*Big Blue's Guide to Raptor Runs*

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Big Blue

Big Blue

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As some of you know, I'm back! :favorites37:

I sold Big Blue two years ago and have jumped into another Raptor. This time, I went with an 18 Leadfoot gray, but still went with a scab. I love the Gen 2, it's better in every way (except the sound), but you get over that real quick once you drive this new Beast.

I got the Truck in December 2018 and immediately signed up for Snoball 2019, which like all previous Snoball's was awesome and loads of fun. It's always great to see all the Raptor friends I have made over the past 7 years and make new ones. GLRE did a top notch job as usual and their annual charity auction was loaded with serious goodies as usual. As I have said before, IMO the two greatest events that have been around and continue to thrive is Snoball and TRR and both should be experienced by EVERY Raptor owner at least once or your missing out big time!

I look forward to hitting the dirt again this spring/summer with my local MDM Group and I plan on heading back down to TRR again this May with a few Chicago crew buds. More posts to come and it's good to be back!


The New Rig:

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Snoball 2019:

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Just got back from TRR yesturday. It's been 7 years since my first TRR and I only wish Texas was closer! Without a doubt TRR is one of my favorite Raptor events. You could not ask for a better proving ground, a more beautiful place or a better host. A few things have changed since my last TRR, but all for the best. I was also super lucky this time around as I went down with two friends which always makes a good time into a great time. We drove down from Chicago in two trucks and rented an RV in Abilene.

The Course is much as I remembered although this time, there was also a short 4-5 mile track, which was actually my favorite. It was virtually rock free and it was awesome. They no longer ask you to rank your driving skill via a number on your truck, but Trey had several drivers meetings where he was clear about driving within your skill level as well as track guidance. As usual, the track was marked exceptionally well for turns and hazards and there were also staff stationed at high risk areas for additional safety. A lot of rain this year, so more rocks than I remembered but also more water crossings and I always love to get my truck dirty!!

The exotic Animal cruise was awesome too. I didn't get to appreciate it as much the first time around as I was solo, but this time around I rode shotgun and WOW! Finished off with a great banquet BBQ and raffle and another successful TRR was in the books. I hope I can get a few more of my Chicago crew for the nest one!!

The Raptor performed like a champ!! I drove it hard and it kept asking for more. No damage, no issues, just a weekend worth of power washing ahead. Thank you Trey and staff for a great event and thank you Keith and TJ for a great trip!

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Think you meant an RV not TV but think you did mention it had a TV in it. :)

Pleasure meeting you again and glad you enjoyed TRR. I haven’t seen running water creek crossing since I have been going there for 6 years, they had a LOT of rain.
 
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Think you meant an RV not TV but think you did mention it had a TV in it. :)

Pleasure meeting you again and glad you enjoyed TRR. I haven’t seen running water creek crossing since I have been going there for 6 years, they had a LOT of rain.

Haha, you are right. I'm impressed when I can write that much with only a few typos. It was great seeing you again Rick and thanks for that tasty burger! I'm sure our paths will meet again. Best regards. :cheers:


Snoball 2020 shot:

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A little late posting, but recently attended the Durhamtown GA offroad park event. Really cool venue and the location is fairly self contained, meaning you can bring a camper or rent a cabin, they have a great restaurant on site, bathrooms, high pressure water stations and gas stations are only around 15 minutes away. They also have mechanics on hand and a store to buy merchandise and supplies.

The trails were closed for this event due to lots of recent rain but there were two tracks open and it was a lot of fun. They are both fairly short tracks, so you will have plenty of time to play on them and get lots of air. Had a great time and would go again.

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John M BUNMAN

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This thread is dedicated to my experiences, comments and suggestions with various Raptor Runs offered through FRF:

I consider myself a serious Auto enthusiast. I have had lots of cool rides, as a matter of fact, since it’s only the wife and I, every car/truck I have owned would fall under the category of “Non-Standard”. Yet, when I got my Raptor, it had a unique effect on me like no other vehicle previously. It allowed me to do things I only thought of before. Example: when I was a kid and watched the Dukes of Hazzard or Smokey and the Bandit, it made me spent the rest of my life wondering what it’s like to get air in a motor vehicle. I could only imagine it to be the best darn roller coaster in the world. Think about it, what percentage of the population will ever get the chance to get airborne (intentionally) and not only walk away, but circle around and do it again…and again!

