What an event! The Mud Nationals has been going on the better part of 12 years. Originally, the event was held in Jacksonville, TX. This year, the event was held in Blevins, Arkansas – for the first time. Mud Nationals has long been held as the premier location and event for manufacturers to debut new mud focused equipment to the many hordes of ATV and UTV enthusiasts that come out to the hollers and backcountry to get a little dirty. This is not simply off-roading – it is an event completely based on that slippery, slick, and thick substance that is created when you mix water with dirt and let it stew for a little while – MUD. The superiority of one’s machine and upgraded parts to get through the thickest of stickiest situations are what bring a level of competition to every inch of the event venue.
There are events within this grand spectacle like the Bounty Hole Mud Grudge, where contestants enter a man-made trough dug into the ground with varying depths between 3 feet and 6 feet and filled to the brim with mud and contestant are timed to determine the fastest. While the quickest and smoothest run is usually the rider who takes home the prize money, the crowd is also there to watch the display of unique skills that it takes to maneuver an ATV through the sludge and there is certainly an aspect of best show wins bragging rights. So, it’s a “go big or go home” sort of situation. Another event is the Mud Cross event. Keeping with the theme of mud induced excitement, this event is more of a heads-up competition and stages two competitors against one another and has them tear through a course usually between 2 and 4 feet deep that takes on more of a short course style of track. Keep in mind, the racers are still knee deep and then some in mud, so, it never winds up being as simple as being the fastest around a track and keeping the line you want. It quickly becomes a race of attrition and racers find it difficult to even finish. On Wednesday, there was an epic game of UTV soccer and Thursday the acclaimed “Bad 2 Da Bone – After Dark” event – formerly known as “Show ‘n shine.” Entrants get the chance to show off the truly out of this world, intricate upgrades and over the top sound systems and bling they’ve added to their machines. The majority of what is gained in this event are bragging rights, but the crowd voted winner does get to take home the big prize of $1000!
There was much debate as to how well the event turnout was going to be considering the change of venue. There was an impressive number of participants overall. Driving the long road from the entrance to the vendor area showcased nearly 1000 RV’s and tents – and that doesn’t include the remaining that took up residence in the “back 40” that contained probably the same amount of RV’s and tents.
Location: Hillarosa ATV Park. Recently renovated to accommodate the amount of UTV’s and ATV’s that were going to be attending the Mud Nationals.
Area: There’s pretty much nothing in that area. The town of Blevins itself is quite small. In fact, it’s a one stop light kind of town. But goodness there was a great number of locals not only took part in the frivolities but also were out there trying to gather business from out of towners by selling homemade baked treats like local honey and jam. Otherwise, Hope, AK wasn’t far, and Texarkana was about 45 minutes from the venue.