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Mud on the tires

Nickota Motorsports Park gives racers
a place to get down and dirty

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(August 2007) – Combine trucks, mud and racing with friends, family and food and someone is sure to have a good time. That was the idea Tom Matthews and Cleveland Howard thought nearly four years ago when they first decided to buy some farmland in Bedford, Ky.

Mud run

Photo provided

The Bedford, Ky., track has
become popular among racers
who are not afraid of getting a
little mud on their vehicles.

Recently, the longtime friends decided to open Nickota Motorsports Park on their 50-acre Bucks Run Road farm to let everyone enjoy the fun they have been having for years.
Nickota Motorsports will hold a mud run for trucks on Aug. 25. Gates open at 4 p.m., and racing will start at 7:30 p.m. There will be several classes for racers, including street stock, modifieds, and superstocks. Events will include a speed pit and the traditional bog pit, with electric timers for each competition. Admission for spectators is $8 per person, while competition will start at $20 for stocks and $30 for superstock trucks.
“We had over 60 trucks and nearly 400 spectators at our June 23 race,” said Debbie Howard of Milton, Ky. “We were very surprised at how big the event turned out to be.”
Matthews, of Carrollton, Ky., said the concept for the racing facility was born during a motocross camp both men attended with their sons for a week several years ago. Howard’s son, Nick, is a motocross national champion, while Matthew’s stepson, Dakota Parks, is also a motocross racer. The men thought it would be nice to have a place where their sons could continue to practice and have fun, so they bought some land and named the new park after the boys.
“We simply started this for our friends and family to have a good time,” said Matthews.
After they dug a mud pit, they decided to set some benches on a hill overlooking the pit for anyone who wanted to safely watch the action. The spectator spot offers a great view of the competition without any safety worries. Word spread about the new place, and people started coming to watch and join in on the fun. “Every time we plan one of these events, it gets bigger and more exciting,” said Matthews. “So far, everyone has been very positive and encouraging.”
At this point, the facility is very basic. There is a small concession stand, portable restroom facilities and a generator for electricity. All the work is done by family members, including Nick and Dakota, Mathews and his wife, Mindy, and Howard and his wife, Debbie, and their daughter, Kate Howard. Any profits made during the competitions are used to upgrade slowly.
“We are taking steps to grow as interest grows in the track,” said Matthews. “We are letting the people and the sport grow the facility.”
They are now planning for a motocross practice track to be ready for racers by next spring. Matthews said construction on the track will begin this summer and continue over the fall, and more permanent restrooms will be added as financing allows. “We never really planned on getting rich with the idea,” said Matthews. ‘We want to continue to keep everything affordable for families.”
The track held a “Test and Tune Day,” in the early spring. The event was such a success the track is considering hosting another one in the near future. “Sometimes truck owners don’t get a chance to see what their trucks can do until they pay a big fee and are actually competing somewhere,” said Matthews. “At our event, trucks can pay a fee and run all day long to work out any kinks or problems.”
Their goal is to hold four to five mud runs a year plus the practice days. Debbie said mud runs are already being planned for September and October. “The pre-race atmosphere is fun and friendly for everyone, but the competition is still fierce,” she said.
Anyone interested in competing in the mud run at Nickota Motorsports should “just show up and be ready.” A helmet is required for all competitors, and seat belts in the vehicles are strongly encouraged.

• For more information, call (502) 268-5399.

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