Our Favorite TTC Moments
The competitors left Hollister with their favorite moments and the Four Wheeler staff left with some too. Here are ours.
Douglas McColloch: There certainly were plenty this year. As always, we were treated to the best darn barbeque in the entire Central Coast. (A trip to Mansmith's alone is worth the pilgrimage to Hollister.) There were no Truck Ballz to hand out as booby prizes this year. (Whew!) And the new chief ranger at Hollister Hills who went wheeling around the competitors' campground in his lifted Chevy Malibu was pretty awesome too. But if I had to choose one truly mind-boggling moment, it hadda be the sight of Brandon's disabled Bronco being hoisted out of the Mini-Rubicon, all wheels up and levitating a'la David Blaine. We've employed all sorts of recovery methods at Top Truck over the years, but I can't recall ever airlifting a vehicle out of an obstacle before. That was a first for us.
Sean P. Holman: When the team sat down with the news at the end of scoring, it was only then that we realized we had no contingency for a tie. The brainstorming session immediately started and we had ideas ranging all the way up to how to get a second trophy made and delivered before the awards ceremony. How would the winner (now winners) react? In the end, we decided to split the specially constructed (with previous year's TTC broken parts) trophy down the middle, and we couldn't have had a better result from the guys who were seemingly enamored with each getting a half of the only TTC winner's trophy to be shared between two winners.
Greg Smith: This year, it was when the team of Randy Swartz was in the last water hole of the Tank Trap. With time running out, the Blazer's engine cutting out, their batteries almost dead, barely a working winch, backing up to get back on course, they still pressed on cool and collectively. Nothing seemed to put a dent in their enthusiasm, which was very impressive and showed true teamwork.
Robin Stover: Each year at TTC, the Four Wheeler staff sets up base camp inside the city limits of Hollister, California, at a nice clean resort called the Ridgemark Inn. Meanwhile, competitors and judging staff rough it out in tents and RVs surrounded by dirt, poison oak, and wild boar inside the park. Over the years, I've often wondered what went on back at camp while our distinguished staffers enjoy evenings out, dining with sponsors and film crew. So this year I stuck around for some unadulterated fun with the judges and competitors in the competitors' campgrounds. The evening fun proceeded with a bonfire surrounded by good folks sharing memories of fun times wheeling. Needless to say, I'll be camping out every year from now on.
Ken Brubaker: I think it was when all of the competitors skipped lunch on Wednesday to help Team Swartz repair their front Dana 60 axle ring-and-pinion. The parts broke in the Obstacle Course and there was only a small window of opportunity to get the axle fixed before the Hillclimb. Every competitor converged on the Swartz camp to help wrench, and in only 45 minutes the broken parts were removed, the new parts installed, the backlash set, and the axle buttoned up. It was an impressive display of camaraderie.
The Four Wheeler team would like to send our heartfelt thanks to the following people and companies who helped with Top Truck Challenge '08. We raise our glasses to you.
Heath Biggs, Dan Black, Toby Lavender, Stan Pruiett, and Jack Shelton. These guys were the official judges. Their job description was all-encompassing and included track building, scoring, logistical management, and pretty much whatever else needed to be done. These guys were the masters of multitasking while exhibiting the highest levels of professionalism.
Jeff Arabia, Mike Bleck, Chris Brown, Nick Burgess, Jason Finstad, Nick Gilman, Rodney Hill, Jerry Sparkman, and Danny Williams. These gents comprised the official extraction team. When they swung into action you had better just get out of the way. Whether a simple tug or a major extraction they were instantly on scene and they were creative, quick, and safe.
Kawasaki. Thanks for letting our camera crew use the incredible '08 Teryx 750. We gave that back, right?
Chris Finstad, our medic. From doling out Band-Aids to major injuries, he's a very good person to have around.
Ned Bacon, for once again creating a work-of-art winner's trophy from remnants of last year's carnage. Sorry we had to cut it in half, buddy.
Jessy Bishop, for supplying the judges with a slew of firewood.
JJ, for doing the thankless job of driving the water truck all week long
Southbay Driveline of San Jose, for going above-and-beyond by quickly providing Team Lammers with a new driveshaft so they could get back in competition.
Mike Pearson, for his extensive efforts to keep Team Beck's Scout running and in competition.
Mansmith's Barbeque for once again providing a slew of outstanding meals including the wood-fire-cooked welcome dinner.
John Valent, Jeff Gaffney, Kris Plank, and all the other Rangers and staff at the Hollister Hills SVRA. Without these folks, Top Truck in Hollister wouldn't happen. These hard-working folks are professional, friendly, and incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable.