Special Forces and MTV Reality Star Help Develop Obstacle Course
Developed by founder James Bonanno – a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Cameron School of Business – The Dirty Hog aims to test strength, stamina and smarts as it pushes competitors to complete challenges in extreme and unique environments.
Bonanno – a self-professed thrill seeker – called on the experience of retired U.S. Special Forces member Mike Evock and MTV reality TV celebrity Evan Starkman to map out the course for The Dirty Hog. Together, the three individuals drafted plans for an extreme sports event unlike any other.
"We saw something missing in the mud run," said Bonanno. "We wanted something more than just expected military challenges and mud. We wanted to make it longer, dirtier, harder, more rewarding and more fun. So we consulted with the U.S. Special Forces and a few reality TV experts to create something better – that's how we came up with The Dirty Hog. It has all the fun stuff in mud runs, but it gives you more challenges that allow you to determine your own adventure. And it will really kick your ass, which is what we were going for."
Participants will progress through 20 to 25 obstacles, such as the paintball challenge "Shoot the Butcher" and "Where Pigs Fly" – a test where they must ascend a rope climb and jump into a deep mud pit. In other sections of the course, participants will find themselves running up a watered down hill with high knees through tires, wriggling through treacherous conditions in the "Barbed Wire Saw Dust Crawl," sprinting long distances on a slick motocross track, flipping tractor tires, carrying sand bags through deep mud, trying their luck at mental challenges, and pushing through several reality TV-inspired mystery challenges.
Unlike other competitions, The Dirty Hog presents participants with a chance to earn penalties or rewards depending on their performance at each of these checkpoints. For example, those who successfully shoot the target at the paintball challenge will receive a colored hog tie wristband that can be flashed at the next obstacle – the sandbag carry – earning them the right to carry less weight than others.
"Even though it's a blast, we didn't think running 9 to 12 miles through a muddy obstacle course was fun enough," Bonanno said. "At The Dirty Hog, participants determine their own fate, creating a longer course, earning shortcuts, penalty obstacles and special rewards. It's a choose your own adventure race on steroids."
Inspiration for the reward-based challenges came through Bonanno's partnership with Starkman, best known as the winner of MTV reality game shows Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Duel 2 and The Ruins. Other Dirty Hog concepts stemmed from Evock's connections with the U.S. Army Core of Engineers.
Bonanno said The Dirty Hog looks to entertain all participants and spectators with a carnival-like atmosphere, including live music, food, an official Hog Pit After Party, games, and a special half-mile Piglet Run for young children.
"I found the majority of mud runs were smaller 5Ks that my grandmother could run, but ours? She wouldn't even think about trying ours," Bonanno said. "This is a long, tough, intimidating course – but we guarantee you'll have fun."
Registration for The Dirty Hog is now open and costs $77 per person (rates increase as event date approaches). Military, police and fire personnel receive a $10 discount. Fee includes event participation, a Dirty Hog T-Shirt and "Hog Tag", free beer at the finish line, a pork sandwich and free hug from a "Hog Girl". Participants may register as an individual or team. Spectator tickets are available for $15 and are sold on site. Proceeds from the event will support Operation Homefront, a 501(c)(3) organization developed to support the families of deployed service members. To register or secure training tips for The Dirty Hog, visit dirtyhog.com.