Skeeno’s AXIALFEST2016 Report Part 1 of 3


Cisco Grove, CA

July 14-17, 2016

Words and Photos by Matthew ‘Skeeno’ Soileau


You know what time of year July is; it’s AXIALFEST2016 time!  One again, Skeeno Jr. and I packed our RC and camping supplies and headed West to Cisco Grove Campground for the biggest and best R/C event in the world! Follow along and experience AXIALFEST2016 through our eyes.


Of course, we had to stop and check in at the camp office.  These fine young ladies told us over 400 campsites were booked.  Basically, the entire campground was sold out!


We spotted Mr. Frank Testa checking in with the gate man.  He wanted you to know this was his fifth AXIALFEST!


Immediately behind the camp office, we spotted this bridge.  We had heard AXIALFEST2016 was to be the #yearofthebridges and this one made for the kick off! In fact, the area behind the office is becoming a permanent scale fixture as so many Axial enthusiast stop into Cisco Grove Campground either for a couple of hours or weekends to get their scale trail fix on. This area will hopefully continue to grow in scale coolness.


Behind the bridge was this scale gas station.  It looked like Elio, aka King of Scale, had been busy this year.

IMAG00304Before registration opened for the general public, Skeeno Jr. and I got our “orange version” (work status) AXIALFEST2016 laminates and lanyards. I do behind-the-scenes private investigative work and Skeeno Jr. helps with the Registration Team. The whole time I thought it was my good looks that got me on the inside, but I was handed a day-by-day work itinerary of activities for this year and asked to report to my station. So I turned the dial to FM105.3KAXL for the live broadcast.

6tag-231044910-1294297754289313635_231044910Did anyone just catch what I said? Yes, Axial was broadcasting live through your radio during the event! They were conducting a test. It was only a test.

DSCF0033The other 1200+ laminates and score cards were PRE-PRINTED WITH ATTENDEES NAMES and alphabetically organized in these boxes waiting for the masses to arrive. Yes, there are benefits to committing to this event before the pre-reg date passes!
Do you needs more examples why?


Boxes of updated AXIALFEST2016 hats. Yes, these go to the pre-registered attendees!


And these boxes of water bottles go to the pre-registered attendees. Last years bottles were no joke, but Axial upgraded to Camelbak Podium Chills this year. NICE! We will come back to the pre-reg drivers bags in a moment… My orange card gains me behind-the-scenes status, so I got to check out the goods!


Once again there were sweet maps of the event location on the campgrounds as well as AXIALFEST2016 sticker sheets. OK, so who went out looking for the Yeti (tiny one indicated on the map, from behind a tree) thinking it was for Pokemon Go?  I also see some never before seen AXIAL patches in that Ziploc baggie.  I wonder what those are? Rain, M90, Topo, Special Ops…


Anticipation built as people started to line up even before the registration officially opened. I think this was like 8:00am Thursday morning as registration officially opened at 9:00am sharp! Last year the lines were pretty long, so these people wanted to get a jump on it. Axial actually counter-acted in advance and came prepared! This year registration had more lines and more staff, so the lines were never very long. Or so it seamed… What did you guys think?


This guy was telling me this was his daughter’s first AXIALFEST, but definitely not her last.


I got to see Axialfest vet, Mr. Michael Pham with some of his Phamily.  Both his daughter and son got to do some driving this weekend as well.


Saw this interesting Mad Max 6×6 Wraith while waiting for registration to open.


Once registration opened, people filed in to officially begin their AXIALFEST2016 and collect their plethora of swag in the drivers bags.


Mr. Adan ‘G-Eazy’ Dean of Two Chainz Scalerz was ready to go.


The smiling O’Connors, aka Heather and Mike were feeling good.  I saw them everywhere this weekend.


I also saw another AXIALFEST vet, Mr. Chris “Brokenib” Goris.  He must be listing in on 105.3KAXL or is he special ops impersonating civilian status? Just what does Brokenib mean anyway? We will have to find out in another episode…


SWAG! The driver bag-o-goodies! Here’s what was in mine: the bag, hat, shirt, water bottle, patches, stickers, and coozie.

IMAG00517Also in the bag was bunch of goodies from AXIALFEST2016 sponsors like stickers, lanyards, battery straps, shock grease, bottle openers, and coupons.

IMAG00518These are super secret limited edition Axial patches; TOPO, Rain, M90, & Special Ops.
These sold for $10/ set. Did you get some? If so, socially share and tag #AxialPatch

DSCF0030 Hiking booties and score card, this doggy is ready to get her scale adventure on..
Just like her human father, “Tenderfoot”.

DSCF0077After registration was tech.  Tech was a little more serious this year, but I only heard warnings. Tech was held at the beginning of each event; Concourse, Ultra, Rock Racing and Adventure. Next year make sure you read all the rules before you bring your truck to tech. Rumor has it, my super-hearing device was spotty, but something-something-something 6-Day Trial style of rules..glitter green paint dabbed frames, yellow paint dabbed motor cans, signature cards, insurance & registration please.
OH, guess I can’t write and speech-read while driving….

DSCF0082BUT, once you passed tech, you got another sweet sticker!


