FJ Bruisers Spring Mud Fling

FJ Bruisers Spring Mud Fling

As the beloved FJ Cruiser continues to gain popularity, the number of FJ Groups & Clubs have been steadily growing (See FJ Cruiser Groups & Clubs, Page 30). One of the first and certainly most active FJ clubs calls the east coast home: the FJ Bruisers. This great group of people asked us to help spread the word about their upcoming annual event: The Spring Mud Fling.

We asked Josh (the Treasurer for the Bruisers) if he could provide photos and stories from the first Spring MudFling.

First, the photo:

The story:
Vaughn Ripley (AKA: Rip), whose rig, Black Beauty, can be seen in this month's Reader's Rig section, was leading a line of a dozen FJ's through the Dry River Run section of the George Washington National Forest. After pausing momentarily before one of the deep mud holes that can be found scattered all around this section of trails, Rip decided to have a go at the bog.

He started out slowly, smoothly rolling through the nearly 3-foot deep section of swampy water. As he progressed through the morass, which was about 100 feet long, Rip started realizing that the end of the bog was getting deeper than the earlier sections. Applying more gas, Rip attempted to finish the bog off and found that his chassis was grounding in the muck that lay below the innocent surface. After only a few seconds, it was apparent that Rip's Black Beauty was stuck and unmovable. Because his rig is a manual transmission, Rip decided to stop fighting the back-and-forth motion for fear of stalling while his exhaust was submerged.

Looking down at his floor, Rip realized that there was no water creeping in. This instilled a sense of relief as Rip reached for his door handle. Without any warning, the second his door opened, Rip's truck filled with four or more inches of muddy water. Apparently, the FJ Cruiser is considerably more water tight than any of previous rigs! Long story short, Rip fought to get his door closed, but not before filling the entire truck's floor with a muddy mess.

Attempting to quickly mount a salvage operation to rescue the floundering Black Beauty, Ben Meddows (his rig can also be found in the Reader's Rig section this month, coincidentally) pulled his truck around the bypass and positioned his rig for recovery. One problem remained - with Black Beauty's recovery points wholly submerged beneath more than three feet of mud and water, someone was going to have to dive in and hook up the snatch strap.

With the exhaust bubbling and the cabin filling with mud and water, there was no time to consider the mucky consequences - Bruisers member Joe Maiellano selflessly and heroically plunged crotch-deep into the muddy depths. With the sun glinting off his sweaty brow, Joe anchored the recovery strap, and dove out of the way, onto the muddy bank, shouting the all clear. Moments later, Ben yanked Black Beauty free from the mire.

To this day, Rip happily remembers that day in the muck as he climbs into his rig, which still shows signs of the flooding. Fellow FJ Bruisers members also never let him forget that fateful stroll in the mud.

The videos for this epic event can be found linked at and on, simply search for "FJ BRUISERS".

This story gives you just a taste of the type of fun & friendship you can expect from the FJ Bruisers at the 2nd Annual Spring MudFling. Visit the FJ Bruisers forums for more information and to sign up.