The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

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By Sean C. Morgan
Of The New Era 

Mud Fest: That 4-wheel drive busted? Switch to two and keep going

 

March 9, 2016

KYLE KEENEY of Cascadia races on the drag strip Saturday afternoon. Photos by Sean C. Morgan

Kyle Keeney of Cascadia caught about eight feet of air Saturday morning, breaking his four-wheel drive capability, but it didn’t stop him from two-wheeling it around the annual Mud Fest and winning his share of drag races.

Keeney was one of some 1,500 people attending the annual Mud Fest, held on a pasture just outside of Holley off Highway 228.

He and his buddy, Corey Wiles, spent the past couple of weeks getting Keeney’s 1984 Bronco II ready for festival.

Wiles works in Portland, he said, and he would get up at 4 a.m., work, return to Sweet Home and help Keeney.

For the past couple of weeks, he said, he was “lucky” to get four hours of sleep at night, but it paid off.

“It’s building way more power than it ever has,” Wiles said, noting that the rig was hitting at least 650 horsepower.

Keeney and Wiles have been hitting the mud festival ever since it was the Foster Mud Flat Races, held on the bed of Foster Lake in January. They followed it up to Berlin Road, where it became the Mountain Mud Festival, and they’ve stuck with it after the move to Holley.

“My dad used to do it,” Keeney said. “I started doing it with him.”

“It’s in the blood,” said Rhianon Lee, Keeney’s niece.

Keeney has had his Bronco since he was 16 years old. When he first took it to Foster it just had a V6 in it. His brother, Kevin, raced circle tracks at the time, and he helped connect Keeney to a 406 small-block Chevy motor that provided more power.

He’s upgraded once since then, to a 408, he said. He’s on his third or fourth rear end, and probably his 10th transmission.

On the drag strip, Keeney and Wiles raced Shayne Propst of Albany, reportedly one of the fastest on the strip, a few times. They held their own, with multiple close finishes.

In the final run, Propst finished just ahead of Keeney. Keeney said Propst got him out of the hole at the start, but he was starting to catch up near the end of the strip.

Conditions were wet and muddy at Saturday’s event, although not the muddiest the site has been. Forecasts early in the week called for rain, but not much appeared.

MUDDERS test their skills and their machines at the 2016 Mud Fest outside of Holley Saturday. To see more photos, visit our Photo Gallery under the "News/Photos" tab at the top of this page.

“It’s still really muddy,” Keeney said after noon as rain sprinkled in a little. “It was getting tacky, but I think it’s getting better with the rain.”

Elsewhere on the field, Cody Phillips of Scio had a great time testing his rig in the deep mud, eventually finding a hole that stopped his rig.

“It was a little bit more deep than I thought,” Phillips said. “I got stuck in the ruts.”

He has been coming to the event for at least the past seven years. The field was a lot muddier this year than last, he said, taking a break after escaping with help from the backhoe.

 
 

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