After tech I went down to check out Vendor Row, that’s where I spotted these goofballs, the legendary Two Chainz Scalerz!  These guys were having fun meeting everyone and handing out limited edition swag. After their massive amount of work put in before the event with all the scale diorama style miniature Cisco Grove Campground!


They even had a gold plated remote as a hood ornament on their Two Chainz 1:1 Grand Mobile Device. Or is it the DeVice? JeepDeVice? GrandDeVice… There ya’ go!


Here’s one of their pieces of swag they were passing out, the METAL Two Chainz Remote bottle opener.  It’s the perfect pairing with the AXIALFEST2016 / CKRC coozie.


Elio ‘Eazy-E’ Dianda pointed out that his 1:1 passed tech, tec?, just like his 1:10 trucks. That’s #CounterFake Elio! We need 100-samples next year for proof of Homologation regulational usage. #KindaRealCOOL


Eazy-E, G-Eazy, and Crew brought up a whole collection of Axial vehicles to play with.


And just as I suspected, Elio and his Two Chainz Scalerz crew was busy this year.  Last year, his scale campground was amazing.  This year, words can’t describe how awesome it was.  Check out the replica of the camp office/store and guard shack that Todd Norton busted out.

DSCF0151And a scale camp bathroom.

DSCF0150The fishing hole was back.

DSCF0153Complete with scale fish in the pond.  I wonder if that guy caught anything.  He was there all weekend.

DSCF0158Behind the scale campground was scale Fordyce.

DSCF0159I caught this guy in a compromising position.  I just turned around and walked away.


Let’s just take a second to admire how amazing this scale campground was.

IMAG00308Unbelievable.  Does the Two Chainz crew ever sleep?


I went and checked out all the vendors.  Paul Willhite from Pro-Line was there showing off his goods.  I heard a rumor that a new Toyota body would be available soon… why yes!


The SOR Racing guys were showing off their incredible vehicle wraps.  The P40 Warhawk theme was my favorite. I think my upcoming Bomber build will be rocking it.


Hmmm, scale adventure trail.  These were spread around the campgrounds.  Each one was the beginning of a different trail.  This one was the RPP Hobbies sponsored trail.


If you couldn’t find your trail, there were these stickers all over the ground to get you pointed in the right direction.

DSCF1100 There was also this Totem Pole of arrows. Looks like a John Schultz creation, but later found out that Rodney Wills curated this one along with his daughter and nephew.


Speaking of RPP Hobby, they had a triple tent set up and had all their Gear Head gear on display. They were also the place to get your official AXIALFEST event shirts if you didn’t pre-register. They also had a couple of other rare Axial garments as well!


The RPP Hobby crew was busy ALL WEEKEND from 7:30am in the morning with their EARLIEST close time at 10:30PM for only one night! YES, 10:30PM! The other nights they stayed opened past midnight! THANK YOU RPP HOBBY!


Boom Racing flew in from Hong Kong. Their booth was rocking all weekend.
Massive thank you for making the trip all the way over!

DSCF1011Here was one of their giveaway piles.


You could also win prizes if you played the game of Pong.


This guy was going big on the $10/ try side.


A-Main Hobbies had a big booth complete with scale course and showing off a lot of product for the scale enthusiast.


They also had the Wheel of Win for visitors to spin for a prize.


This guy was checking out some scale accessories for his Axial truck,  Looks like he won a new body.


Over at the DS PRO booth, Ryan Gerrish had his wares on display. He also supplied some cool scale trophies for the Concourse event too! Please tag him – tag us in a post if you won one!


This DS PRO Adventure rig caught my attention.  I really liked this one. And Ryan actually drove it and drove it hard, scratching it up and I was not very happy with him scratching up my dream truck! Now I have to go re-dream about it!


Scale Builders Guild, aka SBG, made their way down from Canada.


Mr. Van Den Brink was hanging out with Shaniqua at the CKRC booth.  This booth was rocking all weekend.  They had pretty much any spare part you needed to get your Axial rig back on the trail.


CKRC Hobbies also had the freshly announced RTR version of the new SCX10-II on display at their booth.  Did you notice it?


The real deal official Gigabit Off-Road app game guys were on hand at AXIALFEST2016!
If you haven’t played their game yet, get the app now! Super fun.


It was great to see the ScalerFab crew on site as well.  Casey even sang the National Anthem for the start of the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro event and the opening cerimonies as well!


The boys from RC4WD brought up tons of scale coolness that excited full size men!


They had awesome scale off-road rigs and parts on display, several giveaways and my favorite…


these scale heavy equipment rigs.  Maybe Two Chainz can use these to build the scale campground next year.


Another Axialfest veteran, Ty from Tekin made it down from Idaho yet again, but this time he brought Jim, the owner!  Ty said that Tekin has some waterproof ESCs that should be on the market any time now…


Knight Customs makes some of the coolest 3D printed accessories for Axial vehicles. He even makes them in metal! 3D printed metal, how cool is that?
PS: That Military Mighty FC is my favorite Knight build.  Feel free to send it to me when you get bored of it, James. My address is…


Mr. Chris Cru Jones from Altra Running was on hand in support of AXIALFEST2016 and the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro! He even competed in the event to get a full taste of just what our hobby is all about! They were showing off their amazing trail running shoes and I was so impressed with these that I immediately bought a pair when I got back from AXIALFEST!  I recommend the mid-top Lone Peaks, so comfortable with the Foot Shape Toe Box.


