It's the most fun a car buff and adrenaline junkie can get out of 15 pounds of pink plastic. Introducing Extreme Barbie Jeep Racing, a low-rent off-road racing event that'll have you in stitches - literally and figuratively.
It's a simple concept, really. Take a power-wheels vehicle, break off the drive gear, find yourself a steep hill and hang on tight. That's right. Since around 2010, competitors who typically are grown men, many of them with wives, mortgages and otherwise respectable vocations, have been hurtling down rocky hills, gullies and mountainsides in little girls' wheeled toys on purpose. It's a rugged man's contest to see who can make it to the bottom of a down-hill course the fastest without completely wiping out.
It appears that Extreme Barbie Jeep Racing, which has been featured on ESPN, believe it or not, originated at the Morris Mountain ORV Park in Heflin, Alabama. There's no definitive word on whether alcohol was involved or someone lost a bet. But since 2010, the annual event has been sponsored by Busted Knuckle Films, a Jasper-based extreme motorsports video and apparel company, and copycat competitions have popped up in a few other spots.
It's unconfirmed, but suspected that a few heartbroken little girls may still be searching for their missing pink and purple floral-adorned toys. Meanwhile, these ultra-light, uber-cheap competition vehicles increasingly are being modified with longer wheelbases, pneumatic tires and better seats. Yet, at their core, they remain, for Pete's sake, Mattel-made Barbie jeeps.
"Racing these toys-turned-race vehicles is a huge rush," says Matt Myrick, thus far the winningest Extreme Barbie Jeep Races champion, racking up three championship wins. "Bruises are temporary. First Place is forever."
Are you man enough to take on the next Extreme Barbie Jeep Race? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.