DONNA HARRIS,The Sun Herald
HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (AP) — Pam Chiniche’s idea of clean, family fun is a day of thrill rides through the muddy trails along the Jourdan River.
That’s why she, husband Savie and their 14-year-old son Dakota were the first to pay their admission Saturday at Texas Flat Off Road, a 330-acre park for all-terrain vehicles.
The Pass Christian family were joined by a half-dozen friends who regularly ride trails around the state. Lately, they’ve been traveling three hours to Copiah County to ride at a park there. They were excited to read about Texas Flat Off Road in the Sun Herald, especially because it is only a 15-minute trip for most in their group.
“We wanted something close to home, and here it is,” Pam Chiniche said.
She picked dried mud out of her hair while she and her crew sat on their ATVs in a shady spot and ate sandwiches at lunch time.
She and her husband ride together on a Can-Am 800 XMR. It’s got a 72-horsepower engine. “We call it The Beast,” she said.
Spots of yellow paint peeked through the gray mud on the four-wheeler.
She lets her husband do the driving. She does the hanging on.
Dakota rides his own.
The group agrees mud riding offers the best stress relief after a full work week.
“We can come and let loose,” she said.
That’s why owner Kevin Haas opened the park.
More than 60 riders had come through by noon Saturday. It’s $25 admission with an ATV and $15 to come in as a spectator. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekend.
Haas said everyone seemed to be having a great time on the park’s first day.
Adam Ladner of Kiln, who rides with an ATV team in Louisiana, came Saturday to check out the new place. Covered with mud and sweat, he gave it a thumbs up.
He enjoys the camaraderie as well as the competitiveness of navigating through the twists, dips and turns at an established ATV park.
Riders try to outdo each other on the trails, challenging each other to navigate successfully through bogs and up muddy hills, he said. The fun comes from maneuvering through the natural obstacles better than the riders around you. “That’s what it all really boils down to,” he said.
Someone is always willing to risk getting stuck for a good ride.
In Chiniche’s group it’s her neighbor, Spencer Cockrell.
“He’s our depth finder,” she said of the 21-year-old. “He’ll go in first and we’ll go in behind him.”