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Calling All Mudders

Once water is added, participants can safely test their four-wheel vehicles out Sunday at Kauai Mud Out 2015. Coco Zickos photo

Once water is added, participants can safely test their four-wheel vehicles out Sunday at Kauai Mud Out 2015. Coco Zickos photo

Hop in your four-wheel drive and get down and dirty Sunday (Aug. 16) at Garden Island Motorcycle Club’s (GIMC) Kauai Mud Out 2015, when contestants will enjoy a rare opportunity to race their all-terrain vehicles legally and safely through the mud in Omao.

“It’s for anybody who wants to get muddy,” says GIMC president Bertram Almeida.

Drivers are judged by how fast they can go in a pit approximately 20 feet wide and 150 to 300 feet long filled with 2-3 feet of mud.

“Winners get bragging rights, trophies and cash,” adds Almeida.

The last event like this was held about a decade ago in Wailua, but Almeida hopes to offer it annually, so that it becomes something people can look forward to every year.

“We’re trying to make it a really family-oriented, fun event and not just bring it back, but bring it back in grand style,” he says.

Chase Parkinson (4) was the youngest rider at the GIMC's ‘Hare and Hound/Poker Run' held in May; he also was one of the 21 lucky recipients to receive a bicycle that was donated by generous sponsors for the event. Photo courtesy of Bertram Almeida

Chase Parkinson (4) was the youngest rider at the GIMC’s ‘Hare and Hound/Poker Run’ held in May; he also was one of the 21 lucky recipients to receive a bicycle that was donated by generous sponsors for the event. Photo courtesy of Bertram Almeida

Ryan Mackey of Kuhio Auto Parts and Kuhio Kustoms, a main sponsor, is excited to not only help bring the Mud Out (aka mud bogging) to fruition, but also to participate.

“Kauai is such an outdoor-enthusiast island, but there’s no place to really do this that’s safe and allowed,” he says.

Though his business has helped make it happen, he humbly credits the real work to Almeida.

“If it weren’t for guys like Bertram, there wouldn’t be places like this,” says Mackey. “Everybody’s always quick to talk about setting up stuff, but the people who actually take action and do it are few and far between. I know there are a lot of people on Kauai who appreciate everything he’s doing by providing a place for us to recreate — it’s huge.”

Almeida has been GIMC’s president for five years, and all of his hard work is completely voluntary.

“All you have to do is look at the kids ride and watch the smiles on their faces, and you understand why I do it,” he says.

GIMC was formed in the 1940s for the motorcycle enthusiast community on Kauai. The group continues to organize “extreme enduro” off-road rides, including “Hare and Hound” races that take riders through obstacles such as forests and streams. The club also ensures that land is accessible to its members.

“I remember, as a kid, riding on the cane field roads when there was sugar-cane,” says Almeida. “It was a big part of my life, jumping on my motorcycle and going exploring, and that sense of freedom.”

The GIMC has been hosting events for off-road enthusiasts since the 1940s.

The GIMC has been hosting events for off-road enthusiasts since the 1940s.

Now tracts of land like that are few and far between, so Almeida — who admits he’s owned some 50 motorcycles since he was about 10 years old — makes an effort to keep spaces available for his motorcycle-riding comrades.

“We’ve been losing a lot of land on this island, and riding areas to privatization, so we’re trying to establish something so we don’t lose that legacy we’ve had since 1945,” he says.

Landowners like those affiliated with Knudsen Trust make events like the Mud Out possible, along with volunteers who help keep the trails intact.

“It takes a long time plotting the course out, cutting the trail, using the lay of the land and being respectful to the indigenous plant life, and trying to work with Mother Nature,” says Almeida.

Businesses such as Kaiwa Construction, which is digging out the mud pit, and Bacon Universal, also are donating their time and resources to make the day possible.

“All these companies believe in what we’re trying to accomplish by establishing a park in Omao for off-road recreational use,” says Almeida, a Kauai High School grad. “That’s all we’re trying to do is just keep it rolling.”

The picture is from a mud bog event on Kauai in the 1980s. Photos courtesy of Bertram Almeida

The picture is from a mud bog event on Kauai in the 1980s. Photos courtesy of Bertram Almeida

It’s a perk for the community, considering there aren’t many professional sports activities here as as there are on the Mainland.

“Events like this make it exciting. It’s something new and different,” says Mackey, who is happy to give back to the community to make it happen.

“I think recreation is very important in our lives,” he adds. “We really need it, and this is another event that the people of Kauai have something to look forward to going to every year.”

Participants also can look forward to food, games, carnival-like rides, a musical performance by Not My First Rodeo and free shave ice for the keiki.

“All in all, it’s going to be a safe family fun day,” says Almeida.

Some of the day’s proceeds will go to help Kekaha residents Ed and Carol Horner, who are fighting cancer.

Tickets purchased at the gate Sunday cost $10 for adults and $5 for keiki. Gates open at 7 a.m.; the entrance is about a half-mile west of Tunnel of Trees in Omao. To register a vehicle or for more information, visit gimc.us or call Almeida at 651-3000.

cocomidweek@gmail.com

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