Quad rodeo a roaring success
Crowds come out to watch a spectacular weekend of sound and fury
The growling could be heard from afar. It reverberated through woodland and a nearby golf course.
Every so often it seemed to intensify, as if some powerful beast was summoning up an extra lung-bursting spurt of energy.
Reach the summit of a small hill and you could finally see what the sound and fury was about: scores of quads across a vast, boggy terrain, some lining up at a start line, some in the thick of action, others idling to a standstill.
From above they looked like aliens, dark, menacing and spitting venom as they launched rapid patrols of their colony.
After the roar of four-stroke engines, the next sensation was the sight of mud being churned into a brown blizzard, splattering photographers keen to get up close and personal to man and machine.
No wonder so many spectators sat a safe distance from the action. Some preferred a hilltop view. Others gathered to watch near a booth serving food and drink.
Then you smelled the gasoline. It was faint initially, but seemed to grow as the day wore on.
Yes, this was the 2012 Henry Battenfelder ATV Quad Rodeo in all its rowdy, muddy glory.
Bright May sunshine brought crowds to the picturesque Henry’s Hideaway/Batt Traps golf course and recreational area near Camp Creek on Saturday and Sunday.
Seventeen teams of four riders took part in a series of different events: drag races, chuck wagon/chariot races and obstacle courses. They competed for points, and what a thriller it turned out to be, with Iron Horse and The Green Bs battling for supremacy.
The battle intensified as the course became increasingly testing, with mounds of mud building up and tire grooves creating ruts everywhere. An earthmover was on hand to prevent the navigational hazards from getting out of hand.
Several times engines failed to make it over a muddy bank, forcing riders to dismount and call on assistance to push the machine. Once or twice a quad flipped over.
By the end competitors had a certain look – covered head to toe in treacle-like mud. Quads were likewise blackened after every event. Cleaning machines with powerful jets of water was a constant activity through the day.
Once the races were over, officials faced a massive paperwork challenge, totting up points and compiling results.
One matter, however, was settled immediately the last engine had died: The “Iron Horse” team were the winners by a handful of points. “The Green Bs” (Bs stood for a word a little too strong for print) had to settle for second. There was a two-way tie for third place: Get Torqued and Synik 3D.
For Don Battenfelder, part of the Iron Horse team, the rodeo was more than just about winning.
“The camaraderie is incredible,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody. I know it’s very competitive, but it’s still all about having fun.”
He believed this year’s rodeo was bigger and better than in previous years.
One of the organizers Margaret Battenfelder said the event had fallen just four teams short of her late husband’s dream total of 21. “I think everything went really well,” she said. “We had more teams this year and we had a good turnout.”
• See next week’s paper for full results.
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