Some days you’re trying new things, others you stop to enjoy the view, and thenthere are the days you stumble on the trail and your biggest accomplishment is just picking yourself up and continuing on...
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We’re no stranger to big ideas, but hosting our first competition to celebrate our one-year anniversary was something new… and frankly a little intimidating. We can’t thank everyone enough that came out to support, have fun, and try their hand at taking home some of the prize money!
Some of the tables set up prior to tech. Photos courtesy of Antonio Fajardo
For those who couldn’t make it out: Saturday, February 26, 2022 was our first Anniversary Competition at RC Field Days. The weather may have turned on us, but we have some awesome drivers that stuck it out despite sleet and freezing rain moving in mid morning.
After allowing time for everyone to get registered, drivers took their rigs through tech. With the common denominator of 1.9 wheels/tires, the classes were split by rig height. We used a wooden frame set with a height marker to sort classes. If the rig hit the top, they qualified for the easy class, but let’s go ahead and set the record straight… “easy” was relative. There were still tricky spots, but fewer roll hazards than the hard class.
We had an awesome group of drivers. Photos courtesy of Antonio Fajardo.
The competition started with a brief drivers meeting and the easy class lining up to tackle their line on the Rock Wall Challenge – the longest course of the day. The opening obstacle was a make or break spot for many rigs and saw more than a few make a less-than-graceful tumbling exit on their return run. A clean run on this course set you up to contend for the overall top honors.
Drivers had the added challenge of dealing with muddy tires. We received roughly 6 inches of rain during the week prior to the competition! Photos courtesy of Antonio Fajardo.
The larger group split up mid-morning with the easy class moving to the woods while the hard class worked their way across the rocks. The second competition area was set in the Boneyard with the line loosely following the regular roped course before pulling in new obstacles. The easy and hard lines started with the same twisting entrance, but followed very different exit paths.
The final course of the day was on the other side of the property in the Chutes and Ladders area. This wildcard competition area often came down to lining your rig up for tight lines crossing narrow bridges. The easy and hard classes ran the course from opposite directions, allowing obstacles to challenge rigs in different ways.
A few of the door prizes given away. All registered drivers were entered into the drawings. Photos courtesy of Antonio Fajardo and Craig Davis
We appreciate Family Hobbies and Mach Speed Hobbies for donating gift cards, Pitbull Team Driver Craig Davis for providing swag and additional door prizes, and the incredibly talented Antonio Fajardo for sharing his photography skills during the day. We are thankful to be part of such an awesome RC community!
And the announcement everyone is waiting for… (cue the applause)
Youth: Overall Winner (lowest combined time of the day): AJ Graves
Rock Wall Challenge:
Chutes and Ladders:
Easy/Taller Rigs): Overall Winner (lowest combined time of the day): Josh Paul
Rock Wall Challenge:
Chutes and Ladders:
Photos courtesy of Antonio Fajardo
Hard: Overall Winner (lowest combined time of the day): Levi Page
Rock Wall Challenge:
Chutes and Ladders:
Photos courtesy of Antonio Fajardo
It was a long, cold day, but we had a great group of drivers make the best of it. We’re looking forward to hosting another competition later in the year… in warmer weather. We won’t give the details away yet, but expect it to have it’s own twist.
The countdown to February 26, 2022 and our Anniversary Competition is on! We’re excited for this special event and want to share a few more details with everyone.
All courses will be open until 5 pm. Competitors are welcome to stay and play after the competition. Have a friend or family member that wants to come out? Spectators are welcome, but all drivers will need to register. Remember, all registered drivers will have their name entered into the door prize drawings! We will be giving away tires, accessories, and two Family Hobbies gift cards (valued at $50each).
All rigs need to be running 1.9 or smaller wheels. We will not be following SORRCA or scale rules. Bring your rig the way you would run it any other weekend. We will be dividing entries into two classes upon our own system announced the day of the event to prevent anyone from trying to modify their rig to take advantage of the classes.
There will essentially be three classes: two regular classes and youth. The youth class will be open to youth 12 and under.
The competition will be split into three separate courses, allowing us to award cash prizes for each course as well as recognize a “Best Overall” rig/driver.
Rock Wall Challenge – This will be the most technical course of the day. A section of the rock wall will be marked out and competition rigs must have all four tires pass through all gates. There will be different routes for each class.
