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Extreme Team Rock Crawling Competition - Carnage For The 'Con

Posted in Events on February 1, 2003
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Carnage for the 'Con is the name of this new event, and it's the first extreme team rockcrawling competition where 100 percent of the net profit went directly to keep the Rubicon trail open. We recently joined more than 1,200 spectators on the Fourth of July for the event held at Donner Ski Ranch, a privately owned ski resort near the Rubicon trail in Northern California.

The last three decades have witnessed a landslide of public land closures, and the anti-access elite have even filed a lawsuit threatening future access to the Rubicon Trail. But finally, they have gone too far, and this time four-wheelers are fighting back. The Friends of the Rubicon is a grassroots organization created specifically to protect future off-road access to the Rubicon area, and has taken on the enviro-elitists at the ground level. But the fight for our right to use public lands costs megabucks. Rich Kline, promoter of the CalROCS Extreme Rock Crawling series, stepped up to the plate with some financial help by creating Carnage for the 'Con, where the net proceeds go right to the Friends of the Rubicon to fight the battle.

Four local rockcrawling clubs-the Pirates of the Rubicon, Tin Benders, Sierra Rock Crawlers, and URJB-also helped by forming teams for the cause. These teams battled it out on courses that rivaled anything we've seen.

Carnage was in ample supply as Boggers, MTRs, and BFGs searched for traction on the Sierra Nevada granite. The courses were set up by local lunatic Tim Hardy and were supposed to be runable by most competitors. Yeah, right. But in the name of the cause, drivers pushed the envelope and the sound of sheared diff gears, snapping axles, and shredding sheetmetal resonated throughout the valley. After the dust settled, the Tin Benders Extreme Team grabbed the team trophy, and individual honors went to Pirate team member Bob Roggy, with almost $3,000 being raised for the Friends of the Rubicon. For information on next year's Carnage for the 'Con, visit To find out how to make a contribution to keep the Rubicon open, visit

The first obstacle provided a serious wakeup call. The Tin Benders' Jeff Hoeldman missed his line on a bonus gate. Hoeldman careened off a massive stair step, ricocheting down the mountain like a marble in a pachinko machine, eventually stopping after two and a half rolls.

More than 1,200 people packed the slopes of Donner Ski Ranch, near Truckee, California, for the first Carnage for the 'Con. The privately owned ranch is almost entirely situated on granite, an ideal location at 7,200 feet in the Sierras. CalROCS officials and Donner Ski Ranch owner Norm Taylor told us we could expect to see more action at the ranch before year's end.

Wedged in between a rock and a hard spot, Chris Burton entertained the crowd, exiting course No. 2 with a nose-over pirouette kind-a-side flop. Luckily, there was a cool lime-green Toyota parked below to slow the roll.

In his hybrid propane-powered Jeep Scrambler, Bob Roggy kept the rubber side down and pulled off a First Place in the Individual class. Scoring was the same as in regular CalROCS competitions, however each team was allowed five starting rigs and five on the bench.

Sam Silveira is a guy after our own hearts. His little '43 OD green flatty takes its licks and keeps on Jeepin'. Also known as Slinky (as in the toy that walks down stairs), the coil-sprung WWII veteran has the unique ability to spontaneously roll over in its own shadow.

Since body damage isn't an issue with competitors these days, the Carnage for the 'Con offered obstacles as insane as we've seen. Pirates' team member Troy Muse, with a 212:1 final drive, was too low-geared to power out of this super-pucker nosestand. The Toyota, which was about 6 inches shorter, was pushed over to finish the day.

Despite going belly-side up on course No. 1, Tin Benders' driver Mike Ladd kept his team on top of the points standings as he piloted a coil-sprung four-link Samurai to a Fifth Place finish. In typical CalROCS style, each course was given liberal time limits and set up with technical driving in mind.

Neal Armstrong would have loved this thing. Resembling a lunar transport more than anything terrestrial, Stacy Breckenridge piloted this single-seat, coilover, four-wheel-steering Toyota rock buggy for the Sierra Rock Crawlers.

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