WE ROCK Western Series #3 Breaks Attendance Records. Losing Streaks & Vehicle Parts

Paulie, Mellow & Patterson Take 1st Place in Goldendale, Washington Event

Jul. 24, 2006 By Katrina Ramser
Stuck between a rock and a hard place – that hard place often being a pine tree – best described the courses and driver predicaments offered to top competitors at WE ROCK Western Series Event #3 in Goldendale, Washington. From Saturday, July 22 to Sunday, July 23, this event held on high-country terrain off the Columbia Gorge had a record-breaking 7,500 in spectator attendance.

Hot – sometimes humid, sometimes dry, but always dusty and hot – best described the event with temperatures as high as 107 degrees. A mixture of pine, dirt, rock, and talent got worked on the steep hills and tight loop-de-loop courses that competitors have learned to love and hate. Spotters had their work cut out for them this weekend, building endless boulder piles for the buggies to reach over the massive course boulders.

SATURDAY, July 22: B Courses Bruise Egos, But A Courses Build ‘Um Up

Saturday’s Driver Meeting began with an announcement that the Super Modified class and Unlimited would be mixed together to keep the event on schedule. Super Modified and Unlimited ran the A and B courses, with the Stock Modified on the C courses.

Cody Waggoner opened up the day on course B3 with a familiar but new spotter, his father Jim Waggoner. “Just trying something different,” commented Cody on the reversal to go back with his original spotter. After maneuvering through the cones with 45 seconds left on the clock, Cody kept at the throttle to eventually climb over B3’s big-bellied boulders and earn 14 points out of –22 possible. Cody revealed very important information about this particular course: Completing B3 would involve heavy throttle.

Around this time Shannon Campbell was chasing his tail around course B2 for 31 points, which was not the kind of start we know from him. However, average scores for the day on B2 were in the mid-30s. Mazzoni took away 22 points here, but it was Zeller who came in with an unbelievable steal of a –4. This was the overall best score for all the B’s of the day.

Shannon later put the smack down on B3 for 7 points, looking a little white knuckled as he revved himself out of the gate. However, once again Bruce Zeller reached above and beyond the competition for a respectable score of 4 points on B3. Course B3 proved to be a handful for the throttle and served up average scores in the mid-30s. Dean “Iceman” Bullock melted like a scoop of butter off a mound of mashed potatoes, right into a nasty roll on B3, despite Karl’s tremendous strength and will with the spotter rope. There appeared to be no alternative other than going full throttle on B3. This resulted in a lot of sloshing around in the dirt, which only dug more dirt away from the super-sized stones for ever-changing courses. It also took a victim by the end of the day -- Peter Mazzoni for his ring and pinion, which he was able to fix. Amanda Gonzales scored an amazing 20 points on B3.

Shannon deserves to be noted for a score of 9 on B4, which slapped scores of 40 points to the majority of Super Mod competitors. Zeller hugged the banners here and earned a 22; definitely his worst score of the day. The lowest score possible on the course was a –3 with zero bonus points and 3 progress points, but only Shannon came closest with his 9 points.

Tracy Jordan opened up the A courses with a hard back flip on A4 that caused much rubber-necking, becoming a living example of the phrase “between a rock and a hard place.” That hard place was a tree that couldn’t support the slow and painful rejection he received from trying to straddle an extraordinary large boulder.

Jason Paulie swept in for an amazing 3 points on A4, making it look way too easy considering Tracy’s uncomfortable descent backwards. Paulie straddled the belly of the beast and then simply crept himself over the boulder. This score was good news for Paulie, who has been edged out of the top three concerning this year’s WE ROCK Western Series season. Notably, Paulie earned some of the best scores of the day on the A courses with a total of 16. However, it was Troy McDaniel who took A’s top honors for Saturday with a total of 13 points. Zeller was on top of the B courses by the end of the day with a total score of 29, followed by Campbell’s 75, a tie between Waggoner and Brent Bradshaw of 81 points. Mazzoni was next in line with 113 points.

Husband Dustin spotted for Red Bull’s Becca Webster; something fans and competitors alike are wondering will be a continued and/or permanent occurrence. On course A2, the slippery terrain of dusty dirt took Becca’s traction-less vehicle down for a roll. Something of a universal grumble among competitors about this slippery dirt could be heard at the end of the first day.


SUNDAY, July 23, 2006: Courses Send Teams A Packin’ and Timing Out for Upsets

What was great about the start of Sunday’s competition is that outside of the usual suspects, there were some slightly less known competitors who must have felt tremendous hope and pride for their awesome work the day before. We are talking about Troy McDaniel, Kevin Debois, Rick Dermo and Brent Bradshaw for Super Modified.

However, hope was squelched for DuBois and McDaniel, as both competitors timed out back-to-back on the deadly B3 course. Then Troy McDaniel broke an axel on his first course. Mazzoni accurately coined the phrase for the event as, “Bruised egos and broken parts.”

Meanwhile, Cody was pulling up on A3 for –8 points, as Zeller astonishingly timed out on A4. Spotter George Posten felt he had misread the rocks. “We hit it hard enough to bounce and carry the vehicle over, but it didn’t,” he explained. It was not a good start for the team – actually, it was the beginning of the end for Mad Rock Racing. They would later get wedged on their last course only to have the tranny stop working – a course where Jordan earned –18 the day before. And Tracy was pulling in great scores, with a crowd-pleasing performance on B3 – yes, good old deadly B3 – for 10 points.

The Shootout was cancelled due to time and weather. Overall, it was an event where one man’s bad luck became another man’s chance to sneak in for the win. (Unless you are Tracy Jordan, where you can have bad luck on a course and still place second in the event!). Brian Errea in Legends would have taken first, had he not 40’d his last course, which gave Jeff Mellow the win. Dan Patterson took first for the Stock Modified class. And Jason Paulie, along with spotter Travis Wadeson, finally had their first WE ROCK win of the season after sitting outside of the top 3 for too long. Total Scores for Top 5 in Super Modified: Paulie – 56; Jordan – 58; Campbell – 74; Waggoner – 89; Bradshaw – 98. Total Scores for Top 5 in Modified Stock: Patterson – 30; Troy Bailey – 52; Bronsema – 117; Wilson – 123; Trinka – 152. Total Scores for Top 5 in Modified Legends: Mellow – 136; Errea – 145; Bullock – 202; Webster – 205; Ellinger – 228.

Despite the seemingly natural pairing of a place like Goldendale and an organization like WE ROCK, there were rumors running about regarding the City of Goldendale not being too happy about the environmental damage the sport potentially causes the terrain. “We are environmentalists; we’re just not exclusive,” Big Rich Klein explained during one of his frequent commentaries to the crowd. WE ROCK worked hard to educate the 7,5000 in attendance about scoring and the purpose of the sport. That’s right – 7,500 fans came to the Western Series event #3. “We estimate that we exceeded our largest event of 6,500 by a 1,000,” Little Rich Klein commented. Goldendale was also a place to catch some interesting fashion statements. From kilts to cowboy hats, Prada glasses and tattoos – and sometimes all at once –the event had some high fashion. Travis Wadeson and his badly bleached-out mullet drew some chuckles and questioning, but claimed as an inspiration for winner Jason Paulie. And then there were Bruce Zeller’s pants, which is another story in itself – so check out my Off-Road.com August Driver Profile on BZ coming August 2006. Terrible heat, but a great event!


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