Is competitive rockcrawling dead? No way. In fact the sport has spawned a whole new troop of competitors, and though many old names and faces are gone from the scene, the sport has definitely continued to progress. We recently spent a weekend in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains where we watched drivers from all over the western United States compete in the W.E. Rock Western Nationals series finals held at the Donner Ski Resort just west of Truckee, California. In addition to new drivers and rougher courses, rockcrawling competitors have pushed the technology in a new direction. But don't think you have to have the most cutting-edge wheeler to go run with these guys. We saw everything from the latest greatest wiz-bang buggies to 4x4s built in home garages with recycled junkyard parts. Now is a great time to get into competitive rockcrawling as the action seems to be moving from the Unlimited Class where anything goes and into the Pro Modified and Modified Stock classes where the rigs more closely resemble trail rigs. The Pro Modified Class is still being won by experienced wheelers with ultracapable vehicles, but fresh new faces are showing up, learning the ropes, and giving these veterans some competition. If wheeling nasty rocks is your thing and you've always wondered how you compare to some of the best buggy pilots in the country, then check out www.we-rock.cc and find an event in your neck of the rock pile. A week after going on our Ultimate Adventure trip we ran into reader and rockcrawler Jeff Mello "crawling" in the W.E. Rock event. His buggy runs an LT1 V-8 and Dana 60 axles, and the "maniac behind the wheel" upgrade as well.A week after going on our Ultimate Adventure trip we ran into reader and rockcrawler Jeff It looks broken, but in fact the front- and rear-steer axles of Jesse Haines' buggy are part of the reason he took First Place in the Donner event and for the season. It doesn't hurt that Jesse is a fabricator by trade so he knows his buggy inside and out, he has mad driving talent, and his cool-as-ice spotter, Brian Howard, could lead him through a minefield of cones unscathed.It looks broken, but in fact the front- and rear-steer axles of Jesse Haines' buggy are pa Lawrence Karver and Chad Shatto came in dead last in the Stock Modified Class at Donner, but they gave the crowd a good show in their Toyota mini-truck.Lawrence Karver and Chad Shatto came in dead last in the Stock Modified Class at Donner, b If it looks steep, that's because it is. Rookie rock wheeler Nicole Johnson comes off a big boulder in her four-cylinder-powered Pro Modified buggy, and as the rear tires lift she blips the throttle and pulls the front out from under for a tires-down landing.If it looks steep, that's because it is. Rookie rock wheeler Nicole Johnson comes off a bi Reaching for the stars in rockcrawling is very different than it is on American Idol. Brad and Roger Lovell have been competing in their Ford Ranger Truggy for a few years, and they've always done well with a smooth, calm driving style. Of course sometimes that doesn't work and an obstacle will require some right foot action. They finished in Second Place for the event, but First for the Western Series.Reaching for the stars in rockcrawling is very different than it is on American Idol. Brad The Formula Toy Class is a spec class where all the competitors drive similar buggies outfitted with Toyota drivetrains. It puts a different spin on the sport because the rules keep the price of building low and it pits driver against driver based on skill and less on vehicles. Nathan Unruh and spotter Chris Dunbar took Fifth Place in the event and Fifth in the series behind John James and Eric Anderson, who took First. To learn more of the vehicle rules, check out the W.E. Rock website.The Formula Toy Class is a spec class where all the competitors drive similar buggies outf Shannon Campbell almost took out the barrier flags, the crowd, and our photographer with this Evil Knievel stunt maneuver, but his skill and quick reflexes saved the day. In the end those skills also earned him the top spot for the weekend in the Pro Modified Class after some amazingly tight competition. Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!