A few months after I joined this Forum, I knew I would someday have to go on one of these Raptor Excursions. They sounded awesome, but scary at the same time. I mean, these guys are really driving their trucks hardcore off-road and I also use mine as a daily driver/road queen. I had one of those “life is too short” moments, and decided….I had always done things outside of the box, so it’s time to jump in head first. My 2013 New Year’s resolution was to go on one of the available runs.

Needless to say, I didn't stop after the first and I would never have imagined that I would complete 10 Raptor Runs in less than two years!

Snoball 500:
When I read about this Run, I was intrigued. Every other Run previously offered here had the same characteristics; Dirt or Sand and weather temperatures that would not kill you. So when I read about the offering by Great Lakes Raptor Excursions about a 500 mile off-road run in the middle of January around the Upper Peninsula, I thought only a crazy person would consider this. I registered the next day.

A good handful of local Chicago area people had already gotten together a few times for a lunch meet and I was happy to know several were also going. We set up a convoy, loaded our gear and made it to the U.P. The first major memory for me was looking out from the 5th floor of the Casino/Hotel window to the sight of 55+ Raptors all parked together below in the parking lot.

We were broken up into groups of 15 trucks. Each Group has it's own Group Leader Truck and Group Chase Truck. These guys are dedicated to insure that you stayed as a group, they handled any stuck trucks and they made sure we got to the next destination. It's important to follow the "Domino Rule" with this Run. It simply means that you must always be aware of the truck in front of you and the truck behind you. When you come to a turn or intersection, you never advance until you see the truck behind you, that way nobody gets lost. GPS is really not required on this run as long as you follow the Domino Rule. A Radio on the other hand was a requirement. We were constantly calling out hazards and trail directions to each other. I used a handheld with a magnetic mounted antenna and it worked well.

The off-roading was incredible. Driving though hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails covered in a foot of snow through woods and over mountains was a blast. Seeing the look on the faces of snowmobilers as a train of Raptors blazed past them as they lined the side of the trails was priceless. The Run provided plenty of “butt-pucker” moments and the adrenaline was flowing nicely throughout the trip. Even though this was my first Run, I ran Big Blue hard, and she took care of me all weekend. I started moderately, but after an hour or so, I started to powerslide around the corners and look for opportunities to utilize the real capabilities of the Raptor. I found the combination of no traction control and a heavy throttle just what the doctor ordered for plowing through. I never got stuck and didn’t break anything, so I considered myself to be a success!

This was the first run of the Snoball 500 yet Jason, Mark and Heather put this together like they were pros. Everything was organized and structured perfectly. Another bonus was to finally meet all the people from this forum whose posts I had followed for months. What a great group of people. There was an amazing raffle on the last day and even though I did not win the full Icon front suspension they donated, I really didn’t care, because 1) The proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project and 2) I already won by being able to go on this Run. I loved this excursion and will be on the next Snoball!

Aside from surviving the trip and loving every minute, I also opened a can of worms….I was now hooked!

Texas Raptor Run:
I read countless threads about TRR12 and knew this was going to be my next trip. But this presented a new challenge….It was far way. While the Snoball was only a 5 hour drive each way, TRR would be a 20 hour drive each way…I didn’t care and registered the next day.

Unfortunately and unlike the Snoball, I was solo on this trip without any of my buddies from the Chicago crew. I knew that would make it harder regarding the drive since the radio banter during the previous convoy was a riot and helped make the miles pass easier. On top of that, since time was a factor, I also would not be able to have a stopover and would need to drive straight though going and coming home. The idea of being able to spend a weekend on a 42 mile off-road course was amazing. The reality of the impact on a factory truck and then having to drive home 1,000 miles was somewhat scary. But again, Big Blue took care of me.

