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Saturday competition features ‘tough trucks’ built for thrills, mudding

‘Yeah, I built that’

Posted: June 10, 2011 - 8:23am
M. Scott Moon
Eric Pruett is the owner of NorthWest Customs and is one of the organizers of this weekend’s Kenai Peninsula Tough Truck competition at Twin Cities Raceway. He said he might get his 700-horsepower 2007 Ford F-350 dirty during the event.

Huntre Lamb grew up using his hands.

“If my chain fell off my bike, my grandpa, my mom and my dad would be like, ‘Alright, you need to figure out how to put it back on — I’ll show you once,’” said the 26-year-old Soldotna resident.

He liked that, for the most part. But, it wasn’t until a fishing trip with his older brother that Lamb found he’d rather put his hands under the hood of a truck.

On that trip, the two brothers got the truck they were driving through the backwoods stuck three times.

“At this point I didn’t really care about fishing, I was just encouraging it on because I wanted to go wheeling,” he said.

But, they only made it out twice.

Going through a river, pushing water up to the windshield, the truck bent a piston and the fun was over. But, a passion developed in Lamb.

“That right there was my big encouragement on getting into it was that whole experience,” he said. “We took it home, tore the whole motor down and rebuilt the whole thing in our driveway — no garage or nothing — in the middle of winter.”

Lamb spent most of Wednesday in his driveway, too. He wasn’t repairing his truck, but rather getting it ready for the third annual Kenai Peninsula Tough Truck competition, which will be hosted Saturday at the Twin Cities Raceway circle track.

The event will feature a variety of competitions for trucks, side-by-sides and ATVs, the main attraction being a side-by-side mud track race with time trials divided into four classes.

It’ll be Lamb’s first time competing in such an event, officially.

“I’ve never been in a dragster before, but I’ve obviously ... lined up toe to toe with a buddy in a swamp,” he said with a laugh. “I imagine this event is going to be something like that but we are trying to make it something to where you can make it through the pit.

“Being a time trial we pretty much want to see mud flying up in the air and get the crowd riled up.”

He and friend Eric Pruett, the 25-year-old owner of NortWest Customs in Soldotna, will likely go head-to-head in the competition.

But, Pruett said he is all right with that.

“He has been hiding some stuff from me and I got a Jeep I’ve been stashing away, so we’ll see,” he said Thursday inside his store.

Saturday’s competition will be Pruett’s first official mud race, but not his first time hanging around other tough truck competitors.

“Back home in Washington we used to do these rallies and stuff,” he said. “The rallies were different because it was just a bunch of hillbillies. We’d all get together drinking beer and you’d have a couple hundred people at a little mud event in a back yard.”

“With this one, we are taking the old school … back yard mud trucking and kind of combine it into a race slash actual organized event.”

Gates open at the Tough Truck event at 4 p.m. Cost is $8 for general admission, seniors and kids are $5, and kids under 5 get in for free.

“The tough truck is such a universal name for what we are doing, but if everything goes as planned it is going grow and we can see some pretty cool stuff out of it,” Pruett said. “The initial plan was just to give the younger crowd something to see and something to do.”

Lamb hopes the competition will provide a few thrills similar to those he has found out in the wilderness with his rig.

“It is just a rush to go somewhere in a full-sized rig and go out there and have a good time with your friends and get stuck and bust out the wenches,” he said. “You know, who can go the furthest, longer and faster without breaking something? It is a challenge every time you go out.

“Either you are going to pop a tire, blow a motor up, toast a tranny or break a driveline. You’ve got to have your mind set in the right direction when you go out and do this stuff.”

Pruett agreed.

“Guys want to get dirty — it is what it comes down to,” he said. “So they usually bring out these trucks that you’ve never seen around town because a lot of them are hidden back yard toys and it’s a unique thing. You go to car shows and you get to see unique cars and you go to shows like these to see things you’ve not normally seen before.”

