Mountain Transit Authority's Mud-N-Yer Eye 4x4 Frolic

By: Harry Wagner - May 2002

The Mud-N-Yer Eye 4x4 Frolic, hosted by the Mountain Transit Authority 4x4 Club, is now in its 26th year. Mud-N-Yer Eye is a family event, attracting all ages of four wheelers. Mountain Transit Authority (MTA) was formed in 1975 and is based in San Jose, California. Although MTA is a Toyota specific club, Mud-N-Yer Eye is open to all makes and models of vehicles. The name "Mud-N-Yer Eye" dates back to 1976 when the event was first held in late winter on sloppy and wet trails. Even though the event is now held every April, the name remains.

People obviously take this event very seriously.

For the past several years the Frolic has been held at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area in California's Gavilan Mountains. The four-wheel drive section of the park, known as "Area 5", is taken completely over by Mud-N-Yer Eye during the weekend of the event. Other areas of Hollister SVRA operate under normal conditions during the Frolic. MTA has a great relationship with park service at Hollister Hills and have been involved in many service projects in the past. Notable contributions include building the stage as well as the cement slabs and picnic tables in Area 5. MTA's next plan is to install a permanent barbecue pit adjacent to the stage.

How often do you see one of these on the trails?

As in previous years, the Frolic was sold out. 247 vehicles were present from such clubs as the Big Boys, Wicked Wheelers, Bay Area Bushwackers, and Fremont F-Troop, among others. There was a disproportionate number of CJ-3Bs, CJ-8 Scramblers, and full-size trucks on 44" tires mixed in with the typical FJ-40s, CJ-7s, and Toyota pickups present at the Frolic. We even spotted a Scout 800, an FJ-45 Troop Carrier, and a Jeepster Commando in the line-up. Much like the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari, many people make Mud-N-Yer Eye the first event of their "wheeling season" every spring. In fact 85% of the people at this year's Frolic were repeat participants, many of whom were eager to test modifications that they have performed over the winter.

Staging and vehicle inspection for the trail ride started before sunrise and lasted late into the morning. The Mountain Transit Authority did a great job with logistics and things ran smoothly throughout the weekend. During the staging, participants had the opportunity to purchase the latest products from Premier Power Welder and 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers, who both had booths set up during the duration of the weekend. Once out on the trail, vehicles were broken up into groups in order to maintain progress. Games were also offered to test driver skill at different sections of the trail, including a plumb bob game and a competition that required passengers to throw balls into a trash can while the vehicle was moving.

In the afternoon, there were different "games" to be found at the Obstacle Course. MTA provided an RTI ramp for participants to check their articulation and vie for bragging rights, which on this day went to Toby Lavender and his awesome CJ-3B. Other challenges included Squeeze Rock, the Rock Garden, the Frame Twister, the Stair Steps, and the Mud Pit. Jessie Bishop of the Big Boys Club once again volunteered his services extracting vehicles from the Mud Pit, and those services were required on more than one occassion. Jessie came prepared this year with a full towing boom on the back of his truck!

Lavender2.jpg TJ2.jpg Stuck.jpg
Toby Lavender maxing out the ramp. A TJ dancing through the Rock Garden. The Mud Pit lived up to its billing.

This year's event only had a few mishaps considering the amount of participating rigs. We counted three flops, one complete roll, one broken window, a thrashed ring and pinion and an engine fire.

A well set-up FJ-40.

Following the main trail ride was a delicious tri-tip steak dinner on Saturday night. Like the rest of the event, the meal was well organized and the line moved quickly. After dinner MTA held their cash raffle on the main stage, which also featured music by the California Cowboys. Marlin Czajkowski even made a guest appearance late Saturday evening after working a full day in the shop. Slung under the front of his truck was a custom 35 spline Toyota/Dana 60 hybrid that Marlin is currently prototyping. We later saw Marlin sitting in the dark with a calculator in his hand and a tailgate full of transfer case parts scattered in front of him. If this was anyone else, we would have been concerned and offered to lend a hand, but for Marlin this hardly warranted a second glance.

Sunday morning brought the kids' raffle, which was a great success and is just one of the many activities at the Frolic to ensure that wheelers of all ages have a good time. Following the kids' raffle was the main raffle, with prizes donated by a variety of businesses, clubs, and individuals. Most notable were the Warn winch donated by Stevens Creek Toyota and the set of Pro-Comp tires from 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers. Other great prizes included Hi-Lift jacks, camping equipment, recovery equipment, and more. The Mountain Transit Authority donates money generated at Mud-N-Yer Eye to a variety of causes. This year's recipients include the families of firemen killed on 9-11, battling the lawsuit to close El Dorado Forest, the Galivan Special Olympics, and the Blue Ribbon Coalition. After the raffle most people started packing up to return home, but the overwhelming majority of those we spoke with said that they would be back next year for the 27th annual Mud-N-Yer Eye 4x4 Frolic.


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