Certainly one of the cool aspects of TRR is once you get there, you stay there. You can set up and are planted for the whole weekend as everything you need is there. That allows for something that is not practical for moving Runs…Vendors. It was a buyer’s delight. Not only was every major FRF vendor there, but they also provided installation from everything to WSI fire extinguisher mounts to ICON full suspensions. Heck, SDHQ literally had a huge trailer where the entire wall opened and it was a full retail store. They had everything from nuts and bolts to Go-Pros to complete wheel/tire packages. A person could drop some serious coinage at TRR.

A 42 mile Off-Road Track, what else is there to say? Every time I thought about that, I got a silly smile on my face. It was amazing. It was broken into a front section and back section. You could drive the whole track or either section at your choosing. I had this impression that it would simply be a 42 mile “flat” off-road course with a few woops built in, but I was wrong. It offered every element of off-roading that you can think of: Hills, Jumps, Rocks, High Speed sections and plenty of opportunities to do some serious damage. However, Trey and the Ranch staff did an amazing job marking out the course letting you know of turns, normal hazards and serious hazards. Trey made it a point of stating at the drivers meeting that while this is a “track”, this is NOT a race. Passing is allowed but it should be done with respect and safety in mind. You classified yourself into 1 of 3 groups depending on skill/truck level.

Group A; Crazy Driver/Serious Truck (Typically upgraded suspension)
Group B: Semi-Crazy driver/Stock Truck
Group C: While you may have hit the trails before, this is where you probably want to start. Since this is a self-assessment, you can move up if you want to/feel confident. Most folks started in Group C, as did I.

I guess I did OK, since by the time I got to the first check-point, I had already passed 3 trucks and the checkpoint monitor changed my window sticker from Group C to Group Badass. Sweet! The track was awesome and I think I got my first ever air on the last part of the back section. Unfortunately, I did not get it on film so I could not prove to myself I actually did it.

My only damage of the weekend was a bashed in skid plate, but I considered it more of a battle wound than damage and I’m not replacing it for that very reason. The commute to TRR was long, but it was worth it! Aside from the mid-perch adjustment, I have a stock suspension and Big Blue performed flawlessly.

Spring 13:
This was another first offering by Great Lakes Raptor Excursions. This Run would incorporate both ORV off-roading and a trip to Silver Lake Sand Dunes in MI. I had seen a number of videos of trucks getting air there so the combination of the two aspects of the Run was an easy sale. I immediately registered.

Silver Lake was incredible. It’s a 4X4 paradise. When you first get into the park you are faced with the somewhat daunting “Test Hill”. It’s more of a mountain really and to make matters worse, you need to insure you have enough speed to get up it, but not too much power where you lawn dart over it.
Big Blue took one look and gave a smackdown to Test Hill like a champ. As a group, we then proceeded to violate every nook and cranny of the park until we found a perfect section that was secluded and appeared to have excellent jump potential. Boy where we right. Tom (Sitdown) offered his photog skills and picked a spot to take pics of us as we tried to fly by.

One by one, every Raptor nailed the hill and gravity was no longer sufficient to hold our mighty Raptors down. It was just like I dreamed as a kid as I could feel myself getting air and just like an amusement park, I got back in line over and over to enjoy the flight again. However, unlike TRR, I knew it was on film this time! My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when Tom walked over to me and said…”I think you have a new screen saver man!”

Now for the lessons learned regarding recovery:
On my next run up Test Hill I stopped short of the top and dug in. I was literally 10 feet from the summit and stuck up to my step rails. I should have followed Jason’s radio advice and let someone pull me back down, but I was sooooo close to the top and had an offer from a winched Raptor for a pull up. Mistake #1 and lesson #1…When on a steep hill, going against gravity is not smart! Mistake #2 and lesson #2, Always check the tow points of not only your vehicle, but also the guy who is giving you the recovery. I used a shackle on my truck but did not pay attention to the connection point of the recovery vehicle. He used an open hook which snapped and proceeded to projectile through my grill and into the radiator and oil cooler. Luckily, Big Blue is a tough son of a gun and while it did not look pretty there were no leaks and she still let me drive her hard the rest of the trip and all the way home.

