NASCAR started from Southern boys haulin' moonshine during Prohibition at high speeds on back roads evading the authorities. That same heavy-footed driving style has also worked fairly well for the Southern boys competing in Western rockcrawling events. The funny thing is that West Coast wheelers seem to think the East Coast guys only see mud. Truth be told, there are some rocks down in barbecue country, and we went out on the trail with some locals to check 'em out.
The Windrock ATV park outside of Oakridge, Tennessee, is a group of trails on property owned and previously mined by the Coal Creek Mining Company. The weekend we arrived there were guys from Michigan to Florida who had driven in for some Southern-style fun. After purchasing a permit at the front gate we headed out to the Rattle Rock trail and preceded to crawl, crash, and throttle our way through this short but treacherous rock bed. As usual there were lines in the rock for every type of vehicle whether full-tube competition buggy or homebuilt trail rig (though the low-buck heated rigs definitely had the warmth advantage over the open-air buggies during the fall weekend we visited).
Even though we spent a full day on the rocks, there are plenty of other trails in Windrock to explore. These range from steep hillclimbs through thick brush to high-speed gravel roads for rally fun. The park is shared with motorbikes and ATVs so be sure to keep an eye out for our smaller two- and four-wheeled brethren. For more information contact the Rattlerock 4-Wheel Drive Club (www.rattlerock.com), Windrock ATV Club (865/927-1446, www.windrockatv.com), or the Coal Creek Mining Company (865/435-7158).