Springtime in Tennessee, the azaleas in front of my house were showing off their colors of red and pink, at least what you could see of them thru the weeds. ‘Someone should get rid of them’ I thought.
As much as my wife has learned to accept the fact I’m not going to be spending time pulling weeds out of a flower bed. I think she’d have hard time accepting colored cement and artificial plants in front of our house. That would go over as well as the idea I had to put a motocross track in the back yard, we won’t go there. I drove the two miles to I-40, merged onto the right lane and settled in with the flow of semi’s and other motorists. I could see the dogwood trees in bloom, their white blossoms contrasting sharply with the bark on their limbs. Mixed in with the blooming redbud trees, together their contrast provided for a visual delight along the usual boring interstate.
I’m traveling with my brothers, Terry and Keith, to one of our favorite events, the Windrock Spring Jamboree, located on the Coal Creek ORV area in West Tennessee. We’ve been waiting in anticipation all winter for this trip; even a tire blowout on my toy hauler didn’t dampen our spirits.
Convincing them they had to change it, would prove an exercise in my journalistic prowl ness and my ability to avoid anything like real physical work. “Hey you guys know I’m doing a story for the magazine don’t you?” “Yea, so what does that have to do with the price of an igloo in Alaska?” yawned brother #1(named changed to protect the guilty) who no doubt was woken from his nap by the exploding tire. “Well, you wouldn’t want anything to happen to these would you?” Holding up my fingers and wiggling them in front of his face, then mimicking holding a camera and clicking off a few pictures. The gesture convinced him he needed to get out and change the tire, no since in arguing with reasoning like that. Being prepared with a good spare tire and a bottle jack, my brothers made quick work out of a potentially bad situation.
The Windrock ATV Club has a written agreement with the Coal Creek Mining and Manufacturing Company to maintain the trail system and help with the purchase of land use permits on its 72,000 acres, known as the Coal Creek ORV area. This is quite an accomplishment since the club is non-profit and has an all volunteer work force. If that’s not enough work for them, the club manages to host two fantastic events a year, the Spring Jamboree and another event in the fall. This is in addition to the many club rides and charity work they do. This is one active club!
We arrived just before dark at the Windrock Campground. Our host and owner, Gary Hoskins, greeted us with a handshake and a smile. Hoskins has been working several years on his family homestead property to turn it into a superb camping facility. Dealing with the county bureaucracy has slowed development a bit, but he has plans to add sewer and electric hookups on the existing sites.(UPDATE: Windrock Campground now has 33 RV sites with water and electric hookups,a dump station and a new bathhouse. Check out their website at the end of this story) Other plans are to build a bridge across a creek to give him access to an additional 50 acres of land that will be developed into primitive camping areas.(It’s done too!)
I pulled my RV rig on our site and with all of us working together like a well -oiled machine, (me, of course, working as the site supervisor) we got the quads unloaded, the trailer leveled and the awning out. The finishing touch was the placement of the ATV Rider magazine banner on the corner of our site and we were done.
Camping right behind us was the ‘Team Emerson’ who’s motto is ‘It only costs a little more to go first class’ and ‘Team Emerson’ always pick up trash on the trails.’ Despite their happy go lucky demeanor the group has a responsible social side.
Earlier in the month a young rider was killed when he lost control on a curve and crashed. During the weekend Team leader, Emerson, organized a memorial service and a cross planting at the site .
The Windrock club schedules the Jamboree events like a fine restaurant preparing you for a grand buffet. For the first two days, Thursday and Friday, they serve you a choice of guided rides. My favorite is the trek to Lake City.
Our ride this year was led by Deb Fritts with husband Herb and David Rose along for support. “Would you like a little rain with your ride Mr. Wilmot” is almost like adding a little black pepper to a salad that was already covered with Jalapenos. The rain came as we neared the city; our rain gear came in handy.
Our group invaded Lake City like a group of hungry Vikings, except this was a welcomed invasion; a police escort led us in. After feasting on the local cuisine and getting a chance to dry off, the sun decided to shine on our little parade. The ride back was a little dryer and very enjoyable.
Saturday’s menu started off with the humorous ‘Bubba Hunt’. You won’t need a gun or a blue tick hound to hunt these Bubbas. What you will need is a map and a good plan to find these scoundrels. Hidden on the mountain and on the marked ‘blue trails’ you have to sniff out (these dudes haven’t bathed in days) these guys. Once you find one, they’re going to punch your card. You’ll have to ride like the wind to get the smell off you, and then you’ll need to find another. The goal is to find as many Bubbas as you can, there are eight in total, and get back to the parking lot by three o’clock. The cards are put in buckets by the number of Bubbas found. If your card gets drawn from the bucket, you win prizes. The prizes got better with the more Bubbas found.
The second course of the day was served up in the newly constructed events area. The Windrock gang worked feverishly to make a new ‘soup bowl’ for the mud pit. Then they filled it with a secret family recipe, a special mix of ‘mud stew’ for the participants dining pleasure. Several guys did just that, ate mud, before Anita Owens, a gutsy little lady from Decatur, AL, fired up the stove on a new 800 Polaris and showed everybody how to really ‘play in the mud’ and turned the mud pit into a drive-thru restaurant.
For today’s dessert Windrock member ‘650 Bill’ Hollamon put together a ‘Christmas Tree Parfait’. Chef Hollamon designed and built a pro type ‘Christmas Tree’ for the drag racing event. Helpers Donny Gateley and Richard Emison keep the staging lines moving faster than a drive thru window at Mc Donald’s. Participants and the crowd enjoyed some spectacular side by side competition under the lights.
Sundays tasty brunch started back at the events area, the Best brothers, Larry and Wayne brought out their ‘Lead’ Sled for the Sled Pull. Competition was hot and heavy for the bragging rights to bring home the bacon. (Trophy, for all those that haven’t got the gist of this story yet!).
If all the rides and events weren’t enough to keep your taste buds busy, the vendor area was jam packed full of some of the most smiling friendly faces you could find anywhere. They were dealing like Monty Hall and as busy as a charity fundraiser selling an all you can eat 99 cent pancake breakfast. Dealers representing Honda, Bombardier, Artic Cat, Kawasaki, and Polaris took the time to bring out some new machines to wet your taste buds and drool over.
The Windrock ATV Club has proven again it can take all the ingredients of a great event; a mountain of tasty trails, add some vendors, spice it up with some events, sprinkle on some door prizes, mix it all together and serve you a great tasting ATV event!
Windrock ATV Club www.windrockatv.com
Coal Creak ORV Area www.coalcreakohv.com
Windrock Campground www.windrockcampground.com
Team Emerson www.atvposters.com
Story and pictures by,
Keeping it NTHEWIND Photography