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Rock crawlers descend on Santa Rosa Creek

  • Everett Maggio, right, and Chris Woolley take part in a North Bay Remote Control Rock Crawler Club event along the Prince Memorial Greenway on Santa Rosa Creek in Santa Rosa, California on Sunday, September 29, 2013. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

In their workaday lives, they are are welders, carpenters, vineyard workers, laser light show technicians and elementary school students.

But in the hours beyond work and homework, a group of mostly men and boys are more often than not behind the controls of extreme rock crawlers, radio-controlled vehicles built for rough terrain.

"It's the most fun you can have going slow," said Tim Terry with Jake's Performance Hobbies, a shop in Rohnert Park.

Remote Control Rock Crawler Club

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Hosted by the shop, the rock crawlers took over a stretch of creek bed along the Prince Memorial Greenway between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., under the Highway 101 overpass in Santa Rosa.

Sunday was the last hurrah of the city's Creek Week, a series aimed at promoting the area's waterways with organized clean-ups, educational walks to view fish and turtles, an underground tour of a downtown culvert and other activities.

The crawler controllers marked a series of obstacle courses through the riprap, the steep rock and concrete banks designed as erosion control that line Santa Rosa Creek, taking turns maneuvering their creations through the rough.

It's the usual spot for a cadre of more than a dozen hobbyists with the North Bay Rock Crawlers Club who devote hours, a fair amount of cash and their skills to building specialized vehicles with the agility to make it through the rock maze.

"It's too much fun to have a bad run," said Greg Nelson, 55, of Ukiah.

Nelson set his green rig at the start of the course and picked up his hand-held remote. Terry followed closely with a timer and clipboard.

"Six minutes on the clock, when you're ready," Terry said.


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