The Buchanan Mudfest screams down-home fun, and is held just west of St. Louis in the hills and farmlands outside the small town of Robertsville, Missouri. The entire Buchanan clan transforms more than 100 acres of their farm into mud pits, a dragstrip, 4x4 trails, and slick obstacles to host one of the largest family-oriented events of its kind. They hold this celebration of good ol' mudding fun twice a year-once in the spring and again in mid-September. The Mudfest attracts enthusiasts from across the state, and this year more than 5,500 participants and spectators with vehicles of every make, model, and condition rolled through the front gate of the old family farm.
The Mudfest started five years ago after Jeff and Bryon Buchanan and their friends outgrew an annual mud-sling in a seasonal pond down by the barn. Every year as the pond started to dry up it became their 4x4 mud pit and a local attraction. The Buchanans own more than 1,000 acres of farmland, and soon after the last 300-vehicle pond party, a lease ended on 100 acres of their low-lying property. The next thing they knew the pond parties morphed into one of the state's largest mud events. Mike and Debbie Buchanan, with their son Jeff and other kinfolk, run the entire event with the help of 150 friends who volunteer a lot of time and hard work. Together they have created a blast of G-Rated gooey action and fun for the whole family.
Mud vehicles are tall, powerful, and loud, with the majority of them garage-built by local shadetree mechanics. At the Mudfest every make and model of truck and Jeep, and custom designed rigs, can be found slogging though the mud, along with a smattering of some oddball cars. Though the majority of the vehicles were purpose-built for the occasion, some of them were out for their last hurrah and quickly on their way to the scrapyard. Running deep mud is tough on vehicles, and for auto enthusiasts like us it's extremely intriguing to listen to the tell-tale death groans of an engine's knocking and rattling just before it belches and gives up life for good. If you love blasting through the mud or watching mud enthusiasts rev their junk until it blows, then this event is a must.