Truck at PIlot Butte's 2012 mud bog drag race event.

Truck at PIlot Butte’s 2012 third annual mud bog drag race event.

The town of Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan, held its third annual mud event–whatever you’d like to call it–mud bogs, mud drags, mud racing, even mud flings–June 23, 2012. Mud bogs are popular every summer just about the time the temperature is really starting to heat up. People head the spectator stands, or bring their own lawn chairs to the track, then kick back and watch the fun.

Playing in the mud is well…just fun. I have great childhood memories of mud pies and rubber boots that stayed firmly planted in the garden I was trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to cross. My mother remembers incidents I don’t, as she has a picture of me about three or four years old, sitting in a puddle while dressed in a snowsuit, contentedly pouring a soupy mix of mud and water from one tin can to another.

Yes, I like mud.

So, it’s no surprise that I put at least one mud event on my list of must-do things for a Saskatchewan summer. We have plenty to choose from as it seems I’m not the only big kid that didn’t outgrow a love of mud. Although, since the majority of boggers are guys driving high horsepower trucks, I’ll be first to admit there’s more to it that the squelch-squelch of mud between your toes (or tires as the case may be).

Tractor cultivating the mud pits at the 2012 Pilot Butte Mud bog event.

Tractor cultivating the mud pits at the 2012 Pilot Butte Mud bog event.

The pits are long enough to allow a hundred or so people to stand directly along the safety fence. Pilot Butte has two fences, so there’s a safety lane in between spectators and vehicles to ensure there are no encounters of the human-with-machine variety. Pits are prepared by a nearby farmer volunteer who cultivates the pit, while the local fire department adds enough water to make a good soupy mixture that will suck the trucks down.

Most of the mud events also have ATV classes, so quad drivers can compete–these drivers are a lot closer to the mud, so they get to wear a great deal more of it! Pilot Butte draws enough trucks though, that the Saturday event was strictly trucks and ATVs raced on Friday night.

Pilot Butte’s track has two lanes, so the boggers compete in head-to-head racing, whereas some of the events only have a single pit, so it’s timed events. Just when I’d be sure that one lane was “easier” to get through, a truck in the opposite lane would win hands-down, so it seemed the pits were pretty even in mud depth and soupiness.

The trucks (and quads) all compete in classes where they’re evenly matched. There are, as with all forms of racing though, some classes for the super-duper modifieds. Pilot Butte featured a demonstration by Greg Wickenheiser driving his dragster style “rail” machine. Greg is on the executive of the professional association for the sport, the Canadian Mud Racing Organization.

While it only took him a few seconds to make the whole distance of the track, the thunder of his engine couldn’t drown out the cheers of the crowd!