Boneyard – This roped, woods course is a local favorite, but we’ll be switching things up for the competition. A section of the Boneyard will be marked in a different color and we’ll be asking competitors to tackle a line they’ve never run before. Plan on open trail where you can gain some speed, but approach the natural rock climbs with caution. If a tire crosses the ropes you’ll need to back up and try again.
Chutes and Ladders – This is our wildcard. We’ll have a loop marked where you’ll need to climb a limestone boulder and descend using twisting metal ladders. This course can really shake up the leaderboard!
At RC Field Days, we’re all about getting outside and having fun. We’ve met a lot of great folks over the last year and spent more hours than we can count laughing and cheering others on along the trail. So as we approach our first anniversary, we wanted to plan something special.
We figured, what better way to celebrate a year of RC shenanigans, than to encourage a day filled with them? With this in mind, we created an event designed to be fun and highlight some of our courses with a few curve balls thrown in. Can you tell we’re pretty excited about our first-ever Anniversary Competition?
Here’s the deal, we don’t want this to be your average RC competition. Sure, there will be challenges that will test your rig and your ability as a driver, but this event is also focused on what we love about RCs… the sense of community and enjoying your time outdoors.
While we won’t be giving all the secrets away before the event, I can share a few…
Plan on three diverse courses. No rig will be perfectly set up for all three, helping to level the playing field a bit and spread some of the prize money out. We will announce the best overall for the day, but each course will also have a payout for first and second place in each class.
Come ready to cheer along. We love watching people stick a line or make a climb that we’ve struggled with. With this in mind, the courses will have spectating areas – they will not be closed.
We encourage families to get involved in the hobby. We created a special youth competition for this reason. The youth competition will utilize two short courses not involved in the main competition. Expect to see some kids enjoying themselves, whether running an RC on a course near the competition, jumping on the trampoline, or hanging around the rope swing.
Consider this your official invite. Get your crawler ready and join us to help celebrate a year of fun at the farmstead.
Tennessee is full great places to run RCs. Whether you are into racing, bashing, crawling, or scale trail drives, there are plenty of options around. We are often asked about good places to take RCs out, especially during the week and for those who are just getting into the hobby. Whether you are new to RCs or are just looking for new places to go, check out some local favorites below.
Note: This list was compiled from our own experience and those of regular visitors to RC Field Days.
* Burgess Falls, Sparta, TN – short hike with multiple waterfalls. Take the stairs down to the top of the big falls at the end for flat rock creek and water crawling. There is a short side hike with bluff overlooks and additional trails behind the playground area.
* Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Lebanon, TN – check out the trails behind the nature center and the creek bed in between the camp grounds and playground.
Chickasaw Trace Park, Columbia, TN – this park has both a radio control flight field and a well designed radio control car track.
* Jim Warren Park, Franklin, TN – popular youth sports fields, but you can also find trails and boulders.
Music City RC, Nashville, TN – Nashville’s only indoor RC track, located within Music City Indoor Karting around back.
* Narrows of the Harpeth, Kingston Springs, TN – There are three hiking trails that start near the park entrance. The bluff overlook trail includes a steep ascent to a narrow bluff offering hikers a panoramic view of the Harpeth Valley. A half-mile trail along the backside of the limestone bluff leads to a small waterfall and the site of one of the oldest man-made tunnels in existence today.
* Old Hickory Dam – the dam is popular, but there are also small rocky areas at many of the boat access sites and public recreation areas like Rockland Recreation Area, Sanders Ferry Park, Shutes Branch Recreation Area, Lock 4 Park at the mouth of East Station Camp Creek, and Little Cedar Creek Recreation Area.
* Percy Priest Lake Trails – While you can crawl around the lakeshore and by the dam, it’s also worth checking out Hamilton Creek Recreation Area and the Twin Forks Horse Trail that runs along the shoreline from Walter Hill Dam to Nice’s Mill Recreation Area.
RC Field Days, Smyrna, TN – Outdoor RC courses with a mix of natural surface, rock trails, and man-made obstacles. Crawling and bashing areas. Open the first full weekend of the month plus special events.
* Rock Island State Park, Sparta, TN – this heavily visited State Park has plenty of rock features and waterfalls. Best visited in the off season to avoid crowds.
RRW Krawlzone, Sevierville, TN – while not in our greater Middle Tennessee area, this one is worth checking out when visiting East Tennessee! They are open Wednesday through Sunday plus special events.
* Winding Stairs Park, Lafayette, TN – plan on elevation changes and stairs on the way back to the vertical cascades.
