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March 20, 2012

Rednecks with Paychecks

Mud pit draws thousands for fun

Saint Jo — Thousands of guests put a redneck spin on Saint Patrick’s Day during the annual Rednecks with Paychecks Off-Road event held near Saint Jo this weekend.

Event organizer Derrick Morse said Rednecks with Paychecks celebrates popular off-road activities.

The highlight of the 550-acre event was, perhaps, organized racing through 200 feet of thick, wet Montague County mud.

The mud racing contests were serious competitions drawing participants from across the county, Morse said.

“We had guys from Amarillo to Oklahoma City to San Antonio to Midland,” Morse said. “We had people from Louisiana and Alabama. We even had one gentleman who was from Washington state.”

Mud racing is big business, Morse said, adding custom-built monster trucks can cost $200,000 to $300,000.

The Redneck event also featured a rock crawling course, a 5-acre, free-for-all mud pit, truck to truck pull-off, camping and helicopter.

Overnight guests began arriving as early as Friday for the gritty two-day extravaganza.

“People like to come out and camp and hang out with their friends,” Morse said. “They do get drunk and they do like to raise hell so we encourage them to stay off the roads.”

Besides entertainment value, Rednecks with Paychecks pumped money into the area economy, he said.

“I’ve heard (local) Walmarts and nearby convenience stores sold out of ice and beer and most of their hot dogs,” he said.

Rednecks with Paychecks also helps support several local organizations.

Muenster Jaycees directed parking while the Saint Jo Volunteer Fire Department held a car wash to raise funds.

Other organizations including the Nocona Booster Club, Saint Jo Independent School District and the Saint Jo Chamber of Commerce sold out of nearly all their concession items, Morse said.

The event is also a major sponsor for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Morse said Rednecks with Paychecks is held each year on private property leased by event organizers. Despite online rumors of violence at the event, Morse said most guests behaved themselves.

“No one was shot or stabbed,” Morse said. “We hired 16 officers from five different counties.”

Morse conceded alcohol helped fuel a party atmosphere at the giant get-together but said fighting, drug use and underage drinking are not tolerated.

“I believe the officers we hired said only 70 tickets were written,” he said.

Morse said he can’t speculate how many guests attended Rednecks with Paychecks but believes the number is well into the thousands.

Performances by nine bands and a free style motocross exhibition rounded out the weekend.

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Rep. Mac Thornberry, left, speaks during Wednesday’s hearing in the U.S. House as the Resources Committee explores the “Red River Private Property Protection Act (H.R. 4979).”

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