Mud flies at bog

August 29, 1999

Mud BogBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photos: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

BROWNSVILLE - Man and machine met mud head-on Sunday as truck after truck plunged into pudding-thick clay for a Brunswick, Md., fire company's fund-raiser.

From 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., street-legal and souped-up trucks with oversized tires lined up to drive as far as possible into a 300-foot long mud track known as "the pit." A steel cable hooked to heavy farm equipment helped pull out the ones that got stuck.

[cont. from front page]

Spectators steadily streamed onto the private farm near Pleasant Valley Elementary School throughout the morning and afternoon. More than 500 dotted a hill overlooking the makeshift arena, many on blankets or lawn chairs.


"We just love the mud bog," said Lester Line. The 63-year-old Hagerstown resident and his wife, Jane, sat inches away from the orange safety fence. "It's just fun to watch 'em tear up that mud."

Sitting under a pastel umbrella, Mary Leopold said she wasn't very interested in trucks or mud. "I get more of a kick out of watching the people," she said.

Mud BogThe Pleasant Valley Frog Eye Mud Bog is the Brunswick Volunteer Fire Co.'s biggest moneymaker, according to President Charles Leopold, Mary Leopold's son. The company is trying to build a new station.

The bog annually brings in as much as $40,000 with a profit of about $18,000, said organizer Freda Leopold, wife of the company president. Visitors paid $3 for parking and $4 for admittance. The company sold T-shirts for $7 each and a variety of food and refreshments.

The summer's dry spell threatened to stop or delay the event for the first time in its 12-year history. The state imposed mandatory water restrictions and the city of Brunswick could not provide the approximately 20,000 gallons needed.

The Washington County Health Department waived the restrictions and a local quarry donated water. County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz objected, saying it was inappropriate to use so much water during the century's worst drought.

But the bog went on, and Charles Leopold said only 8,000 gallons were used to wet the track before the contest began. Recent rains helped moisten the earth. "Mother Nature's been good to us," he said. "We're trying not to waste more water than we need to."

Albert Roelkey, a retired farmer who donates his land for the event each year, said the fund-raiser is a good cause. "When you need a fire truck, you need a fire truck," he said.

This year, 121 drivers registered for the contest, according to Freda Leopold. The event was divided into seven classes, based on tire size, frame and motor. The "powder puff" class is reserved for women only.

"Modified" trucks have moveable motors and altered truck frames. "Open cuts or paddles" have tires with large gouges or fin-like extensions. Both classes can use nitrous oxide, which enables vehicles to reach speeds faster than 150 mph.

Trophies and monetary prizes were given in each class to the top winners. Judges marked the amount of time each vehicle took to cover its distance.

With names like "Undertaker," "L'il Beast," and "Mud Crazy," the trucks came in all shapes and sizes. As their turns came, drivers gunned their engines, rushed into the pit and often slowed to a halt with spinning tires spitting chunks of dirt.

Spectators didn't protest the event's use of water. Ken Chandler of Wolfsville said it didn't bother him because the water was donated.

"We have a lot of fun at these things," he said, sitting with his wife and two sons. "It's a nice family gathering."

The Herald-Mail Articles