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Badlands Off Road National Park - In Deep in Indiana

Posted in Events on May 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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Badlands Off Road National Park - In Deep in Indiana
0205or z+superlift 4xadventure+ford explorer sport

Perhaps the biggest draw of the Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana, is the diversity of its terrain, and this eclectic mix ensures fun and challenge no matter what type of four-wheeling you're into. Thus, it's no surprise that the Superlift 4xAdventure returns to the park annually for its signature three-day event that features a full schedule of 'wheeling on a variety of trails as well as off-road competitions that both challenge and entertain. The event is formally called the Indiana Superlift 4xAdventure, and it takes place each April as spring begins its slow return to the Midwest, and the 2001 event drew in more than 140 vehicles and hundreds of participants for a weekend filled with challenge, fun, and a fair amount of deep mud.

What It Is
The Indiana Superlift 4xAdventure is sponsored by Superlift Suspension Systems and is the second event in a yearlong series that began in Terlingua, Texas, and concludes in Gardenvale, Alabama. Superlift's staff routinely makes the trek to its signature events to take part in the action (they're off-road enthusiasts above all else), explore the backcountry, and field-test new products. Furthermore, they always bring with them the Superlift semi, product displays, and many project vehicles. Bob Hazel of Sports-In-The-Rough handles the event logistics, such as overseeing all of the competitions and trail rides, and the modest event registration fee includes access to all of the events over the course of the three days, including competitions, trail rides, and meals.

The Badlands
A successful off-roading event is the sum of many things, but probably the most important is challenging terrain. One of the premier off-roading areas in the Midwest is the Badlands Off Road Park, and it encompasses 900 acres of old quarry land that is an off-roader's paradise. The land includes a wide variety of trails from easy two-track trails through the woods to gnarly rock-strewn trails, so it offers difficulty levels for every experience level. Troy and Lisa Myers (the parks owners) grew up in the area, and they purchased the land several years ago for the express purpose of giving folks a place to explore as well as hone their off-road driving skills. The entire park (except for 70 acres set aside for ATVs and dirt bikes) is open to 4x4s, and the Myers are constantly acquiring land to ensure that the park doesn't become the same ol' same ol'.

Rocks and Rollovers
The 2001 event drew an assortment of 4x4s, from trail Jeeps to daily drivers and fullsized rigs. This year's schedule offered participants even more events to choose from than ever before. In addition to 12 trail rides that ranged in difficulty level from easy to hard-core, participants also had various competitions to choose from. On Friday and Saturday afternoon, participants were invited to compete in a paintball obstacle course, which required a driver to navigate his or her vehicle close to a number of targets so the codriver could blast 'em with the paintball gun. Each time a target was hit, the team accrued points, and the team with the highest score won. Of course, the targets were placed in gnarly areas that required a fair amount of off-roading to position the truck close to the target, and a limited number of paintballs were given to each team as well. The Indiana 4xAdventure also featured a judged rockcrawling competition as well as a hillclimb competition, so if you enjoy competing in challenges, this event was screaming your name.

Before the event, heavy rains had left the Badlands trails saturated, and some were literally submerged under water. This made for a challenging run on Saturday, when we hooked up with a moderate trail ride that featured a wide variety of trucks, including a contingent of Ford Explorers from the Serious Explorations Club (a national club dedicated to Ford Explorers). The group had made the trek to Indiana from all over the country, and we soon found that these SUV owners are as aggressive on the trail as any other group. Their gung-ho attitude was evident throughout the day and resulted in a complex recovery effort when one of the Explorers went wheels-up in a deep, challenging mudhole. The mishap made for a good story as we sat under the large dining tent and enjoyed a hot meal at the end of the day.

Bottom Line
The Indiana Superlift 4xAdventure mixed good old-fashioned trail rides with cutting-edge competitions in the beautiful and challenging Badlands Off Road Park, and it was a total success. The event will return in 2002, and for more information on this or any of the events in the Superlift 4xAdventure Series, contact: Sports-In-The-Rough, (866) EVENT-INFO (383-6846), www.sportsintherough.com.

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