*Our state and local parks are easily accessible and do not charge for entry, but they are not designed as an RC park. While RCs are generally tolerated at state and local parks, be responsible and respectful.
Be aware of flying discs in disc golf areas and be prepared to yield to mountain bikers, equestrians, and others on trails. Minimize damage to plant growth, especially after heavy rains.
When visiting State Parks, policy generally allows for the use of portable electric, and other, engines in developed and public use areasas long asnatural resources are not impaired and that no undue interference with public enjoyment of the park area will result.
Some parks, especially during their busiest seasons, lump RCs in with skateboards, segways, scooters, and “like recreational equipment.” These items are prohibited except in locations designated by the Park Manager by the posting of appropriate signs.
As we approach the end of 2021, we can’t help but look back on the year. And what a year it has been! New Years Day 2021 we had the crazy idea to open RC Field Days on our farmstead in Smyrna, Tennessee. Not knowing what the reception would be (or if people would enjoy the same trails and challenges that we did) we spent our weekends clearing roots, trimming branches, and moving rocks.
We launched in February 2021 with just four courses and have continually opened new areas and added obstacles throughout the year. As we wrap up 2021, we now have a dozen different areas to explore:
Property Line Trail (full 1/2 mile loop coming Spring 2022)
1/24 Scale Trail
Route 21 Rocks
New Work Area (official name coming soon)
We’ve hosted holiday-themed special events, scavenger hunts, and had a blast with our RocktoberFest Night Crawl and Bonfire. Best of all, we’ve met some really awesome folks in the local community.
If you haven’t been out yet, we invite you join us at RC Field Days in 2022! We are taking New Year’s weekend off to spend time with our family, but if January presents us with a fairly nice weekend, we’ll open for those who don’t mind some cold weather crawling. We will reopen for our normal first full weekend of the month Open Crawl schedule in February.
Ready for the big news? We’ve been asked a few times about hosting competitions. While it just wasn’t in the cards for this year, we’re planning an RC Field Days Anniversary Competition in February to celebrate a year of fun at the Farmstead. We’ll be sharing all the details soon, but plan on a couple of classes and three courses for the day (the Rock Wall, the Boneyard, and one set in our newest area). Each course will be timed individually with set penalties if you need assistance to flip back over during your run. Prizes will be awarded for the lowest time on each course and a grand prize for the lowest combined time of the day in each division.
Bounty Hill is definitely a local favorite. But if you’ve read some of our blog posts, you may remember that when we started creating RC Field Days it was all about the rocks.
You see, we started with a Losi Nightcrawler. With surprising suspension travel and stability, they’re a ton of fun on the rocks. It only made sense to create trails that would play to those strengths and challenge us as drivers.
But as we began to build on the idea of a family-friendly RC park for our local community, we had to think about more variety. We saw the popularity of bashers at our local hobby shop and saw the excitement around the new Axial Ryft. So when we received a special request to create a hill climb for rock bouncers, we jumped at the opportunity. Who doesn’t love a hill climb?
The real challenge was how to create it. Topsoil is a premium on our cedar glade property and creating a hill large enough to be fun was going to take a lot of material.
In the end, we mixed some large boulders and old tires into the base of the hill to help provide some bulk and support. We knew erosion would change the dynamics of the hill with use, but pulling the top layer of soil off and exposing rock or rubber would only add to the challenge.
The Many Faces of Bounty Hill
There are multiple approaches to Bounty Hill. The “front face” is what you see first when you walk up from the check in area. It faces east and has some gnarly lines.
Not quite ready to start there? Try the north side (the side facing the rope swing) – while loose, it’s not as tall as the front face.
Have a scale truck or rock crawler that may not have as much speed? Follow the top line of the Rock Wall Challenge. You will approach Bounty Hill from the south for the shortest path to the top. Once you’ve conquered that, try the back (west side) of the hill. The back face has some large exposed rocks mid-way up the climb that really help traction.
While the original request had come from the perspective of rock bouncers, Bounty Hill has proven to be a welcome challenge for a wide variety of rigs. We’ve sent our ARRMA Granite up the front face alongside a Traxxas Slash on more than one occasion and watched a Redcat Shredder launch off the top earlier this month.
Bounty Hill is one of those obstacles that’s constantly evolving. Rigs dig holes, the rain washes loose dirt, and on occasion we add a new scoop or two of fill over the top. Rock crawlers, rock racers, bashers, short course trucks, monster trucks, stock vehicles, competition rigs, and everything in-between are welcome.
