Text: Matt SKEENO Soileau
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt Soileau
You all know the deal. July is AXIALFEST time; the annual gathering of all Axial fans to Cisco Grove, California for the world’s largest gathering of scale RC enthusiasts. This year AXIALFEST expanded to five days, starting on Wednesday and ending on Sunday. Of course, I made my 10th consecutive trip to play, visit, and help out. Here’s what I saw on my five day adventure at AXIALFEST 2017.
Part 1 of the Skeeno Report covers Day 1, Wednesday, July 12 of AXIALFEST 2017.
Mike and I met up early Wednesday morning and packed up all our stuff. We packed pretty heavy. He and I both brought our tent trailers this year.
Since we were staying for five days, we had to make sure we would be eating right. Luckily, Axial is making these sweet mini fridges. I got a prototype. Look for them to be in production by AXIALFEST 3018. I will be doing some seriously long-term testing…
A look inside shows they left room for hearty breakfast and dinner supplies. I didn’t need much lunch food, because I’m working on my bike diet and ate with the rest of the Axial staff.
There was a fire next to I-80 near the Reno city limits, so we anticipated lots of traffic delays, but that didn’t happen. We got to Cisco Grove around 7a.m. The camp office was closed, so we proceeded to the Axial motorhome.
I’ve been in the same location for last five or six AXIALFEST events, so it was easy to find. I was slated to share with Anthony of Rivas Concepts, but I don’t think he ever sleeps.
There’s Camp Skeeno all set up and ready. Mike’s trailer made a nice sun block in the afternoon.
Inside you can see I settle for nothing but the finest orange shag and 50 year old canvas. Ignore that heater. July was extra hot this year, so there was no need for that.
Once we got set up, I did head over to the camp office to check in and see how things were going. Next to the office is this cool scale area…
There were already some rigs out on the trails and it was only 9 a.m. on a Wednesday!
I spotted several groups getting early morning trail runs in.
This guy was topping off his tank before heading out.
I caught the office ladies off guard and they vehemently protested their photo being taken.
Once they found out I was the world famous Skeeno, they begged me to take their photo. Ok, that might be a lie, but they did tell me 430 campsites were sold for AXIALFEST 2017. That’s 80 more than AXIALFEST 2016! They also said that at least 400-campers had checked into the campgrounds on MONDAY! This tells me that AXIALFEST is becoming a WEEK LONG EVENT VACATION for a lot of RC enthusiast!
I spotted this RC sticker bombed cruiser as I was leaving.
I’m sure Rodney would approve of the basket on the front that was used to haul his SCX102 around in. Remember that cute little dog for later.
I headed up to registration, but it was still early and while all the banners and barriers were up and ready, nobody was to be found. Again, technically the event is not open yet, so understandable. But you can see signs that a lot of work has already been happening.
I jumped on the CT70 and cruised around to check out some campsites.
Last year was #yearofthebridges and the bridges returned this year with the addition of the Golden Gate bridge, fitting for this years theme #ProspectorFever
This hobbit seemed friendly, but I don’t think that screen door is keeping any flies out.
First thing I spotted in A-Camp was Zotti’s Bagz. If you need a scale sleeping bag, hit her up. She’s got lots of colors and styles to choose from.
A-Camp is the location of the very first AXIALFEST’s. It’s mostly tent camping and there were already lots of people set up and ready. I had heard that many were coming up even earlier next year for AXIALFEST 2018, but I didn’t expect to see the campground so full Wednesday morning this year!
The paper lanterns in this campsite were a nice touch. Customization is the key to a good campsite.
Speaking of custom, this roof top tent on a tear drop is pretty custom.
I kept running into groups out trailing. Will AXIALFEST start on Tuesday next year?
These guys had a full tarp city. I’m not sure what was behind the curtain. It might have been Oz.
The Down with the Sickness crew had more canopies up than I could count.
These guys roll DEEP.
I’m not sure how many rigs the DWTS crew brought up, but here Big Country poses with 22! And this doesn’t even count the ones that were already out on the trails.
Speaking of Sickness, check out this sick haircut. I thinks it’s called the Axiallet; business in the front…
…and party in the back.
This young lady came up with the group from Monterrey Bay. She was extra proud of her pink wheels and cage.
I’m not sure what was going down in this campsite, but I counted eight or so Power Wheels.
This 16 window bus was my favorite. I wanted to take it out for a spin, but the owners weren’t around to ask permission.
The minimalist award goes to this guy. One step up from sleeping in the car. I admired his style.
I caught the Strider Bikes crew headed out to get on trail.
I headed back to see what Mike was up to. He had just finished setting his trailer up and handed me a pint to toast to our start of AXIALFEST 2017.
After our toast, I headed back over to registration. Things were starting to pick up. Registration would be opening soon, so we had to get everything organized and ready.
I spotted Chris Cru Jones of Altra and Juan Schultz discussing adjustments to the Altra 5K Enduro course.
