ATV Mud Nationals Bring Big Bucks To East Texas

It's not nearly as prestigious as the Rose Festival, or as dignified as the Azalea trails.

No, the Mud Nationals cater to a totally different kind of crowd.

It's a rip-roaring, mud-soaking good time riders like Randy Huggins say you just have to experience to understand.

"Once you do it, you'll love it," says Huggins.

Jason Coffel with High Lifter ATV Mud Nationals is expecting ten to fifteen thousand people to flood the park this weekend, because he says it's the best off-roading spot in the country.

"There's 500 acres to camp; 3,500 acres for riding. There's woods. There's terrain for 2WD  bikes. Anybody with an ATV can come to Mud Nationals and have a good time," says Coffel.

Riders from three different countries, and 17 different states are  all ready to have plenty of fun and drop plenty of money.

Coffel says, "The restaurants are full. The hotels are sold out, and it's a really big boost to the economy in Jacksonville."

Lonnie Scaglia and three of his friends drove from Florida to take part. He says as long the Mud Nationals are here, they'll keep coming back.

"There's no place like that we've found in Florida. They've got a lot of mud and real nice folks. It's well worth the drive," says Scaglia.

It's not just a testosterone fest either. In fact, women are the fastest growing segment in the ATV market.

Michelle Lenz explains the attraction.

"You get to do things you're not supposed to do; play in the mud; get dirty; not worry about your hair," says Lenz.

Whether it's the comraderie of a complete stranger pulling you out of a slippery situation, or the chance to hang out with 10,000 of your closest friends,  it's the kind of event that draws people back year after year.

If you are planning to head out to Mud Nationals this weekend, the gates are open 24 hours a day from now until noon on Sunday. Admission is $25/person and $15/ATV.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: