Page updated: 12/06/2001 05:34 PM
JROCC Boulder Bash
On November 17th, a group of friends got
together to have a friendly competition in the rocks. Eight drivers
from five different states put their rigs to the test and a few bucks on
the line to see who would come up the champion of a one day rock crawling competition held in JROCC (Jellico Rock Obstacle Challenge Course). The idea of the event was to
introduce competitive rock crawling to the area, and to attempt to draw
interest from others in the area. Drivers from Kentucky, Indiana,
Missouri, Ohio, and even Texas, converged on JROCC to get a taste of what
the juices of competition taste like. To help identify with east
coast rock crawling competition, I think it would be prudent to sum up
the similarities, and lack thereof, to west coast rock crawling events.
As you may have
gathered, rock crawling on the east coast can be very similar to rock crawling on the west coast. First off, it involves machines manufactured from
minds that like to dream up steel and rubber combinations that many of
us laugh at until we see how they perform. Machines that are built
light, with extreme axle travel, maximum tire grip, and oh yeah... plenty
of power. Secondly, both sides of the union like to compete.
They like to get their well crafted machines out there and test them to
the brink of disaster, and sometimes beyond. To these metal mangling
contestants, breakage is only a sign of weakness, and will be redesigned before the next event.
coast wheeling can be much different from the sunny side of the U.S. of
A. This first problem is the terrain. Unlike out west, where
areas are carved from stone, the east coast has to drive through trails
to get from rocky area to rocky area. Not a big deal, but there is some backwoods travel required to get from the blacktop to the good stuff.
Another difference is the rock itself. West coast rock generally
is grippy, and provides good traction. On the other side of the spectrum, southern midwest states have a rock that seems to like to wage war against rubber, and often times, the rock wins. Another piece of Mother Nature
that factors into east coast events are those leaf covered beauties that
the offroaders often refer to as "God's Guardrails"... trees. Oh yes, trees,
the winch point of choice on the east coast. Sure, the west coast
grows these paper bearing products as well, but unlike the east coast,
they aren't used as obstacles or seen as safety nets in the event of a roll over. Often times, a tree can pose just as much problem as a tricky off-camber climb, or a technical downhill that can leave you on
your lid. Other times it can be the difference between a one roll foul
up and a major accident into a deep ravine. Now that the some of
the difference have been
JROCC is a newly
designed offroad challenge area catering to all avenues of backwoods travel.
Hikers, bikers, and extreme crawlin' drivers can all find challenging terrain
in this privately owned outdoor recreational heaven. Jellico, a small town lying amongst the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee, stepped up to
the plate to provide an area for weekend warriors to recreate when a request was put in by the Trail
Keepers Organization. Trail Keepers asked Jellico if they knew
of a small area to have a rock crawling and multi-use event... a local
land owner steps up with over 600 acres of prime compressed earth real estate, with rocks the size of small homes. Trail Keepers went a step further to find out if the town would be willing for there to be regularly scheduled events in the area, and the city responded with, "the more, the
merrier". In fact, Jellico, TN has responded so favorably to having OHV users visit their town, that many have referred to this area as "Four Wheelin' Heaven". So fasten your seatbelts, air down your tires,
grab a glass of sweet tea, and shake off that clutch quiver... and welcome
to southern hospitality.