Dixie Run, a Southern Tradition: 29 Years of Trail RidingPosted in Events on November 23, 2015
For the last 29 years, the Dixie Run has been a southern tradition, hosted by the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association. Originally held in the legendary mountains of Tellico, North Carolina, the Dixie Run now resides at Golden Mountain Off-Road Park, which boasts over 500 acres of trails in Sparta, Tennessee. The event is packed with guided trail rides, vendors, an RC crawler competition, a timed rock race, and of course open trail riding.
Southern Four Wheel Drive Association’s mission is to promote four-wheel-drive recreation on both public and private lands, off-road education, responsible land usage, and OHV trail conservation. The club spends thousands of man-hours preserving our land and educating others on topics like Tread Lightly so we can continue to enjoy four-wheeling.
The Dixie Run caters to all levels of off-road enthusiasts, from the guy with his first 4x4 to the experienced off-roader in a custom-built tube chassis and everything in between. SWFDA business member Wide Open Design (WOD) is a shop in Tennessee and has been a supporter of SFWDA for a long time. While WOD may be known for the high-horsepower rock-bouncers and Ultra4 cars, the core of the company is trail riding. During the Dixie Run they organized a ride with 15 machines ranging from the first-ever WOD-built Jeep CJ to a 70hp hill killer to the most recently finished WOD chassis, which is coincidently a full-bodied Jeep CJ tube chassis. While these machines are designed to tackle extreme trails, the same trail riding mentality applies to them as it would with the guy with his first Jeep or other 4x4. Nothing better than a day on the trail.
Former employee of Wide Open Design, Cody Gregory, built his own buggy inspired by a WOD production chassis. The main chassis rails are the same, but the rest he built in his own shop.
Dwight Woodlee’s Jeep CJ was the first official WOD build. This stretched CJ still features leaf springs front and rear, but don’t let that fool you—it is one of the most capable and durable rigs out there. It has seen more trails than most any other rigs will ever see, from Tennessee mountains to the Hammers and tons of places in between.
WOD owner Adam Woodlee recently bought his first all-tube buggy back from the original owner. Built in 2007, this rig was ahead of its time and still can hang with the best. Affectionately called UBkon, it features a 6.0 LS, Fox coilovers front and rear, a Dana 60 front, a 14-bolt rear, and 43-inch TSL SX stickies. Everything a true Southern hill killer needs.
It may not be possible to find something more awesome than a twin-turbo LS single-seat rock bouncer. Roger King’s single-seat Evolution chassis is rowdy and he isn’t afraid to launch it full throttle. One thing to note is that while King is just trail riding, these machines are tackling more and more extreme obstacles. With that comes the need for additional safety. He utilizes window nets and a DOT helmet on the trail because you never know what could happen. Always be prepared.
Jessica “Photoshoot” Huffman has the very first production Evolution chassis from WOD. For years the chassis sat as a roller, then she got it and took it back to WOD to finish out turnkey. It is built compact but still features trail riding niceties like a built-in toolbox and sound-bar stereo.
It is great to see a family wheeling together. Nathan Willis wheels Wicked Wagon, with wife Alli and son Lane copiloting. Equipped with a 580hp Mast Motorsports LS engine, a TH400, an Atlas 3.0 transfer case, and a pair of front and rear WOD-built 14-bolts, this four-seat Revolution chassis is no slouch and can handle the most extreme trails with ease.
Greg Fox just finished this awesome Jeep Chassis from WOD. It’s an all-tube chassis built to fit a Jeep tub, hood, and grille. It has all the functionality of a full-tube chassis with the comfort and style of a full-bodied rig. The suspension points are engineered to allow proper geometry for links and shocks, which is difficult with a factory Jeep frame. Fox proved that the suspension worked well as he crawled everything he tried.
In the south a TSL SX is about as common as sweet tea or good ole cornbread. The loose hills and muddy rocks require a very aggressive and durable tire. In this particular group we saw a variety of tires, all in a sticky compound, attack the slick rocks of Golden Mountain. While different tread designs may help, ultimately it comes down to driver skill.
Perhaps the ultimate trail buggy, Andrew Dobosh’s Revolution chassis has it all: a large comfortable interior, plenty of storage, a great stereo system, and a big cooler rack. All that is cool, but what really counts is the Mast Motorsports 402 stroker engine pushing nearly 600 hp.
Tanner Myers built his WOD chassis with simplicity in mind. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. He wasn’t scared to beat on it either. After several full-throttle attempts, Myers slid sideways off this slab before calling it quits on one of the toughest obstacles Golden Mountain has to offer. With rain the previous day the trails were muddy, which doubled their difficulty.
John Galbreath owns not one but two WOD-built rigs: a show-quality buggy designed around a 1938 Chevrolet truck hood and grille dubbed the 38 Special, and this awesome single-seat chassis with rear steer. He is able to finesse and crawl lines most can’t even imagine. He was able to idle up the most difficult obstacles of the day, showing that you don’t always need horsepower and brute force—even if it is crazy fun!