The Hawaiian Hotties were determined to tackle Full Metal Mayhem in style.
Billed as a body-damage-guaranteed event, Full Metal Mayhem is an indoor obstacle course designed to lay a beating on any 4X4 and is one of the big attractions at the Canadian OffRoad Expo that took place at Westerner Park on the weekend.
The mud on Andrea Cardwell’s face couldn’t hide her grin after tackling the obstacle house with Mike Wattie on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s pretty fun,” said the Red Deer woman, standing in a grass skirt next to their 4X4, which was decked out with a cardboard hula dancer and plenty of grass fringe.
“We had all this extra (stuff) from my birthday party so I said we’ll just use it again,” she said with a laugh.
“They told us we were supposed to have a theme for our rig.”
And the Hawaiiian Hotties were born.
Wattie, also of Red Deer, said he picked up his rig off a website. To get it ready, he cut off the back, added bigger tires and installed a roll cage.
“Two nights with a sawzall and a sledge hammer” is how he described the not-so-delicate operation to transform his vehicle. “I pulled out all the glass for safety and away we go.
“We’ll see what I have left after tomorrow,” he said. “It’s held up better than I thought it would.
“I’ve got a very heavy foot. My throttle position is on or off” and nothing in between.
The two-day, five-race event pits vehicles that can’t have a resale value of more than $2,000 in a battle to see whose ride holds together the longest.
There are cash prizes for the top three survivors.
Sean Steil was elbow’s deep into wheel repairs between races. “Broke the top steering knuckle.”
Luckily, there was someone handy with a welder nearby and he was about to put the wheel of his 1985 Toyota 4-Runner with a V-8 Chevy drive train back together.
A self-confessed gearhead since he was 15, Steil wasn’t in the official Mayhem contest. The 32-year-old just brought his truck out to give his relatives a taste of his hobby.
“I’ve got a lot of family in the audience. I want to show them what I do on weekends.
“We’re just here to put on a show.”
Asked if the rest of his clan were horrified or impressed, he grinned, “maybe a mixture of both.”
Steil, who lives in Olds, said he frequently takes the truck off road. He takes a cooler and lunch and heads out for a “nice drive in the country.
“This is the alternative to the ATV thing. Actually, I consider it a little bit cheaper.”
He has four 4X4s and two dune buggies at home. His seven-year-old son just got his first dune buggy last Christmas and he’ll take his four-year-old daughter for slow rides around the campground.
“It’s definitely a family thing.”
The OffRoadExpo was a big draw for those who live their machines and the great outdoors. Dozens of pickups, dirt bikes, quads, ATVs and assorted equipment were on display at the trade show.
A riding arena was turned into a track to test out ATVs and there were also demonstrations of motorized remote controlled cars.