Whitehorse gearheads will get their fix with the mud bogs in Whitehorse on July 21, located at the mud bogs course beside the motocross track off of Robert Service Way. The annual competition has been happening for decades and lets Yukoners show off their custom lift trucks and roaring engines with two parts: the “hoods up” portion at 11 a.m, where spectators can check out trucks and meet the drivers; and the races, when the first flag drops at 12 p.m. The event is a family-friendly affair that is the result of a handful of volunteers who put it together each year.
Tamara Fischer is one of a group of four main organizers who get things set year-round. They are joined by a group of 15 to 20 more, during the day of the event, to keep things going smoothly. According to Fischer, the competition has stayed the same for the past few years, with different categories and standard rules to the contest.
“You can compete if you have a driver’s licence,” Fischer said. “So [we have competitors] as young as that and then into their 50s and 60s.
“We have three different tire classes—33 inches and under, 34 to 37 inches, and 38 inches and up.”
The competition itself takes place in a mud pit that stretches the length of the mud-bogging area. Two trucks are paired in each heat and race to get through the pit. Ten stakes are lined down the middle of the course and each racer gets a score out of 10, based on where they make it.
“It’s a race, a points race,” Fischer explained. “They line up and the flag drops. The first one out of the pit gets the full ten points. Flag girls count the score.”
The second truck is given a score that coincides with the peg they were at when the first truck exits the pit. Each truck competes in three heats and the winners of the first rounds are matched up in the second rounds. They keep going until everyone has a chance to go three times.
While attendance can change, depending on the weather, the event always draws a substantial crowd. “[The crowd has] been as low as one-thousand and as many as three-thousand,” Fischer said. “It’s weather-dependent and weekend-dependent.
“We have chosen to run on the Dawson City Music Festival weekend. Last year was a trial run, but it’s working out.”
The organizers have also aimed to make the event a family-friendly experience. They’ve created a kids’ area with activities for children. In the past, the area has had distractions, such as face painting, a bean bag toss, a sandbox with toy trucks and cars, and colouring books. Similar options will be organized again, according to Fischer, as well as a possible appearance of a new feature, a mini mud pit. It’s not yet confirmed, but Fischer has been trying to make it happen, so stay tuned.
They also have a concession, run by the group, which will feature smokies from the hot dog stand from Main St. and Third Ave, pizza from Pizza 73, and other snacks. They also have a fully manned first aid station to respond to any injuries.
The three main mud bog groups are based in Whitehorse, Dawson and Inuvik, according to Fischer. Drivers are recruited mostly from the Whitehorse area, but sometimes there are guest drivers.
“Generally speaking, the Whitehorse guys get ready for here and Dawson, the Dawson guys do Dawson, and we’ve yet to see the Inuvik guys, but all three groups are welcome,” she said. “We’ve also seen guys from Teslin and Watson Lake. And four years ago, we had trucks from Alberta.”
And while she uses “guys” to describe the drivers, it’s not only men getting into these trucks. There are a couple of lady drivers who compete, and one of them won the 2017 Crowd’s Choice award, according to Fischer.
There are no real limits on who can enter, the only requirement being that the driver holds a valid driver’s licence. “If you think your truck can do it, and have your driver’s licence, you can try,” Fischer said with a laugh. “We have two new drivers this year, and possibly a third. A couple of the older guys are getting near to being done with it and we need fresh ‘meat’ and fresh engines.”
For more information, to volunteer, or to sign up if you think your truck has what it takes, find them on their main information feed on Facebook under Whitehorse Mud Boggs.