Final damage: Replacement Grill , Replacement Radiator, Replacement Oil Cooler, Replacement Air Conditioner Condenser and a nice war wound dimple in the center of my ADD bumper to remind me in the future to always follow the rules of recovery.

We spent the rest of the day and next morning going through some of the best trails/mud holes I have ever experienced. Again, even though this was the first Raptor venue at this location for Jason, Mark and Heather, every aspect of the trip was perfect. Unlike Snoball or TRR, this was a smaller group of only 15 trucks which was really cool as we all got to interact and really get to know each other at camp. I loved this trip and would go back in a heartbeat.

South Dakota Buffalo Run:
Yukon Joe (Joe), Raptorwifey (Nicole) and Huck (Luke) put together this Trip and man did they put together a memory of a lifetime! I don’t know what was more incredible; the scenery, the national parks/monuments or the off-roading? This was also a small group venue with 15 trucks but again, it lent itself for some great bonding and campfire fun. This was the first Run where I had my wife and there were lots of wives and kids on this trip.

I still can’t believe everything we did and got to see in only a weekend. The scenery was breathtaking. The Badlands are truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The diversity of the variations of natural formations is inspirational. Millions of people have driven around the badlands….but very few have actually driven over them. Joe, Nicole and Luke did an amazing job not only organizing the trip but they also managed to pick hundreds of miles of off-roading for us. We hit everything from mud pits to mountain climbs to high speed sections to ORV trail running all while being surrounded by the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

I also had my first Raptor run recovery experience as the recovery vehicle. This time I made sure all recovery lessons were followed and I was able to extract the mud stuck truck without issue.
We spent time at both Mount Rushmore and Crazy horse to add icing to the cake. The combination of these monuments and it being Memorial Day weekend was very special. Both my wife and I had the trip of a lifetime and it will be a shared memory we will always have together.

I highly recommend this trip to everyone and I would love to make this trip again next year.

Havoc in the Hills:

I was really looking forward to this run as Jason provided some insights that this was going to be a real off-road challenge. I figured since I survived TRR, that this would be similar in execution and the experience would be equal.

It wasn't. Havoc in the Hills was easily the most brutal and technical Run I have done to date. I don't want to scare off beginners, but this event will certainly allow you to experience the full capacity of your Raptor and chances are, you're going to bend, break or at the very least, diminish the life of your tires considerably by the end of the weekend.

Like all GLRE Runs, the planning, organization and execution of this Run was spot on! Registration took place at the main hotel and it was a party atmosphere in the parking lot as 70 Raptors from around the country converged into Tremont PA.

First thing in the AM on the first day, we all met at Rausch Creek Park for the days overview. Jason and Mark laid out all of the plans and rules for the track and we started with a "parade" lap, just to get familiar with the course and terrain.

Same plan for the next day too. However, for day 2, GLRE changed the majority of the course so you felt like you were running on an entirely new course.

The "Track" itself.

First off all, no GPS is required for this Run. GLRE did an amazing job of marking the course for direction and laid out banners throughout the course to let you know you were still on the correct trail. The courses themselves were Awesome and Brutal at the same time. Sure, you could run them at Rock Crawler speed, but Big Blue and most of the experienced drivers hit the courses full bore! The track offered everything an off roader in a Raptor could ask for; Boulders, Mud, Dirt, Hills, Boulders, Woods, Trails, high speed sections and....did I say Boulders?? The Day 2 course was ever longer than Day 1, and was equally as challenging.

At the end of day 2, there was also a Night Run on yet another sectioned course. The sight of so many Raptors with what seemed as Millions of Lumens covering the Hills was awesome to see. The next morning there was an extensive trail ride that covered the property including some serious water crossings.

