By Chris Palsmeier
What do you do on New Year's Day? Many people often spend the day thinking about how they should not have had that much to drink, or if you're young and tend to go overboard, you probably wonder, "what did I do last night"? Then there is the small percentage of people that take it to the extreme and end up visiting the local law enforcement facility to get those wonderful awards for their fantastic abilities the night before! That's not how we do it! We enjoy getting together with our friends on New Year's day no matter how cold it is (and this year was coldest on record) to kick off the New Year right by going wheeling! And thanks to our good friends, Dan and Vickie Smith, we got the opportunity to invade their place in Burton, Kansas with family, food and rigs to hit the trails behind their home.

This get together all started a few years back when I had the brilliant idea to wheel in the New Year on one of the coldest months and thought, "Why Not, let's go wheeling!" Those words tend to get me into trouble, but not this time! This helps keep me from having too much to drink the night before at our annual New Year's Eve party. For this year's run, I spoke with Dan and we decided to just use the trails behind his place. His trails are nothing more than creek bottoms, which are steep and tight that thread through trees and depending on the weather, can be anything from dry (like it was this year), wet or can even have snow and ice!

You would think that just being a creek bottom, we wouldn't get into too much trouble, but we have broken everything from our egos, axle parts, to body parts; which does include broken legs! Two years ago my wife, Tammy, broke her leg trying to capture that perfect picture on a snow covered hill. I have managed to break an axle ring and pinion trying to prove I could make one of the hills in a single attempt, I did manage to make it but, it cost me some Jeep parts. Of course this happened to be the same hill that my wife broke her leg on. This hill has managed to take out several other rigs as well and has caused its fair share of rollovers too. The worst part is that just by looking at this hill, you would say, "this is nothing", but that's usually the ones that tend to get you every time.

As we gathered at Dan's house, we were greeted with the coldest year on record with a brisk temperature of –1! Several of the rigs that morning just did not want to start, including my own Jeep, 'Blown Budget'. I had pulled the Jeep the 40 miles to Dan's property and the Jeep was cold soaked by the time I got there and found out my batteries needed to be replaced. It was windy as well which just cut right through everything, even soft tops on a Jeep, but that's why I love my heated PRP seats. It was so cold, my wife looked like the boy from a 'Christmas Story' as she made her way out of the Jeep to take pictures as she usually does. It was very dry and dusty as you can see from the photos, but we played in the creek beds for few hours before heading back to Dan's shop for some warm homemade chili, soup and drinks.

One of our friends did manage to bust an axle shaft and needed to get back home to Oklahoma, Let me just tell you, it was pretty cold sitting in the driveway at 5pm replacing an axle shaft, but we did get Richard back together and sent him home in the warmth of his Jeep!!!

There is nothing better than kicking off the New Year right with good friends, good food and off-road toys, no matter what the temperature is! We want to thank everyone that showed up and braved the brisk temperatures. Now we have all of 2018 to prep for the 2019, Freeze you rear OFF run! We can only hope it's not as cold next year, but if it is, we will still do it again and have a blast at the same time!