The Northern Manitoba Off-Road Association’s (NMORA) annual mud bogs tradition didn’t show any signs of slowing down during its 10th edition at the Thompson off-road park Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
Over 25 participants from Thompson, Nelson House, Flin Flon and Winnipeg tried to traverse a 200-foot mud pit in side-by-sides, ATVs or trucks.
By the end of the truck finals on Sunday, Thompson resident Greg Robson and his Jeep proved to be the most decorated duo of this year’s event, clinching first place in the super stock 6, super stock 8, modified 6 and modified 8 classes.
Scott Leightor, Kenneth Wark and Hunter Small finished first in the 0-500 cc, 500-700 cc and 700 cc and up ATV categories, respectively.
Kelly Kopeechuk captured the fastest time overall with his first run in the modified 8 class on Saturday, which he completed in 5.3337 seconds.
Standings are based on who crossed the mud pit the fastest or who travelled the furthest if all the vehicles in that respective category got stuck.
NMORA president Dennis Foley is most impressed by the fact that they’ve been putting this event together for a decade.
“We started out as a bunch of boys digging holes in the ground and running pits through and we’ve escalated it,” said Foley. “Now we’re got a 14-acre piece of land that we use for off-roading.”
Foley and fellow motorsport enthusiasts held the first mud bogs behind the softball field at the Thompson recreation centre grounds in 2010. The second year the event was held near the Norplex Pool before returning to the rec centre grounds until 2015, when they were moved to Thompson’s off-road park roughly 20 kilometres south of the city. This larger venue allowed NMORA to accommodate more spectators and experiment with different kinds of events.
This evolution continued this past weekend, when the mud bogs featured kids’ ATV races for the first time.
The NMORA president says the races’ longevity wouldn’t have been possible without community support, especially from local businesses like Speedy Glass and Smook Contractors.
“There’s about 50 local businesses, and even businesses out of town, who have sponsored us over the years and it’s unparalleled,” said Foley. “We’ve had people come up from places like The Pas and Winnipeg and they don’t get anywhere near that community support.”
Foley wants the 2020 mud bogs to be extra special and is willing to get a little creative with the format to make this a reality.
“We’ve been in talks with a local organization about having a concert fundraiser out here,” he said. “That way we’ll do truck racing on the Saturday and then we’ll shut the engines off and we’ll play music well into the night. And then Sunday we’ll go back into racing.”