In typical GLRE style, there was a banquet and an incredible Raffle for Breast Cancer Awareness. The grand prize which was a $10k WSI package went to an active service member, which was perfect and the Run raised $15k for the Charity! Awesome!!

Similar to TRR, since we were planted at Rausch Creek for the weekend, it allowed Vendors from around the country to set-up and sell their goods/services. You could purchase just about anything as vendors like Roger and Dawson where both offering their beautiful array of Retrofit Headlights, Jimmy from WSI and Whelen were both offering plenty of lighting, bumper and rack options and Krazy House Customs had a huge offering of everything from suspension parts to jack skids. Food was available both from a Vendor that was on-sight all weekend and Roger who also provided tasty options for the group.

It is also note worthy to express how Awesome our Trucks really are! Rausch Creek had 2 Specialty built Off-road buggies there and were offering rides for a Charity Donation. These rigs were hardcore and built for one thing in mind...Covering the course as fast as possible. Yet, our mighty Raptors definitely surprised the drivers with their capabilities. While these single purpose non-street legal rigs were ripping up the course in around 15 minutes, most of the versed Raptor drivers were covering the same course in about 23-24 minutes. When you consider the huge difference in the vehicles dynamics, only an 8 minute difference in lap times between the two vehicles considering their build differences only proves again how incredible our Trucks really are!!

The social aspect of the run was as great as all the other GLRE trips...Like one big family. Regardless if it was after hours drinking fun or pit help with fellow owners, everyone had a great time.

From a Challenge Factor, this was my favorite Run Yet!!!! I cant wait for next year.


Snoball II:

Just got back from Snoball the other night. Another incredible year in the Snow, and even more than last year!
GLRE made a few changes to this year’s Run. Namely, adding an Extra day and 160 more miles of snowy goodness. I was in Charlie Company again this year, but this time I was the Group Chase truck and my good friend Todd (ShooterAMG here on FRF) was our Lead. We were both excited and nervous at the same time. We were now responsible for the convoy of Trucks and their occupants. It was pretty Awesome, and I think we performed our tasks well. As a group, we were also one hell of a great team.

There were also more Trucks at Snoball this year, which is not a surprise considering registration for the greatest Snow Run on Earth literally sold out in 15 minutes. So we went from 55 Trucks in 2013 to 76 in 2014. There is a huge amount of work when dealing with the Logistics of that many trucks and people, yet everything was organized perfectly. There were more vehicle incidence this year than last year, but the snow was also considerably higher in many areas. Luckily and thank God, everyone made it home safely!

The trails themselves were as great as I remembered from 2013, but I enjoyed this trip more having known so many owners/FRF forum members at this point. It had a family reunion atmosphere at the first night registration and last morning banquet/raffle.

Snoball is a must do Raptor Run without question!! I have been extremely lucky to have done it twice. GLRE kicked ass....Again!


GLRE Spring 14:


This was the 2nd running of the Spring trip offering by Great Lakes Raptor Excursions. As last year, this Run would incorporate both ORV off-roading and a trip to Silver Lake Sand Dunes in MI. Based on DNR guidelines, these Spring trips are limited to 14-15 trucks which makes for a very close group of Raptors. This year we opted to go the Hotel route versus Camping from last year.

Silver Lake was incredible, as always. It’s a 4X4 paradise. While last year is very cold, rainy and windy, this year the weather was perfect. After a good time romping around the place we converged to the same spot we discovered last year which had serious jump potential. To our pleasant surprise, the spot even more ripe this time and we got so much air, I'm surprised we didn't get a call from the FAA for flying with no license.

If you have a deep desire to jump your Raptor, there are few places that will allow you do it it as safely and consistently as the Dunes.

We spent the rest of the weekend hitting ORV trails and getting muddy. There was a lot of rain preceding the trip, so the trails were covered with deep water holes and we had full use of the fun factor.

As usual, Jason, Mark and Heather had the ORV trails mapped out perfectly and the trip was another GLRE success. While entry is very limited, if you ever get a chance to attend a Spring event, jump on it!