Miss Cathy and Mister Matt didn’t have time for pictures. There were hundreds of swag bags to organize.
Here’s Cathy getting the hats ready.
Do you have an AXIALFEST 2017 hat?
How about these special limited edition AXIALFEST hats? They didn’t even have my name on one of these! OUTRAGE! hehehe I will protest!
If your last name starts with an L, M, N, O, or P, your score card and lanyard was in those boxes. This is one station of the many for AXIALFEST 2017.
Steve Miles, now you are famous. That’s your score card.
I’m glad Scott G doesn’t work in quality control with those peepers.
OK, here’s where we knew things were getting serious. Cathy started to hand out the STAFF shirts. Head of Security, Shawn Barton gets the pick of the litter as Anthony of Rivas Concepts waits patiently.
Scott Kerkes was the face of calm. This wasn’t his first rodeo. He was ready to get his tech on all week. I think that is Brad Perry telling ScottK, Rodney said it was OK, gimmie the keys to Jeff’s Jeep! I know this dope spot…
Cathy and Cici were all smiles once registration was ready to be open. Let the party begin!
The line formed and went smoothly. The Axial crew has their system down!
It’s amazing how quickly the hundreds of participants can move through tech and registration.
I’m not sure why, but Chris from SBC seems to always be one of the first in line.
Remember the cute doggy earlier? I think that’s sticker bomb cruiser guy with his trail buddy.
If you didn’t print it and sign it at home, there were extra liability waivers at registration.
Someone got a little creative with the chalk. Is that a Deadbolt?
Before the registration and swag tent was the tech area. There guys worked at a fevers pitch to get everyone checked out.
They tried their best to keep the line moving at a good pace.
Matt Kett from Scale Builders Guild was all smiles. See Scott Kerkes teching like a champ? He kept it up all weekend.
Axial’s R&D VP, Matt Kearney even got his hands dirty in the Tech Booth. Applying stickers is tough!
Carts and wagons were a popular option for many that brought multiple rigs to get tech’ed and checked.
American Flyers. Those are some American classics.
When you have lots of gear, it’s way easier to pull than carry.
This young lady somehow levitated against this tree.
The trusty EMT’s happily assisted anyone with medical needs, mostly dehydration and heat issues is what I heard. Drink your water, people! With ELECTROLYTES!!! This message is “Rodney Approved” Electrolyte Replenishment – Why It’s SO IMPORTANT and HOW TO DO IT RIGHT!
There were lots of cool 1:1s hanging around AXIALFEST 2017 as well!
Now, there were TONS of VENDORS at AXIALFEST 2017 too! Many had swag to give away and deals on products. Here’s a few that I spoke with.
Hitec was there. They not only had their servos on display, but also some sweet chargers. I might need to upgrade my old units for one of their all in one units. They were impressive.
Super Shafty came all the way from upstate New York! They had a climb ramp for people to try for raffles. I saw lots of flips and a few jumps.
Super Shafty had lots of products on display as well as some fun decorations, but their product is way serious!
Gigabit Off-Road had the coolest stickers, but maybe that’s because Mrs. Skeeno loves goats. I caught them here before they were finished setting up.
Phoenix Design LEDs was here again.
Corey Shafer was my campmate, but we didn’t see him much. I think he and Rivas share the same sleep pattern. Here, he briefly chills with Dan Huff in the Phoenix Designs booth.
Green shirt, back to work…
A Main Hobbies had this amazing Axial SCX10 with Jeep FC body fully built and kitted as an overlander on display. They gave it away on Saturday night during the AXIALFEST awards ceremony!
Judd Rummage was commissioned by A Main Hobby to design and build this rig and trailer combo and it was unbelievable.
There were so many details on this that I couldn’t even begin to tell you about them all.
Blow up these pictures and just stare. OK, I’ll point out my favorite part, the Honda Trail 50 hiding in the trailer.
Cody Waggoner and Jesse Haines from Team Lasernut came out. Cody’s been an Axial fan since the first Axial West Coast Championship in 2007. They are both top competitors in the 1:1 crawler scene.
Hummer Portals seem to be all the rage in 1:1 crawling now. Jesse Haines brought out his comp crawler for everyone to ogle over!
He gets an amazing amount of steering out of those things.
Cody also brought out his comp buggy. Some lucky ducks got to take it for a spin. I think Jay Kendall from SOR was one of the lucky ones. I got to drive it last year. You can check it out here: AF16P1
Ty from Tekin is an AXIALFEST veteran from way back. He brought out the big tent this year. I still remember when he drove his Subaru Impreza down. Times sure have changed.
Ty built this 6X6 with custom 3D printed body built on a custom SCX10 chassis. It was pretty incredible.
Speaking of incredible, the Two Chainz Scalerz crew brought out their amazing scale features again.
