NorthWest MogFest 2017
We love off road vehicles of all types, they come in all shapes, sizes and styles. One of the most unique events to visit and see some of the most relatively obscure vehicle selections in the USA is Northwest MogFest held in Sheridan Oregon. Although this event is meant to be primarily a celebration of all things Unimog, it has over time developed into the central meeting hub in the northwest for all European 4×4 and off road vehicles. People tend to travel from all over the country to the Waldersee Farm to experience this awesome event.
On our way to the event we just happened to be on the same road as Barry (@pacificbikerguy on IG), owner of #Voldomo, a very cool Volvo C303. We couldn’t resist following him to the event, we managed to get a little road going footage from our Rigid Industries Capture; so check out the footage!
Isn’t the ground clearance on this thing just incredible???
We are fortunate to have one of the organizers of this event on the Axial Team, Mr. Ryan Gerrish. He has been telling us about this event for years, it just so happens that this year we were able to drop in on the event and see what it was all about. This year’s event theme is “Halloween in Mogust”, so we couldn’t even imagine what we were going to see there, especially with Ryan Gerrish on site!
Yes…. Those are Axial electronics!!
When you arrive at the Waldersee Farm, you are greeted by Barbara or Maren where you must sign in. This is not an event where you pay your entry fee, show up and report to your designated camp space. Instead, you must register (email and ask permission to attend) and then are asked if you would like to donate upon entry. The suggested donation was $10 per person per day. We happily doubled that figure (for two persons) and rolled onto the property in our humbled Subaru. We were definitely out of place with our Subaru (being a Japanese car), although it was unique enough to receive the nod of approval from a few of the already settled guests.
Ryan Gerrish came out to greet us and gave us a little tour, so we turned on the Go-Pro once again and rolled in to check it out. This 100 acre property has a beautiful river running at its edge, offering an awesome place to get out of the heat, do a little swimming and relax.
This is a private event held on private property. It is set up that way, allowing Jim Molloy and family the option of banishment, should it be necessary. It is a great idea, as people who have paid their $$$ for an event tend to have a sense of entitlement. You won’t find that type of person in attendance here, but instead a light hearted, fascinating group of hardcore off road enthusiasts who aren’t afraid to wheel the piss out of their odd vehicles. There is something to do every day, all day.
Here is a shot of Jim we managed to capture, with him on his Usal sidecar….
Love this guy! (Thanks for the “Euro Pass” Jim!!)
There is a backhoe contest for men, women, and children to participate in, where one must touch a few 5 gallon buckets with the backhoe bucket, and then return it to start position. AxialFest volunteer (and noob backhoe operator), “B” decided to give it a go, and we caught it on video. It is awesome that one of the Mog owners lets anyone and everyone who wants to try it, dive right in!
The highlight of the event is always the “pit”. The pit is a long trench that is dug out through the middle of the property with ditches and moguls everywhere. This playground is open from sunrise to midnight, though it really comes to life at night. You can find almost everyone in attendance lined up on one side of the pit watching and participating in the mayhem until it closes down for the night. We were floored to see how much the vehicles on site were used and tested to their absolute limits. These rigs are being used for their intended purpose which is awesome to watch!
Our Subaru gets a Euro Pass
In order to participate in the pit shenanigans, you have to have a European vehicle unless you are granted a special “Euro Pass”, which usually means you have a Euro vehicle, but, not with you at the event. Very few of these passes are given away. We were fortunate enough to have parked near the gathering spot during the rules speech given by Jim, he used our Subaru as an example of the vehicles not allowed in the pit, and immediately following his example, he said our Forester was pretty cool and offered us one of the coveted “3 pointed star” passes! The pass consisted of mounting a huge Mercedes emblem on the hood or grill, and (more formally) a special yellow tag. We happily fastened it and were stoked to be accepted!
With being granted the special pass we had to drive down to the river and try the pit, right!?!?!?!
Some of the vehicles on site were awesome to check out in more detail. The large Expedition type builds are always fascinating to us, so we ventured to their camping locations to get a couple of shots. One day we will have one of these to take to all the Axial events around the country! Here are some fine examples of our dream!
The stars of this show are the Unimogs. These rigs are so capable they will blow your mind! Described by some to be clunky and tractor like, you cannot deny their ability to conquer almost any terrain. They come in so many differing shapes and sizes, every style and taste is displayed with pride.
We did manage to get a little video of these portal axle giants in the pit showing their stuff. Very cool to see how easily they go wherever their owners point them.
Check out this very cool Jeep JK, that rides on a Unimog Chassis, talk about a sleeper! It was the only vehicle to our knowledge that actually came out of that mud hole under its own power.
Another fairly large group of vehicles in attendance were the VW Syncro guys. Man, these little campers are not just compact and very cool, but also their drivers wheel the living daylights out of them! Equipped with lockers and no fear, some of these rigs (and their drivers) can attack the most hardcore of terrain. We wish we had gotten some more photos and videos of these rigs, but with so much to see and do, we captured what we could… Maybe Rodney will have to come capture photos and video of them in action next year!
Speaking of VW’s, check out this little extremely rare vehicle. It is called the Iltis, or Type 183, which we believe is the replacement for the Type 181, or VW “Thing”…..
What in the world is that thing, and where can we get one? Those were our words when we first discovered this Star Wars themed Pinzgauer. Love the style of this rig, and it is pretty damn capable too!
Steyr Puch Haflinger
The Pinzgauer’s little bother, the Haflinger, has become one of our favorite vehicles from this event. These little 11’ long, 5’ wide, fully independent suspension rigs with portals are awesome! Did we mention they have locking front and rear diffs? We didn’t know that at first, but when you lock them up, they’ll go anywhere! It was fun watching guys try to make climbs without the lockers engaged, made for some good laughs and good fun!
Crazy cool rigs
There were so many other cool vehicles on site, including a plethora of Land Rovers (always capable), Steyr Puch G-Class wagons, Volvos and a few we have never seen before, even a Subaru van with swamp donkey tires on it :)… We snapped a few shots.
Our Favorite, #Voldomo
Driven all the way from San Diego! Beautiful Volvo C303
No idea what the next two are, but very cool regardless!
These are always cool to check out!
We’ve seen the above GWagon at KOH once before!
Those Defenders though….
And this Subaru Van!
This event is awesome for so many reasons. This is a place where anyone who owns one of these unique vehicles can get together with other owners and learn the limits of their rigs. Sometimes that process is painless; sometimes it hurts a little more. We caught a few of those instances on film, check it out!
Go to NorthWest MogFest 2018!!!
All in all, this has been an incredible experience. Coming from a Jeep/Subaru background, it was really cool to see how these vehicles are celebrated. The people are what really make this event what it is. We experienced so much kindness, acceptance and openness from everyone we spoke with. The on-site breakfast, lunch, and dinner were extremely good every day and quite inexpensive for what you get served! The jambalaya dish in particular was an inexplicably epic meal, you’ll just have to try for yourself. I’d fly half way around the world just to have this annual iconic dish on Saturday night.
The whole voluntary crew and staff do a great job facilitating an awesome group of people. The Waldersee Farm is a beautiful place to come and visit, the rigs are unique and awesome and the people are the salt of the Earth. Gerrish was right, we have been missing out!
Fore more information about future Northwest MogFest events, please check out