After checking out Vendor Row, I made my way back up to the pavilion to get ready for the Concourse Show and Shine.  On my way in, I spotted Mr. Wertymade riding around on his radio controlled garden cart.  Well, now it was a camping cart.  He used it to transport his Axial trucks to the various events and shuttle camping supplies from campsite to campsite.


Last year, the boys from Austria shared a campsite with me.  This year we had the pleasure of hosting Marco Rojas Sr., Marco Rojas Jr., and Adolfo Gutierrez who made the trip up from Costa Rica for Axialfest. Pura Vida!


Speaking of traveling, up in the pavilion, I met David Yang and Dolly Zhang of KLP Hobbies.  They traveled all the way from Beijing, China! There were also attendees from Panama and Australia.

DSCF0176Up in the pavilion the Show and Shine was underway.  There were a lot of amazing builds. This Golden Eagle Cherokee Double Cab Truck Hybrid was just too cool.


This SOR Graphics Brenthel SCORE Trophy Truck and tow rig was a perfect match.


This sparkly green Cherokee was also good looking.

DSCF0170 Overlanding is a personal interest of mine, so this Land Rover was definitely one of my favorites.


Scale Jersey Barrier complete with scale AXIALFEST2016 graffiti, sick!


During the Show and Shine, the judges put their heads together and carefully and thoughtfully examined and discussed every vehicle to choose the winners.  It was not an easy choice in any class. Below are some of the winners. Look for the scale trophies from DS PRO compliments of Mr. Ryan Gerrish.


Best Daily Driver: Jeremy Benamati.  He even had current insurance papers!


Best Trail Weathered: Elio Dianda.  Even the trailer is weathered.
That VW Single Cab Transporter was also sweet.


Best Axial Heritage: Jorden Lumsden. An original AX10 Scorpion, the rig that started it all.


Best Work Trailer: Alec Van Den Brink.  Amazing.


Most Adventurist: Ryan Gerrish.  I was glad my one of my favorites won.


Best Adventure Trailer: Chad Martin


Best of Show: Joshua Elliott aka ESP.  This is where things are just fun to watch unfold! The judges were tired and beat from all the rigs so the judging pool decided that they would mandate the winners of each class to now become the judging pool and choose who they thought best to be the best of show! Josh Elliott was voted The Best of Show of AXIALFEST2016 by all the top finishers. Elliott’s chariot of surf-adventure was a true beauty with complete interiors.  So much hand-made scratch-built action going on, you have to see this in person to truly appreciate it.


The winners and their trucks. Congrats to all who participated.  You all did amazing work.


Before going to bed for the night, I was offered a chance to drive the Lasernut moon buggy by Cody Waggoner.  Cody is an Axial OG-Team Driver from way back! Since the original Axialfest West Coast Championships back in 2007! How could I pass up this once in a life opportunity?


But it would be another OG, Mr. Brad “Bender” Dumont to get behind the controls first!
Please don’t break it!


Then, it was Axial’s Matt Kearney that jumped in the driver’s seat.

DSCF0251THEN, Mr. Waggoner guides Axial’s Brandon Coonce down a ledge.
Come on – don’t break it!


I don’t want to brag, but I think I was the best driver, well, maybe not, but, I sure had fun!

IMAG00343 Almost got Skeeno Jr. her first official wheel time.

IMAG00347 Unfortunately, fortunately for her, that’s a mega nervous smile, but a battery issue ended our fun before she could drive.


Just as I was about to reach my camp for some shut eye, I spotted Frank Testa running the CKRC Dollar Dash. $1-per-try, best time wins the pot.


We all pulled out our dollars and did our best.  Here, Little Sapling (offspring of “Tree”) spends his dad’s money!


Someone told me this was Driving Juice.  I didn’t believe him, but the blackberry coolaid was delicious.


Mrs. ScalerFab dropped a few bills.

DSCF0274Skeeno Jr. tried it in reverse.


At the end of the night, Dan “Smokin Lipo” Wilson took home a cool $250 with a time of only 21 seconds, Dang! He told me to inform all comers for next year that he’s ready and old guy’s rule!

Look for Skeeno’s Axialfest 2016 Report Part 2 coming soon.

ALTRA Running
Method Race Wheels
Magnaflow Exhaust
Rigid Industries
Rugged Radios
Transition Bicycles
Braven Audio
RPP Hobbies
Vanquish Products
Team Tekin Racing
CKRC Hobbies
Phoenix Design Labs
Pro-Line Racing
Gearhead RC
Knight Customs
Boom Racing
A-Main Hobbies
MKS Servos
Tower Hobbies
Two Chainz Scalerz
SOR Graphics
Scale Builders Guild
RIVAS Concepts
Schultz RC Labs
Gigabit Off Road Games