Russ Hogan, our gracious campground host.

Carl Pride for being my ride to and from the event.

Paul Haug and Chris “Chrispy” Patrick for letting me drive their buggy.

Click here to see our Disney photo gallery!