I got my best Air yet at this Trip.


GLRE Time Attack:

If you have noticed a trend with GLRE, these guys don't rest on their prior successes and are always striving to come up with new and unique Raptor Experiences never offered before. They sure provided that with another 1st time offering via the GLRE Time Attack.

As a pre-event, GLRE also offered to hit both ORV trails as well as a trip to Silver Lake Sand Dunes for the folks that have not experienced these spots. They were both a great starter to the Race event.

This main event was held at the I-96 Speedway in MI. This is a sanctioned track that currently holds a plethora of race events. The Track was sweet and contained 3 sections; an infield (with plenty of jumps and twists) and oval track (for the high speed section) and the backfield (which was the most technical section of the track loaded with whoops, dips and jumps.

Saturday was an all day practice day. You could run the course as often and as hard as you want. GLRE staggered 3 trucks at a time to allow for good flow. Sunday was race day! The rules were straight forward. You are timed for 3 consecutive laps, no practice, no repeats. Top 5 finishers split a money prize!!!

Mark was responsible for staging and monitoring truck activity while Jason and Heather took care of the race start/finish and timing functions.

It went very smoothly and was a blast. It was very cool to compete against other Raptor owners, especially against experienced and great drivers like Birdman, Wiz, Jimmy, Jordan and Ted to name a few.

The other great thing about this event was the fact that you didn't have to compete for cash and could opt to drive in the Sportsman Class just for bragging rights without the stress of competition which was great as there were a number of first time Event attendees.

The track was maintained by the I-96 staff throughout the event; they had a great food truck, and took great care of us. We stayed at a Hotel only 15 minutes from the track and the evening dinners and after hours parking lot activities were just as fun as the day activities.

In typical GLRE fashion, there was an awesome Raffle for Charity and guys took home their share of goodies, from KC light bars to WSI heavy duty springs to a Magnaflow cat back.

GLRE hit it out of the park again!! I have a feeling attendance was not as high as expected since this was a new event and I imagine some folks did not know what to expect. I predict the registration for the 2015 Time Attack is going to generate a significant increase in interest considering so many people had a blast.

I am also proud and honored to have walked away as the 1st place Time Attack winner with a 3 lap time of 5:04 and a Big Check for $1,400!!! (Which now officially makes me a professional race truck driver!!)

I will be at Time Attack 2015 to defend my title and get muddier!! This is a must attend event!!! (Pics to follow)


GLRE Havoc in the Hills II:

This would be my 2nd trip to eastern PA and Havoc in the Hills. I was really looking forward to this run again because while it can be brutal on your truck, it really lets you experience hardcore off-roading in a full bore environment. The track it self was similar to the prior year, badass and while most of the track was the same, that was OK because it gives you just about every aspect of Raptor fun you could want.

Havoc in the Hills is easily the most brutal and technically challenging Run I have done to date. I don't want to scare off beginners, because you cant learn if you don't go out and play and the fact is, nobody but yourself is pushing the gas pedal so you determine the level of excitement you want to have.

Like all GLRE Runs, the planning, organization and execution of this Run was spot on! Registration took place at the main hotel and it was a party atmosphere in the parking lot like last year.

First thing in the AM on the first day, we all met at Rausch Creek Park for the days overview. Jason and Mark laid out all of the plans and rules for the track and we started with a "parade" lap, just to get familiar with the course and terrain.

Same plan for the next day too. However, for day 2, GLRE changed the majority of the course so you felt like you were running on an entirely new course.

Like last year GLRE did an amazing job of marking the course for direction and laid out banners throughout the course to let you know you were still on the correct trail. The courses themselves were Awesome and Brutal at the same time. Sure, you could run them at Rock Crawler speed, but that's for the Jeep Wrangler guys, not us! Again the track offered everything an off-roader in a Raptor could ask for; Boulders, Mud, Dirt, Hills, Boulders, Woods, Trails, high speed sections and....did I say Boulders, yea that's just PA coal mine hills, there are big rock and little rocks at Havoc.