Lamb said he and his wife, Jhasmine, who organized the event, have been encouraging as many people as they can to participate in the event.

“If you’ve even got a two-inch lift on your truck with 33s then bring it out and tear it up,” he said.

Tearing it up at the track or in the woods is only just a small part of the tough truck appeal, Lamb said.

“You break something and you go home and you build it up bigger and better and you go out the next weekend and you do it all over again,” he said.

The cycle can be almost addictive, he added.

“There’s guys that go to the extent where they do nothing but spend money on their rigs and every time they get paid they are dumping hundreds or thousands of dollars into these rigs,” he said.

But, what makes Lamb proud is seeing the fruits of his labor climbing rocks, crossing rivers, racing through mud pits or even just parked in the driveway.

“A lot of people don’t put a lot of pride into anything anymore,” he said.

“… I actually like finishing something. I do carpentry and I’m an electrician and I like to step back and look at my work and be like,

‘Yeah, I built that.’”

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radiokenai 06/12/11 - 06:32 am
Enjoy it while you can!

If you read the some of the letters in the opinions section, you will notice there are a few liberals who want to take something away because they are too unskilled or too lazy to get involved themselves. And they certainly dont want you to have all the fun! So they just sit in their backyard with their cheap beer and complain to the borough that you are too noisy on the racetrack!

spwright 06/12/11 - 11:50 am
Play in Your Own Mud Hole

Sun. 6/12/11
Yes Alaskans are a Free People & they should be allowed to have Fun .

But having a Huge Monster Truck or a 4 Wheeler does NOT
entitle You to destory everything that You touch.

You do not have the right to Tear the Hell outta everywhere that You Drive & then do nothing to repair the damage.

So purchase the land that You are about to destory with your toys then Go Play in Your Own Mud Hole.

SPW "Airborne"

akdave 06/12/11 - 11:56 am
Play in your own mud hole

Poor SP must have been splashed by one of those big trucks the last time it rained, poor baby. I'll bet anyone ten bucks that if SP were trapped out in the wilderness he would gladly accept a ride from someone on an ATV or driving a mudder, and probably not even offer to pay for the gas to rescue his whining backside.

steelhorse 06/12/11 - 03:57 pm
I agree with SPW

Hey have fun but not at anyone else's or the environments expense.

Fact is that quite a few off roaders have little to no consideration for what their tearing up and once it's done, it's over without human intervention or nature takes many years to recover.

Of course those who disagree feel entitled to destroy whatever it is they feel like, it's all about what they want.

Tell you what, let me take my ATV into your yard and play for a few hours like these guys do, then let me know what you think after that! LOL

I've witnessed their destruction and it's always no one's fault "they didn't know".

radiokenai 06/12/11 - 03:59 pm

You can tell by his comment that he is just the liberal type I am talking about. He misses the part where they are in competition at the racetrack event, and gets all demanding because they want to mudbog down a muddy powerline.

So, the grounded airborne wants to take it all away...

radiokenai 06/12/11 - 04:05 pm

Be very careful who you agree with. You may want to read some of his other foolish liberal comments before you jump on his broken down bandwagon.

I agree they shouldn't rip up good forest and streams, but gravel pits...powerlines....old seismograph trails...and heaven forbid fair game!

Before you hop on the liberal band wagon that old dingbat is pushing...maybe find out some more details first?

