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Love on the Rocks: The Big Meat Run Hits Disney

It has been called one of the largest events in the state of Oklahoma. The beautiful part about it is that it all happened by accident.

By: Claire Carter | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: March 2017

Start a new family tradition this year and come out to The Big Meat Run.

Start a new family tradition this year and come out to The Big Meat Run.

It has been called one of the largest events in the state of Oklahoma. The beautiful part about it is that it all happened by accident.

22 years ago, seasoned machinist John Sumner was working in Claremore, Oklahoma when he ventured down to Grand Lake to check out the Pensacola Dam in the little community of Disney.

It was then that Sumner discovered an amazing natural rock garden, which is the result of 77 years of water passing through the turbines of the dam. Worn down to the bedrock to form a canyon like surrounding, it became a place for Sumner and his close friends to take their Jeeps and explore on the weekends. The area is now simply referred to as “the rocks.”

It grew into a customer appreciation event for Sumner Machine Works, which is owned by Sumner in Arkansas City, Kansas. By word of mouth alone the event that started with 12 people now brings in some 10,000 from all over the country during the course of one weekend in the little lake town.

You’ll see a little bit of everything at the event in terms of transportation; Jeeps, trucks, RZRS, four-wheelers and even a few spectacles such as a horse or a tractor.

Yet, it’s the custom made “rock crawlers” that Sumner helps build, that most of the spectators come to see.

There are two major “climbs” that are attempted by most, Viagra Hill and Bounty Hill. There is a certain satisfaction in watching the participants attempt and succeed the vertical crawls, yet there is more of a crowd reaction when they tumble over and fail.

The name of the event, The Big Meat Run, comes from the thick width of the tires that adorn the rock crawling machines.  

“It really was just a matter of luck and good timing,” stated Sumner on the event itself. Due to some local politics in Disney over the years, the event still lacks major sponsorships. But Sumner forges on just for the fun of it.

“I love seeing people having fun with their families and having a good time,” he said.
The free event, which takes place this March 24-26 below the Pensacola Dam, will no doubt result in another great turnout of spectators and participants.

In terms of tourism, the numbers are undoubtedly huge for not only Disney, but for the 60 mile radius surrounding the event in Northeast Oklahoma. Not only are gas and food sales astronomical over the course of the three-day event; hotels, cabins, parks and campgrounds are booked up for miles around.
“It’s a great event and we’re lucky to have it return year after year,” stated Disney Mayor Chris Tutor.

Tutor, who also owns the Dam Rec Park, stated that The Big Meat Run has helped put Disney on the map, inspired other rock crawling events and even brought new campgrounds to the small town.

In just a few short years Disney has seen a handful of new business owners come to town. CopperWood Lodge owned by Dusty Wood has built a number of great cabins close to the dam. Two Mom’s Campground owner Shelly Martin has also built a fun spot for off-roaders to enjoy.

There’s also Cherokee Spirit RV Park, which is a gated park owned by Norma Crockett and the oldest campground Hogan’s Off Road Park owned by Russ Hogan.

Start a new family tradition this year and come out to The Big Meat Run.


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Grand Lake Meat Run

For more information, contact:

John Sumner’s Big Meat Run

(918) 435-8242
OK
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