ZookiMelt '03 RockRageThe "Rock Nazi" is finally defeated!!Story By: Bob Norman, Photos By: Bill Johnston
A kinder, gentler Rock Nazi??
Last year's (2002) annual ZookiMelt RockRage saw all competitors falling in defeat to the Rock Nazi. The course was hard, the action intense, and the rigs broken. Nearly all of them......
So, as mean as the Rock Nazi is, he does realize that the competitors are his friends and allies.... and would like to see them enjoy themselves AFTER the competition has completed. So the course was made slightly easier, the rules changed somewhat, and the following concepts adhered to:
- Spectators and safety are still our main concern, so the course will not allow any high speed sections.
- Rules will be enforced, but open for interpretation "on the fly", but not to provide any unfair advantages.
- Try not to destroy 70% of the rigs as in the previous year.
The Rock Nazi, with his trusty course co-designers Graham, Wilhelm, and Yach (good co-Rock Nazi names) laid a sketch of a course across the step in the rock quarry at the Badlands Offroad Park.
The next day, after several Zooks had been playing in the area designated for the Rock Rage, the course was marked and the area closed to vehicles...
...except for the victims...
And then it happened... just like last year.... One iZook volunteer judge transformed into the "Rock Nazi"... "You Vill Not Touch the Markers!" ... "You Vill be Penalized for Backing"... "You Vill not Hang on the Rig During Competition".....And then it all began. One by one the competitors took their shot at defeating the Rock Nazi. Order this year was picked by tire size, ties broken alphabetically. Kenny Crowell Gives it a go first....
And then Mike Hagen with his Tracker. He put on a great show for the crowd by high centering on a rock, then spinning it 90 degrees to the course.... over and over again. Gets an A for effort, but still falls in defeat to the Rock Nazi and his minions.Tim Porter gives it a go and sets the mark to beat by cleverly rolling his vehicle over to mark his progress. Excellent spotting by Lisa!
Zach Kohl gives it a whirl, but falls quickly to the Rock Nazi..... Last year's Open Class winner, Mr. Parker, leads them in for this years Open Class section. The tight gates were widened about 8" to accommodate the larger rigs, but still most fell victim to the crease in the rocks. Mr. Parker put on a good, tire smokin' show, but pointed out.
And then it finally happens. Jason Kemerer and his spotter pilot his ultra-sweet buggy through the course in about 7 minutes! The first ever defeat of the Rock Nazi!Cody Higgs gives it a whirl, but is swallowed up by the holes that Mr. Parker excavated. They bow out like true professionals when they exceed the 7 minute that Jason Kemerer set rather than tear the course up.
J.T Lunn also gets stopped by Mr. Parker's handy excavation. He gets frustratingly close to getting past this point, but also bows out at the time mark.......and then the unbelievable happens. Ralph Painter pilots his dual t-cased Samurai on 32" tires through the course like it's a highway. He ran it out the back door in under4 minutes!! Before the competition started, it was decided that since Ralph had signed up past the cut-off time for registration, if he were to win the final decision would be in the hands of the fellow competitors. They had a tough decision... award the trophy to Jason Kemerer or Ralph Painter. In a show of great sportsmanship, the unanimous decision was for Ralph Painter. I personally think it was because he humbled all the "big guys" with his little rig and go-for-broke driving style and excellent work from his spotter.
Congratulations to Ralph Painter for winning the Open Class Rock Rage!!
Rock Rage is scheduled to return again at ZookiMelt '04, as difficult as ever. Will the Rock Nazi be back? Will he draft the help of Ralph Painter in course setup?
See you next year and find out for yourself... hehehe.