HAVOC 4: West Coast Trucks, East Coast Wheeling

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Recently we found ourselves on top of a jump in the middle of the Phoenix Off Road Park in Steubenville, Ohio with 6,000-pound trucks bellowing out 6.2-liters of noise in the distance. We were on that hill to catch the 4th annual HAVOC event hosted by the Ford Raptor Forum and Great Lakes Raptor Excursions. Great Lakes Raptor Excursions (GLRE) was founded in January 2013 by Jason Kanakry, Heather Kanakry, and Mark Rowe which hosts several events for Ford Raptors throughout the year including their signature event, The Snoball 500.

Jason Kanakry, the founder of Great Lakes Raptor Excursions, jumping with ease over one of the large hills on the course.

This year’s HAVOC saw the participation of 55 trucks consisting mostly of Ford Raptors and other trucks capable of 11 plus inches of suspension travel. These machines tackled some of the toughest terrain in Ohio on a 5.8-mile course that included jumps, mud, loose gravel, hill climbs, and high-speed sections tailored to test the abilities of both truck and driver.

Courtney Myles (left) makes a quick belt repair as Raptor owner Brad Raymond watches the track for oncoming trucks. Brad Raymond (right) landing smoothing after tackling the large jump at HAVOC 4.

Also on site at the Phoenix Off Road Park was a full-service shop complete with smiling faces during times of carnage and plenty of heavy equipment to safely remove disabled vehicles from the course. As we heard the next truck coming closer we prepared ourself for the scream of the motor and the impending launch of a big truck on big tires and a heavy landing. We captured these trucks catching big air and landing, sometimes, with a sickening noise almost always mistook for breakage.

David Pichla flying over the largest jump on the HAVOC course.

In our head, we knew that all of the trucks out here were set up for this type of run. Whether it was a stock Raptor or a built prerunner these rigs were ready to hit the trails. However, the noise a vehicle makes after hitting the ground following a big jump can make you think otherwise.

Melani Bracey (left) fishtails off of a jump into the woods. Heather Kanakry (right) rides passenger as Keith Mandoske races down one of the high-speed areas on the HAVOC course.

After getting some great shots we headed back to the infield area where truck owners and their families meshed together in a community oriented celebration of all things off-road. HAVOC 4 had a vendor row for sponsors with some of the biggest names in the offroad industry. All of these generous sponsors contributed to a great event. Attendees were able to learn from fellow off-roaders and get new product information from vendors.

On Saturday, the final night of the event, there was a bonfire, a catered BBQ dinner, and a raffle. Raffle items included things such as bumpers, lights, bump stop kits, brakes, and gift cards to various off-road organizations. Proceeds from the raffle are then donated to charity. This years chosen charity for proceeds from the raffle was, Be The Match. This organization provides support to those with certain blood-borne cancers and helps match donors to those in need. HAVOC 4 raised over $5,000 to help support their efforts.

Stefan Asseg takes on the challenge of just one of many hill climbs on the 5.8-mile course at Phoenix Off Road Park.

If you’ve been looking for fun, family-friendly events with great causes to support this is certainly one organization to watch. Check out the Great Lakes Raptor Excursions Facebook page or website for additional information on more upcoming events.

About the author

Christie Materni

As a photographer, and self-proclaimed "magic maker" for over 12 years, Christie loves to create anything from amazing images to great chocolate chip cookies. Traveling the country with her camera, husband, and sometimes a dog, in search of fast cars and tough trucks is her favorite way to spend the day.
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