Katemcy Rocks SHR Club Run    
Jack Brinks

It’s been a long time since I could remember seeing such anticipation and enthusiasm for a club run.  Many of us had visited the Katemcy Rocks website and had seen some of what this relatively new off-road area had to offer.  All I know is that I was looking to forward it, and from the amount of email traffic on the SHR Topica list, I wasn’t the only one! 

I headed west early in order to stop in Boerne to visit Val Minozevski, who was to be one of the trail leaders for our run.  Val is a San Antonio Jeep Exclusive member who I first met years ago at Fort Hood.  He owns several auto repair shops called 2 Fat Guys Goodyear.  After a tour of his Boerne shop and a late lunch, we loaded up Val’s newest acquisition, a flatbed Toyota with a Chevy drivetrain, (dubbed the “Toylet”) and headed north towards Mason. 

While fueling up in Mason, we ran into SHR members David Warner and James Lynaugh.  We also met Shain Chapman, an organizer of Katemcy Rocks who had originally planned to be out of town for the weekend.  Instead, he would be out in the morning to lead trails. 

We headed to the park and began unloading our trucks.  In just a short time, Steve & Beth Snyder showed up and unloaded as well.  Even before we had time to air down, Val was headed to the trail, eager to try out his new ride and trying to get used to the auto tranny in his Toylet (pronounced “toy-lay”).  Once we got to the rocks, we aired down and headed for some water and large rocks.  It didn’t take long for me to get my rear diff caught on a large boulder and, while trying to back off it, we heard the all to familiar metallic sound of a right front axle u-joint breaking.  After winching my CJ7 off the rock, we headed back to camp for repairs, as it was getting dark already anyway.  Many thanks to Jose Conde & David Warner for holding the lantern while I disassembled everything to remove the damaged axle which, of course, had spread the ears significantly, requiring cutting them off to remove the axle through the knuckle.  Once that was done, we called it night with plans to finish in the morning light.   

By this time, other SHR members had shown up, including Todd Nelson, Seth Bothner, Jose Conde, Bob Fleming and others.  Todd & Seth lit a smoker and cooked up all sorts of things, including the sausage I had brought.  Thanks, guys! 

The next morning, Shain separated everyone into three groups by tire size.  He led the easy run, Ray Karrick, also a SAJE member and owner of Jeep Masters, a Jeep-only repair shop in Austin, led the medium run, and Val led our group.  We soon headed off on the same trail that claimed my axle the day before.  This time however, it was Val’s turn to break a front spring centering pin.  With no spares, we left the Toyota and headed back to camp to get Val’s Jeep, which he had brought up from Boerne that morning.  We pointed the rest of the group up the trail, and with a significant obstacle right in front of them, said we’d be back in 15 minutes.  Even after an extra round trip to obtain the Jeep keys from the console in the Toylet, we didn’t have any problem catching up with our group.  In fact, 2 vehicles had already broken.  One Jeep lost an axle, and Lance Morin of FWD-FWD took out a rear ring & pinion and a front axle in his Toyota.  We helped them get past the first obstacle, and they headed back to camp.   

We then headed up the rocks to the Rat hole, where you could still see glass from John Nagy’s Jeep that had rolled over backwards the weekend before.  The trick here was to maintain just a little momentum without loosing traction while climbing the short, steep hill.  We only had one vehicle start to hop, but Val quickly stopped the driver from making an expensive mistake. 

From there we started to head towards Baby Huey’s Crack. Unfortunately, Karl Pretzer discovered his steering box was nearly ripped off the frame of his Scout.  Thanks to James Carpenter’s on-board welder and Terry Estes’ welding skills, it was fixed fairly quickly.  Both Mike Green and James made it up without too much problem, except James bent the front drag link on “Hooptee”, his ‘used to be a Scout”.  Terry broke a hub on the approach, & wisely took the bypass.  While the vehicles were being repaired, a TJ broke an axle u-joint playing on the rocks.   

That was soon fixed and we continued on towards an obstacle attempted only by Steve Turney and Mike Green.  It was awesome to watch as Steve nearly made it, but had to take the strap near the end.  Mike, with his larger 42” tires, made it unassisted.  Everyone gave suggestions about what Mike should name the obstacle; we found out later it was High 5 Hill.

Next was the big crack on the Waterfall trail.  Steve Turney put on an articulation show that was deemed ”unnatural” by those watching.  Unfortunately, Karl decided he had to do the crack as well and ended up breaking the right mount for his tie rod, most likely stressed when the gear let loose.  Most of us took the bypass while he performed a “temporary repair” to get his Scout off the trail.   

Everyone finished the waterfall at the end of the trail with no problem, and we headed for the Wall.  Karl & family headed back to camp while we all took our shots at it.  Everyone, except me that is, made it up.  My heavy CJ7 wanted to keep lifting off the front tires no matter which line I tried.  The last “strike” was close, with the front left tire 18” in the air (according to Val).  I stayed true to my “3 strikes, you’re out rule” and took the bypass.           

Mike and Steve still hadn’t had enough and Val showed them a very steep climb, as yet unnamed.  Val and Steve took the easier line on the left side.  Mike, with his longer 110” wheelbase and 10 to 1 low range, became the first to crawl up the near vertical wall.  The only word I can use to describe it is “awesome”!   The climb has 2 large rocks at the top and after a few names were bandied about, Mike was asked his middle name, “Eugene”.  A comment was made about “Eugene the Jeep”, but I think it was Steve who came up with the name that stuck…Eugene’s Balls.        

Everyone then returned to camp.  Some loaded up and headed home and others lit the grills for another night of good food and conversation while Val and I headed out to get his Toylet.  Using two large ratchet straps to secure the axle, we made it back without a problem.   

Everyone I spoke to had a great time and is looking forward to our next trip to Katemcy.  Many thanks to Steve Snyder for setting this one up.  Hey Steve, I heard about the rollover.  Need any help fixing the damage?   

-Jack Brinks