BigRedDog 06/13/11 - 05:51 am
Loud is too Loud

I talked to our Borough Mayor emeritus, for you dirt bikers that means the elder statesman of our Borough; Stan Thompson. Mr Stan's father homesteaded the Thompson Park subdivision. He is not pleased with what has happened to his fathers old digs. It is his opinion that it should be changed. He said the forefathers of this City and Borough did not know that in 2011 anyone living in the area would be required to Declare by Notice the racetracks location or face litigation in a property sale. This is not some figment of imagination, but a strict legal requirement in property sales. Why would it be required by law if the track truly isn't a nuisance noise generator. So there is no high ground where the track users have rights to subject local residents to this kind of harm. The motor cross folks stole their way into the track and have caused great harm to all unknowing local residents. I do believe they are keeping their fingers crossed that the truth does not upset to many locals. The racers claim equity in nearly $1,000,000. worth of dirt the city of Kenai has hauled over from dredging the city dock area. We have paid for the trucks hauling it and stood the traffic and damages to our road system. Were you aware your tax dollars were paying for this transportation? So we have a group of thieves that stole their way in through the backdoor squatted in a greenbelt area and started making house. Then regardless of complaints that their actions are impolite, immoral, and against the law seem hell bent to stay. Never mind that they cause harm to the normal legal use of neighboring property, drive down land value, now they hide their heads in the sand about the health risks this noise has been proven to have on the general population at large! It can cause you health risks to be subjected to this continuing Nuisance Noise, NN. The stock cars just took up the use of mufflers, gee I wonder if the locals complaining in the paper had anything to do with that? Go online and inform yourself of the health risks associated with this type of NN. Back in 1972 the EPA had just started and had no information about the harmful affects this type of NN causes the public. It is a natural trigger for hyper tension HP, it raises your blood pressure even if you don't know it! So with 20% of the population over 50 having HP, that says is you will be causing significant health damage to the general public at large. If you can hear it it has a chance of causing you harm. Well folks we don't use lie soap anymore do we? We keep harmful chemicals from contaminating our soil and water. But for what ever reason the local powers that be refuse to look at the rest of the story and see that our EPA has said this activity will cause harm. The other part shows just how ruthless these folks are in their zeal to ride. They don't seem to mind that it causes economic harm to the rest of the folks in the neighborhood, and their recreational activity does not trump due cause!! We are not talking about a helicopter pad for emergency flights. We are talking about a very loud noisy form of recreation that has been chased out of neighborhood after neighborhood because they cause harm! This violates the City code, which calls for the local government to protect the local property and land owners from this type of dimunision of property value and rights. So we have a Gov. that shows disregard for the general public safety at large, you see that is what is called when you ignore the EPA. Yes that is right, we are talking a willful disregard for public safety. You see those folks will find another place to ride, this is not the end of the line for them. But it seems they have the attitude to say screw you local residents we don't care that it harms you we are having FUN! And they can say that no problem, but for our local GOV to say such things leaves another door open for litigation. Yea that is right, if this is not thrown out the local Borough and City coffers will be open for a raid!! You see there is the reckless disregard thing the Bor has in it's regs that leaves them liable for charges. So I hope you are all happy with the nice mess Borough Mayor Carey's pet project has left on our local community.

spwright 06/13/11 - 06:34 am
The Source of the Problem

Mon. 6/13/11
Just need to share the Source of My Problem with Monster Trucks & 4-Wheelers.

Many years ago, a young cowboy driving a large Chevy Pick-Up Truck decided that He had the right drive his vehicle right thru my front yard. Not only did he do that once, he did it over
& over again. He was driving all over our neighborhood & numerous witnesses to this event. I attempted to Stop Him by standing in my driveway & shouting at him over the engine noise. He chose to just drive around me.
The next time around, I was forced to use a weapon to stop this from happening again & again. This Teenage Cowboy's 1st response was " I didn't do It"
Finally the Police arrived to investigate the event. Again He stated "I Didn't Do It" Many neighbors stopped to speak with the Police Officer & share what they had witnessed.
Then the Father arrived & threatened to Beat My Ass to which I responded with "See Ya in Court along with dozens of witnessess"
The Young Cowboy spent many many hours using shovels & a rake attempting to repair the damage He had caused.

So that's my experience with Boy's & Their Toys & Why I Believe They should be required to PURCHASE the Land that they are about to destory.

Thanks for Listening SPW "Airborne"

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