This year it was a waterfall with a working water wheel…oh, and scale water tower.
There was a scale town behind it, but I had bad lighting, so I decided to come back later.
But, I couldn’t help myself from checking out the scale cemetery. Each headstone had a members name and epitaph. My favorite was Dan W, old guys can only rule so long.
I caught Coleman from Extreme Scale Performance. Have you participated in his weekly Axial Scale Wars? Did you catch his live stream of AXIALFEST?
Proline had their scale garage and junk yard out for people to take pictures with.
Lots of amazing details in there.
Elio and Tristan’s Jeeps are either kissing or fighting. I’m not sure.
Jawn Shuhls and Chris Cru Jones were trying to talk Pham Bam into running the Altra 5K.
JavaGoGo bumped the techno and made some delicious beverages. The Funky Monkey was worth it.
There’s the Giga Crew all set up.
Jason from Pedals Bike Shop of Riversidea, Ca delivered Rodney Wills to AXIALFEST after a little accident that left Rodney cruzing on crutch-mobile status. Jason is a KONA Bikes dealer and together they donated a Kona Big Kahuna 27.5+ bike to the raffle pile! I see Jason read my Bomber build blog and stole my orange wheels idea.
Prairie City representing California State Parks came out to play and also talk about their awesome OHV facilities. Check them out at http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1221
Toyzuki had their rigs on display. I was fascinated by their chassis kit that allowed the easy swapping of regular and overdrive gearing with the use of a transfer case. It’s genius.
My other favorite thing at Toyzuki was this custom VW Thing.
I love the Type 181. I spotted this almost immediately.
Hailing from the east coast, Brazen also had a small booth set up.
Note Rodney on crutches…
Forester coming through! Subiworks brought their cool Subaru Forester. Check out the ground clearance, custom front bumper with winch and Rigid lighting.
It also had these really cool RotopaX mounts built into the window openings.
This was my first spotting of #rodneysaiditwasok which became the phrase of AXIALFEST 2017. Something happened online and it spread like wildfire! Did you get your limited edition RSIWO shirt from SBG?
Of course CKRC was on site with their fully stocked hobby shop.
CKRC also had some limited edition giveaways as well as a customer appreciation dinner and their infamous Dollar Dash on Thursday night after the Concours event.
Next to CKRC was the start of their trail. There were lots of scale buildings on this course.
Hemistorm came all the way from the other side of the planet to visit AXIALFEST with Castle Creations! I had the pleasure of judging with him during the Concourse event.
Hmmm, sensored motors from Castle? I’m listening…
Vanquish’s Dan W photobombs the Proline guys.
Not only did Proline bring their scale junkyard, but also this amazing scale shop.
Next to Proline was S.O.R. Graphics, not sore, but eS Oh aRe Graphics.
Jay Kendall was a little camera shy, but he is super friendly. He did the amazing wrap on my Altra 5K Bomber and even hooked my bike up with a custom sticker/wrap. Hit him up at www.stuckonracinggraphics.com
Some top brass from Rigid Industries brought giveway swag, prizes for the awards ceremony raffle and they brought their SCX10s to get their scale trail action on!
It’s all a blurr now, but at some point in the day Jaime Seymour made some of the most amazing hamburgers ever cooked at AXIALFEST!
GFE – Grumpy Fast Eddy of Fast Eddy Bearings is another veteran AXIALFEST supporter and he still yelled at everyone to get off his lawn. I’m waiting for the time lapse video to come out. I’m in there somewhere around 2:24am.
Random sighting of “Brokenib” aka Chris Goris. He’s another long time AXIALFEST participant!
RCP Crawlers are one of the OG RC Crawler shops and still make parts from some old school rigs that we used before Axial was around.
Team KNK came all the way out from Ohio with loads of their hardware kits. If you need screws, bolts, washers, etc. They are your go to.
RC4WD had all their good stuff on display. I caught them before they were fully set up here, but this tracked SCX10 had me dreaming of this set up on an FC Jeep. I’ll be back later…
I heard people screaming, “Bear!” I was a little afraid, but it turned out to be this adorable Pomeranian puppy at the Scaler Fab booth. Dang, he is CUTE.
Scaler Fab had all their bumbers and other wares available.
Last but not least was RPP Hobby.
It wouldn’t be AXIALFEST withouth RPP Hobbies. They brought out their super-shop-tent-set out again to AXIALFEST 2017.
I’m not sure when they slept, because their tent aka mobile hobby shop was packed every time I walked by.
RPP Hobby also had a their trail start right by their booth.
They also had a photo booth for AXIALFEST’ers to take scale photos at.
So, that’s just a small taste of AXIALFEST 2017. It was a blurry fast day and I missed lots of things. Luckily, I had four more days to come back and catch more action.
So, keep your eyes out for Part-2 of the Skeeno Report coming soon, right after I eat this bacon. And I promise to try not to use the word amazing in any more blogs.