- Associated Press - Saturday, August 20, 2016

AFTON, Va. (AP) - Emily Riddle watched excitedly from behind a safety fence as her husband Alan Riddle sat behind the wheel of their old red pick-up truck with two of their children on a hot Saturday in Nelson County.

Greenville resident Alan Riddle revved the engine as a “stars and bars” flag rippled in the wind in the bed of the truck and a 50-foot lane of mud lay before him.

An attendant waved a dirty green flag and Riddle took off into the mud. His time from one end to the other was about 10 seconds.

Many more trucks, sport utility vehicles and other vehicles of varying ages plowed through mud for the Rockfish Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s monthly “Pit of Dreams” Mud Bog.

A mud bog is a competition between various types of vehicles, including big trucks, which are driven through a large mud pit. The drivers attempt to avoid becoming stuck. There are various classes of vehicles - stock, modified stock, four- and six-cylinder classes, X and XX, women’s and kids’ classes and several department of transportation classes.

Fire Department President E.G. Pannell said the department hosts the mud races every second Saturday from April to October.

The revenue from the event goes to the Fire Department except for one Saturday in October where the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Pannell said they generate a couple thousand dollars a month.

“We typically get 300 to 500 people but today it was hot . so people were out here earlier, less now,” he said.

All the labor and equipment to dig out some of the trucks that do get stuck is donated.

The truck drivers come from all over, some from West Virginia, North Carolina and northern Virginia.

“They’ve had a ball so they keep coming back,” Pannell said referring to the driver from West Virginia.

Staunton resident Kim Myrtle came to the mud bog to support her cousin Chris Charron who was racing a Chevrolet Camaro through the mud. She and her friends estimated that he had the only car going through the mud.

For Emily Riddle, she said it’s a family event. Her family started coming last year and has been to every mud bog since then.

“It’s a good family event and supports the fire department,” she said.

Her nephew, 7-year-old Colton Riddle, of Stuarts Draft, sat under the shade of tent next to Emily Riddle. He said it was fun going through the mud in a truck.

When looking around the tent, Emily Riddle pointed out a majority of her cousins, nephews and nieces had done a “run” in the mud pit that day.

The truck her husband used was an old junk truck they bought for the motor before they even heard of the mud bogs, she said.

“The tires cost more than the truck,” she said.

She added her daughter was in the kids’ class this year but would have to be in the women’s class next year.

“I might have to drive next year,” Riddle said.


Information from: The News & Advance, https://www.newsadvance.com/

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