At the end of day 2, there was also a Night Run on yet another sectioned course. The sight of so many Raptors with what seemed as Millions of Lumens covering the Hills was awesome to see. I think GLRE did even a better job this year with the night run, the course was perfect and the challenge of Havoc in the dark is awesome. The next morning there was also an extensive trail ride that covered the property including some serious water crossings.

In typical GLRE style, there was a banquet and an incredible Raffle for Be the Match, a great organization that matched people in need of medical help with donors. The food and Raffle was great as usual. Lots of prizes and money raised for charity.

Similar to TRR, since we were planted at Rausch Creek for the weekend, it allowed Vendors from around the country to set-up and sell their goods/services. You could purchase just about anything as vendors like Chris from Freedom Motorsports had a full array of just about anything you could need for your truck. RSI and Raptor Retrofit were on hand again and like last year, there was a great food truck on site the entire time.

The social aspect of this run is always a blast. This run started the parking lot party theme and it was certainly not a disappointment this year between the great people, good times and 400 Chicken McNuggets! Another great time was had by all.

From a Challenge Factor, this is my favorite Run!


GLRE Rise of the Phoenix:

Only a few weeks after Havoc and GLRE decided to add yet another new event into their portfolio of events. This run would be located in Steubenville, OH, close to the PA border and be dubbed Rise of the Phoenix. From GLRE's initial description, it sounded like this would provide some great off-roading, but eliminate the rocks found at Havoc and since this course was going to be shorter it was going to be seriously groomed to allow for higher speeds than Havoc...OK I was sold and excited to go.

Registration was at the main hotel, which was only a few miles from the track. There were plenty of restaurants, stores and gas stations all over the area and I was looking forward to checking out the course in the AM after a great bonfire and Band the night of registration.

The "track" was a 4 mile course basically cut out of a section of a scrapyard owned by a fellow Raptor owner. He and his crew spent several weeks grading, widening and making a fun short course Raptor track. While the place is pretty much surrounded by piles of junk, scrap and tires, there were plenty of fast sections, jumps, wooded sections and technical sections. It was a blast and had virtually no rocks. The track was open all day, so you could easily get in a dozen+ laps a day as it only took about 4-5 minutes to do one lap. The prep work on the course was top notch any they have heavy equipment, so the track was mended of our ruts throughout the weekend.

I really enjoyed this track, but based on it's relatively small size, it became a bit boring after a few hours. Even though the track is only a few miles long, it doesn't really have any hazards and thus you can move pretty good. It would be a good venue for a RallyX event.

We had a great BBQ banquet and enjoyed the biggest fire pit on the planet each night along with the standard GLRE night runs, which were awesome. I understand this event will be making a return next year and the sponsor is actually adding another mile of track.

Of course the McNuggets late night high lite of the previous event was matched by an equally awesome Taco extravaganza this time around. Jordan had them in the bed of his truck for weeks afterwards.

As has become a trend, GLRE had everything done on the money from the shirts, to the raffle, to the food. They found another great venue and location.

Your level of fun will be determined by your right foot here. Drive within your limits and like all track events....Take it slow. You have all weekend, don't blow your *** and break something the first time out. The speed will come as you gain confidence and course awareness.



Snoball III [Bravo Lead]:Details to follow...


Big Blue Details:

Folks have inquired about my truck's mods over the years in consideration of the "work" it gets put through. Some mods are invaluable while others were not, so here is Big Blue's data sheet and comments:

(I won’t go into small cosmetic type mod details)

2011 6.2 Blue Flame Scab

Under the hood:

Airaid CAI. Great CAI, no issues, no codes, no water in snorkle.
5 Star Tune. I did have my tranny shifts customized by Mike. Never an engine code.
RPG Power Steering Reservoir. Just installed, so no long terms opinion yet.
Magnaflow Cat-back

Lights:

40" Rigid and 20" Rigid light bars. Amber covers in the winter.
Hood mounted VisionX light Cannons. Amber covers year round.
Raptor Retrofit 50W HID conversion headlights with matching blue paint.