Looking for an extra challenge? Just add water. We’re happy to wet Bounty Hill by request, but be forewarned – it’s a whole different animal.
We want to see the local RC community grow… and more importantly, for folks to come out and have a good time. Have a special request? Something you’d like to see? Let’s chat the next time you’re out. We’re always open to new ideas!
RC Field Days started out of a family hobby discovered during the 2020 quarantine, but it has become so much more. Our Open Crawl weekends are something we look forward to – a chance to connect with friends, appreciate the outdoors, and meet new folks who enjoy challenging themselves.
We opened for our first Open Crawl in February 2021 with the goal of creating a unique outdoor recreation spot. We love where we live and wanted to share a small piece of that with others while providing a place where families like ours would feel welcome and encouraged to grow their skills in the RC world.
In the six months since then, RC Field Days has helped celebrate holidays, birthdays, and even had the privilege of being part of a honeymoon. We’ve welcomed families, lone rangers, crawling groups, those brand new to the sport and competition rigs. (And while I love seeing the diversity of crawlers, it’s the people that make RC Field Days great.)
No matter the time of year, we like to find ways to get outside and have fun. On frigid February weekends, we have the bonfire going to warm up between trails. In the heat of the summer we spend more time on our wooded courses, enjoying the shade and cooler temperatures. Around here running RCs is an adventure for all seasons.
Every Open Crawl is different. It’s not just because we’re always moving rocks and making new lines – there’s a social aspect to the weekend. There’s room to roam, but the opportunity to run with others if you choose. And more often than not, if you’re running the Route 21 Rocks, the Rock Wall Challenge, or Bounty Hill, someone will meander over to watch, run with you, or celebrate when you stick a tough line.
RC Field Days is still an extension of our hobby. We are open the first full weekend of each month and the occasional special event. The limited schedule allows our family to preserve time to work on Farmstead projects, visit extended family, and take the occasional trip. Whether you live just down the road or travel across state lines to try new trails, we truly appreciate every person who comes out, shares part of their story, and enjoys some time exploring the courses at our Farmstead… if you haven’t made a trip out yet, we look forward to seeing you soon!
Have you heard the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup? Well, this weekend I was able to refill my cup a little. I carved out time to indulge in a conference that fuels my passions. The weather turned out perfect, despite the sunburn on my neck reminding me today that a wide-brimmed hat would have been advisable…. (Anyone else get their first burn of the year this past weekend?)
I don’t think it’s a secret, but being more sustainable on our farmstead is one of those topics that really resonates with me. I’m a huge proponent of encouraging families to reconnect with the natural world around them. To learn more about the unique environments in which they live, embrace the diversity of native plant and animal life, and reconnect with the food they use to nourish and enrich their lives.
A good friend invited me, so there was the added bonus of spending time together and sharing ideas, hopes, goals for our own farmsteads. It was one of those events where you can’t help but be present and fully engrossed. I left feeling revitalized, with a renewed dedication to goals I had put on hold as life has gotten in the way lately.
I want to share something, though, that has been weighing on me lately.Consider it a confession, of sorts.
A speaker Saturday asked how many people there “live in the country.” I raised my hand, thinking about the fresh asparagus, radishes, and sugar snap peas I relish every spring from our early gardens and envisioned summer evenings on our front porch, listening to the sounds of our farmstead after the work of the day is done. I added notes to my mental to-do list about how we need to get the tractor out and blade the hill on our gravel drive again after the last heavy rain, how the pond levee is still leaking, and that we need to start processing some of our downed trees to keep our woodstove going this winter. I thought about how our livestock guardian dogs protected our goats from a bobcat earlier in the week and the wild turkeys that come in to stare at our domestic birds.
But then I looked over at my friend, who has a very similar property. Her eyebrows went up, almost questioning… or was I just imaging that? In that moment, I remembered that technically our farm is squarely set in a rapidly growing suburban area. Based on address alone, you would never consider us living in the country.
And this is where my conundrum lies. Does “country” have to mean rural? Let’s talk about the dichotomy.
While my husband and I both grew up in much more rural areas (his hometown had a population of 114 in the last census), we are far from rural these days. We have five feed stores and dozens of grocery options within a 30-ish minute drive. I’m 22 miles from the nearest international airport and have the address of a small city (home to roughly 50,000 people) on the outskirts of one of the top 25 most populated cities in the US. There is no denying the convenience – and traffic – in this area.
