Boomershoot mud

Boomershoot was muddy for staff this year. Last fall Barb and I restored the berm with a dozer and planted grass on all the bare dirt. The grass was looking pretty good, for new grass. As soon as we started walking in it, it turned to soup (photo by daughter Kim of her own shoes):

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The targets started out white but after a nearby detonation would become completely covered in mud. One participant called the targets, mounted on the top of 18 inch tall surveyors stakes, “Mud Lollipops”.

Photo by Kim:

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I’m going to have to replant the grass and hope it gets a better chance at survival next spring.

The parking area for participants was soft but not too hazardous. One unexperienced off road person got stuck with a two-wheel drive car but other than that I don’t know of anyone who has serious problems in that area.

At the end of the event when Barb and I were hauling stuff in the trailer back to the shed I was unable to get up a gradual hill:

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It was just too greasy. We carried everything going to the Taj the last 100 feet but still the load was just too much for my vehicle to pull up the hill on that grease. I had to unhook, connect with a chain from 90o, rotate the trailer, hook up directly, turn around, and clawed our way out the way we came. We had stuff in the trailer that needed to go to Boomershoot Mecca (our target production facility) so rather than go the short way through the field we went via the county road.

On the way to the county road we had to cross the field past the staff clean up crew. The field had standing water in it and was soft. Each previous time I had driven across it the Escape slowed and I knew we were at high risk of getting stuck. Getting enough momentum prior to hitting the soft spot was essential and I had to make a wide berth around the staff. When you are in danger of getting stuck you don’t want to be making turns, you want to go fast and straight. I didn’t have that option this time and I blasted past in a wide arc as fast as I dared. I made it past, through the standing water and out to the county road. On our next trip back to the clean up crew Barron approached me and said:

None of us in the group has ever seen someone drifting around a corner with a trailer before.

Hmm… I suppose that is uncommon. But these were uncommon times. After all, with all the mud on the trailer Barb and I used rakes to scrape it off:

 

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Update: Barron sent me a link to his video of me going through the swamp. This is not the instance I was talking about above. This was from a little later in the day:

4 thoughts on “Boomershoot mud

  1. Many years back had that problem with the lower fields at the grandparents’ farm, and had a 2WD pickup to make it worse (4WD wouldn’t have helped – I would have just gotten farther in before getting stuck). Answer was a good set of reinforced chains and a 4’X2′ piece of 3/4 plywood with spaced pieces of 2X6 screwed to it as an installation aid and an added “gravel patch” at the field entrance. 10 minutes to install, about 3 to unhook and drive out of on the way out. A 5 gallon bucket to store them in afterward helps – the chains will be thoroughly coated in mud. (So will you, but that’s a different problem.)

    Grass: You’re plagued with a short growing season. Unless you seed now for Boomershoot 2018 – and it would be better to seed now for Boomershoot 2020 to give grass ample time to get well established and deeply rooted – a little bit of rain will go a long way next year. Don’t know if it’ll work in your climate, but a couple breeds of rye grass – what we used to call “winter rye” grown as cattle fodder, and harvested in late spring before “real” planting began – will grow as long as the ground isn’t frozen and it’s above 32F. You probably have a severe shortage of non-frozen ground Dec-April, though.

  2. The mud lollipops were hard to see, but after lunch, they became distinguishable because the thin mud coating dried, and the lighter brown stood out against the dark wet brown of the mud.

    Then they blew up quite satisfactorily.

    • Don’t give all the credit to Mother Nature. When staff was resetting the targets at lunch time they also wiped the front of the targets for better visibility.

      This was the most extensive testing of the shrink wrap plastic we use for moisture protection we have had. I’m glad it worked out.

      • Indeed. Some of them were totally coated in mud and more than half submerged in water when picked up for the reset, and some were in similar condition near the end, but most of them still went off even then. The shrink-wrap came through quite well most of the time, and very well considering the hostile environment they were treated too.

        I don’t need knee-high boots every year, but when I do, there really isn’t any substitute for them. And I cleaned the trailer off three or four times, too, because the stuff was caked on 4-6″ thick in spots.

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