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What is RBD? To make a long story somewhat shorter, RBD is a birthday party for one of the offroad industry’s coolest cats. Over the years, Ricky Berry of RickyB Photography, and RCV Axles has thrown a birthday party of sorts. Rather than cake and presents it’s been more of a trail riding and rock bouncing wheeling day. It’s evolved from a few friends getting together to go wheeling for a birthday to more than 3,000 rigs taking over Hawks Pride Mountain Off Road Park Thanksgiving weekend. It is quickly becoming a tradition that many attendees simply cannot get enough of. If you have not had a dose of southern wheeling, Hawks Pride Mountain is a great place to start, and RBD would be a fantastic start to see how the south gets down on the trails!
Following the 12hr drive down from Michigan to Hawks Pride Tuscumbia, AL we got ready for the fun, festivities and carnage that is typical of RBD. It was cold this year, and not just by Alabama standards, with temps in the 20-30’s all weekend it had us Michigan folks bundled up. Ricky Berry said people began arriving as early as Tuesday afternoon with most rolling in after the Thanksgiving festivities. By Saturday morning more than 2,000 vehicle passes had already been handed out with another 1,000+ that day leading making for a busy weekend with a healthy mix of Jeeps, UTVs, rock bouncers, Jeeps and other rigs. There were probably 1500 or more UTVs on the property, flying around like the park had fleas. We were in Chubs, our hefty 8-lug swapped 4-door JL, riding on a prototype 6.5” longarm system and some 40” MT Baja Boss’s. While we did drive the Jeep from MI and knew we had to drive it back for work on Monday, make no mistake we put this Jeep through its paces out on the trails and had an absolute blast doing some southern wheeling. This terrain is best handled with a nice mix of line choice, proper suspension tuning and geometry, air pressure and a foot full of throttle to cap it off. You spend most of your day looking uphill, as a lot of wheeling in the south is hill climbs. These are not simple dirt hills though. The south has found a substance that is 10x more slippery than even ice. What is this substance? Wet clay mixed with tree roots and rocks! It can take a 40” tire aired down to 6psi and make it feel like the Jeep is tied to a tree out back. To make it even more fun, the trails are dotted with trees everywhere. Poor line choice and not making a crest of a hill can leave you feeling like a pinball bouncing off trees as you slide back to the bottom for another attempt. Body damage is not a guarantee when playing in the south, but it is not uncommon either.
We avoided the body damage, but made sure to give the Jeep a thorough thrashing on more than a few trails, and even played with some of the UTV ledge climbs. We also spent plenty of time taking in the scene that is RBD. When you have that many rigs in one place, there is bound to be some great spectating. RBD is somewhat famous for having a fair share of rock bouncers in attendance, as many of them know Ricky and run the RCV products. Being that this is not an official competition, and the organized series season is over, this is a last chance to bring out the toys and thrash on them before the long winter. But if you think the big money bouncers are the only ones putting on a show, think again. More famous at RBD than the bouncers are the XJ’s! We all know there is nothing more capable offroad than a beater XJ and a driver that could really care less. Rev limiter popping, tire spinning and plenty of yeehaw were on hand as usual as they took to the trails and the obstacles.
While RBD has long been known for one of the nation’s largest offroad parties, it is quickly becoming known as one of the nation’s largest gatherings of enthusiasts of all things off road. It gets bigger every year, and this year was no exception. We always look forward to seeing friends and family, some time on the trails and maybe seeing an XJ get a good beat down. Until next year RBD, we will try to keep the rubber side down!