Mud Drags race back into town

Jeeps make a good showing at the second annual Mudfest drag races Saturday, Feb. 17, in Anza. Breana Schmidt photo

The morning of Saturday, Feb. 17, dawned bright, mild and peaceful. But it was not quiet for long at the second annual Mudfest drag races as the participants tuned their engines and prepared their machines for an assault on the oozing mire that made up the 240-foot track.

Vehicles of every description presented themselves for the event, from dirt bikes, quads, SUVs, Jeeps and RZRs, to 4x4s, 2x4s, pickup trucks, Jeeps, buggies and sand rails.

A record crowd attended the gathering, rooting for their favorite drivers and enjoying the brilliant day.

Sponsored by Schmidt’s Ranch Services, Rodney Bourgeois Pump Service and Southern California Buzztail Preservation, the Mudfest was an enormous success, collecting and donating an impressive $2,000 toward the medical expenses of a deserving little girl. Kalianne Babcock, who suffers from childhood hip dysplasia, faces additional surgeries, and the funds will help her family face the huge costs involved.

“We had close to 600 people in attendance,” event organizer Johnathan Schmidt of Schmidt’s Ranch Services said. “The Axle Benders Off-Road Club participated this year, which made up about a third of this year’s racers.”

Winners of the event were announced. Jerry Rodriguez came in first place, with David Stone second and Weston Holzer third.

Sgt. William Hamlett was honored with a special plaque at the start of the event. He enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in 2001 and was medically retired in 2015. He served three tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan where he received a Presidential Unit Citation Award and Navy Commendation Medal.

Hamlett suffers from a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, a severed Achilles tendon, damaged L1 nerve, left hip and right knee and the loss of some mobility in his right arm. He and his family reside in Lake Riverside Estates.

“It was amazing to see a community come together, kids riding their bikes around while some good old fashion mud drags took place,” Hamlett’s wife Krystle said. “We are so grateful for everyone’s welcoming of my husband, Sgt. Hamlett, to the community. Can’t wait to see what is in store for next year.”

Vendors set up to serve the fans. Food and informational booths were in good supply. The local American Youth Soccer Organization group greeted interested parents.

“AYSO had a small concession stand to help raise funds for this year’s soccer league,” coach Garrett Dunn said. “It had a lot of interest from parents who had no clue that there’s soccer on the hill. While the booth unfortunately didn’t raise a lot of money, interest for getting kids into AYSO was a success, so that in itself was worth it.”

Excited fans took to social media to express their race experiences and share pictures of the event.

“Just left the mud drags. It was so much fun. Well worth $10 admission. If you are a vendor of food, drink, snacks, etc., you should consider the next event. This was very well attended. Kudos to Johnathon and everyone who helped. We had a blast!” Elaine Miller said on the event’s Facebook page.

“Shout outs to Stew ‘Angry Red Rocket’ for the amazing fly-over and stunt show during our national anthem,” Schmidt said. “R & R Restoration, Tyler Anderson, Matthew Bergman and Nick and Mia Schmitz and my amazing wife and daughter for all the help. Thank you Greg for track prep and table donations, Brian Bogner for the land and so many more that I’m not forgetting, just too many to name.”

The end result of all the hard work by so many people was a fine day of fun, mud and machines. Next year promises to be even bigger and better, Schmidt said.

For more information on the next Mudfest, call Johnathan Schmidt at (951) 961-3332, email at or visit

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