But that doesn’t tell the full story, does it? Our address doesn’t tell you that we raise cattle, hogs, goats, turkeys, and chickens for our family and others. Looking on a map you’d probably be surprised that we harvest deer on our property or that we dehydrate, can, freeze, and otherwise preserve hundreds of pounds of local fruits and vegetables each year.
Our zip code doesn’t clue you in that we prefer to make things from scratch… pie crusts and biscuits get made fresh, we bake our own bread, and have even started making yogurt. It doesn’t take into account that we (okay, my husband) rebuilt our 55 year old tractor in our home shop or that we like to keep traditional skills alive with our kids by doing things like making mullein stalk torches, black walnut ink, and turkey feather quills.
No where does it share that we forage wild plants, grow the majority of our own herbs, make our own teas, tinctures, and salves, or that our newest vehicle is a 7 year old diesel truck for hauling livestock feed and towing our trailers. It has nearly 200,000 miles on it, but that’s nothing compared to my Excursion. It has seen two decades and 487,000 miles (and climbing). As close as we are to the city, no one told the internet providers because “high speed” internet was limited to Hughes Net satellite and cell phone hot spots until 2020.
We don’t fit the common image of a suburban family. So I ask again, does “living in the country” have to mean rural?
I’m in a few groups where a concerning trend comes up a couple times a year. There seems to be a general consensus that people who live in areas that are closer to larger urban centers are somehow less country or less capable of farming and homesteading.
Thankfully, I see the fallacy in that mindset on a daily basis… not only on our own farmstead, but in so many others who are spurring the incredible resurgence and popularity of the homesteading lifestyle.
This weekend I drove through some truly rural areas. There were miles where we wouldn’t see any fields growing crops, livestock, gardens, or even any fruit-bearing trees. I’m not judging, but reminding folks that just living in a rural area doesn’t automatically mean everyone farms or homesteads.
Forget your zip code, to me living in the country is a mindset.
My husband likes to say everyone wants to be country until it’s time to do country things. Because, let’s face it, it can be a lot of work. Let’s stop shaming people because they may have an urban or suburban homestead and start celebrating the fact that they are taking more control over their local food systems. Let’s provide mentorship and support andrecognize that we can all do country things, even in areas that may not (from the outside) look like the romanticized version of a farm.
Go forth and prosper friends, whatever your zip code. And if you ever need a word of encouragement in your homesteading or farming journey, drop us a line. FarrowFamilyFarmstead@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.
Hobbies are a wonderful thing. No matter how stressful life gets or how full your calendar, they are there… patiently waiting for you to carve some time out for yourself. No need to spend time researching something new or reserving tickets and making plans for an afternoon diversion, just grab your gear and fall into that familiar rhythm.
RCs are one of those hobbies. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to lately that said they’re getting back into RCs after a few year (or decade) hiatus. Sure, battery technology has come a long way over the past few decades, but one of the great things about the hobby is that whether it’s been a few weeks- or a few years- just dust your equipment off, check your batteries, and you’re ready to go.
One of my favorite parts of running an RC car is that it’s an immersive experience. Forget work, your grocery list, and all those projects waiting at home.In those moments, all that matters is the trail or rock ahead of you. Which line is best? Can I make that corner without backing up? What kind of air can I get off that jump? How much speed will you need to get over that rise? Can you manage that off-camber section without rolling? There’s something surprisingly relaxing about not worrying about anything but what you’re doing in that moment. It doesn’t hurt that the sun is usually shining and you’re surrounded by fresh air and nature.
Can I let you in on a little secret? My favorite part of our Open Crawl Weekends is seeing folks enjoy driving their rigs. Hearing kids giggle when a basher flies through the air, watching the excitement as someone finally sticks a line they’ve been trying for the last 20 minutes, the cheers when someone conquers Bounty Hill…. Those moments fill my heart with joy. I genuinely enjoy seeing people spend time outside forgetting all the worries we all carry around on a daily basis, even if it is just for a few hours at a time. And I love that the RC community is truly that- a community. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a fully customized rig or an Amazon daily deal, we’ve met some great folks who are happy to talk rigs, trails, and the adventures they’ve had with RCs.
When you’re ready to spend a few hours outside with your rig, join us the first full weekend of the month at RC Field Days. We have rentals available if you’re new to the sport and want to try out a few different styles of crawlers before you invest in your own and a variety of trails to test everyone – from novices to competition level drivers. Let’s spend some time outdoors.