ATV Riders Get Dirty As Mudfest 2007 Rolls Through Stone County

Matthew Burke and Austin Wallace of Long Beach are first timers at the 2007 Mudfest in Stone County.  The two friends bought their ATV's a few months ago.

"I love mudriding. I love being on four wheelers," says Burke.

From the constant flow of ATV fanatics riding through the park, the two are not alone. Mudfest organizers expect more than 2,000 ATV riders to kick up some serious mud over the three day event.

"We actually have the best racers in the world at this event. The biggest crowd pleaser is the high-end mud race events. We have 70 plus horsepower, unlimited bikes racing through the mud," says Ronald "Max" Burgee, Mudfest owner.

While Matthew and Austin say they can't wait to get their wheels spinning, they both agree they'll take it easy this year.

"I'm not here to enter anything. I'm just here to watch people tear up their four wheelers," says Wallace.

"I'm not too sure about tearing up my four wheeler. I've had it for three months. I'd rather just spectate than participate," says Burke.

At times, some of the riders who went for a few spins in the mud found themselves a little stuck. Racers competed in events like mud pit racing where bikers fly across pits of mud and water as deep as 6 feet in about 4 seconds.

While some events are designed for speed, the event's owner says safety is a priority throughout the ATV park.

"We have a lot of bumps. We have a lot of things that keep people from going fast because when people start going fast that's when your bad injuries statisically happen. This park is not a fast park. It's just that simple," says Burgee.

Aside from safety, the focus this weekend for riders is to have a lot of four wheeling fun.

Event organizers say Mudfest is the second largest mudriding ATV event in the country. The largest cash prize is one-thousand dollars. The park will be open 24 hours a day through Monday.