Anderson Independent-Mail
PO Box 2507, Anderson, SC 29622
(800) 859-6397

Annual 4-wheel drive jamboree draws an estimated 24,000 people

Gary Hale from Leigh Acres, Florida, kicks up mud in his car White Lightning. Mr. Hale was competing in the class IV mud drags competition held at the Anderson County Fairgrounds during the 6th annual Carolina 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals Sunday afternoon. [Sarah Bates Anderson Independent-Mail]
Kayla Fricks, 3, sips on her drink Sunday afternoon while waiting for the next competition to start during the Carolina 4-Wheel Jamboreee Nationals at the Anderson County Fairgrounds.

By Nicholas Charalambous
Anderson Independent-Mail


If you blinked, you would have missed it.

It took less than 2 seconds for the souped up trucks competing at the 6th annual Carolina 4-wheel Drive Jamboree this weekend to travel from one end to the other of a 120-foot long, 30-foot wide mud pit at the Anderson County Fairgrounds.

The crowd roared its approval as the drivers revved their engines to unleash a spray of mud. And then they were gone.

The drag races, featuring oversized trucks, some running on a supercharged mixture of alcohol and nitrous oxide, are always the star of the two-day event, which draws in an estimated 24,000 people from across the southeast and more than 979 participants from as far away as Missouri and Michigan.

The spectators who paid $14 a ticket also got to see a six monster trucks, a "show and shine" featuring thousands of customized trucks, a "rock crawl" comprising an obstacle course made up of bolders for the more intrepid truck enthusiasts, and even a beauty contest.

"As Americans, we've always loved automobiles," said Doc Riley, a spokesman for Special Events, sponsoring the jamboree. "It used to be the cruisers and the hot rods. Now its trucks."

Austin Chapman, a 9 -year-old Anderson native, was having fun watching the rock crawl Sunday afternoon. He said he enjoyed the event because you never knew if the driver would get stuck or the truck would flip.

"I'm going to have a truck like that," Austin said. "But I ain't going to try rock climbing. I don't want to get killed."

The midway at the fair looked like a truck menagerie Sunday row upon row of trucks, foreign and domestic, old and late model, gleaming and mud-spattered. One truck fanatic with a sense of humor had turned a Chevy Vega into an all-wheel drive mean machine.

This year, the number of trucks on show rose by nearly 10 percent after last year's jamboree was featured by photographers from leading truck magazines.

The vehicles were swarmed by spectators marveling at the size and raw power on display while others came to get some ideas and swap tips.

Josh Cochran, 19, of Liberty sat in a lawn chair in front of his 1976, 5.7 liter, silver-colored Chevy truck with 44-inch tires and a Superlift suspension.

Mr. Cochran said he spent $20,000 and every weekend for six months working in his backyard to turn the stock truck once owned by a family friend into his very own pride and joy.

"That's what I do it for: When someone comes up to you and says 'You've got a good looking truck,' said the Hitachi assembly-line worker. "It does a lot for you."


Anderson Independent-Mail
PO Box 2507, Anderson, SC 29622
(800) 859-6397