Additional lighting is a requirement if you plan on doing any off-roading at Night. The factory Halogens are crap compared to the pure while light of HIDs.

I would highly recommend Rigid. I had a few broken reflectors in my 20" bar as a result of the above mishap from Spring 13, light still worked fine. I purchased the light bar via internet a year before, had no receipt and when I recalled Rigid, their response was.."Put it in a box and send it back". Two weeks later I had a brand new 20" light bar.

Regarding Retrofit headlights. Unfortunately, these have been an ongoing issue for me. Dawson has been great and his customer service is second to none, but quite frankly, if your gonna go with Retrofit headlights, stay away from the bling like evil eyes and whiskers. They look badass, but they cannot endure the beating of off-roading.

Under the truck:

Yes, believe it or not, Big Blue is running a bone stock suspension as provided by Ford and Fox, with the exception of being on Mid-Perch. I have been in lots of trucks with upgraded suspensions and there is no doubt they have a more comfortable ride in the shit, but based on my 3 years of Raptor driving and the Runs completed, I think Big Blue handles the dirty stuff just fine as is.

The only other mod is a Mag-Hytec Differential Cover and I am running Royal purple in the transfer case, Differentials and Power Steering.

Tires: I started with the stock BFG for like 50 miles and then swapped to BFG Mud Terrains. Had those for a few thousand miles and then swapped to Toyo Open Country M/Ts. I am currently on my second set and just ordered a 3rd set. I have had lots of off-road tires on previous vehicles too and my favorite of the bunch as you can guess is the Toyos. They just rip through everything, yet ride on the road great.

I have a custom made horizontal chase rack that hold my spare, two 5 gallon fuel jugs, a shovel, axe, fire extingisher as well as a bed mounted jack and skid. I also have a Retrax cover to protect/secure the bed.

Interior:

The only mods worth discussing is my built-in Radio from GLRE and I use an Ipad with MotionX for off-road GPS. The Radio is a required item if you are going to do any off-roading. I started with a handheld, but the 5W power just can't compete with the 50W-60Ws you get with a built-in. While the Ipad is not a mod per say, I mention MotionX as I have used this off-road GPS source on every run I've done, and it's awesome. I would highly recommend both.

I am planning on adding a Lowrance 7 Gen 2 touch in the near future and will report on that. It will be installed/operational for Snoball III.

[Thank you for the idea of adding this Section Joe! It was a great idea.]


A few Thank You’s:

Thank you FORD for making the most badass truck in the world. It conquered every Run and kept asking for more. It took every challenge Mother Nature could come up with and laughed in return.

Thank you to Jason, Mark, Heather, Trey, Joe, Nicole and Luke for putting these Runs together and giving me something to treasure for the rest of my life.

Thank you to Tom, Scott, Keith, Miranda, Chris, Pat and Mark for all the great pictures and video. You guys have given me incredible memories that will not fade with time.

Thank you to all the Forum Vendors that provided so much support and donated items on every excursion. Your contributions are invaluable to the Raptor community.

Thank you to this Ford Raptor Forum for providing a place for nuts like me to learn all the things that I have over the years and for providing a central place for these excursions to be provided/discussed.

Thank you to all the great friends I have made on these trips, especially the local Chicago crew members that I have been fortunate to enjoy multiple Runs with.

Thank you to my wife Jennifer for supporting my crazy hobbies and being a great co-pilot. I hope you join me on future Runs!

Thank you to BIG BLUE for taking such good care of me (and my co-pilots) on 10 FRF Raptor Runs and over 15,000 miles of Raptor Excursions in less than 2 years and asking for more! You will never know another owner! I love my Raptor.

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Big Blue II the next chapter (Yes, I know it's not blue) haha

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OUTSTANDING thank You for Sharing
I will have to contact you on organizing a Run out in Vegas. Lots of hotel rooms and lots of trails
 
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