W.E. Rock Rock Crawling Lady Driver Bio for Kaitlin Tydeman
Driver of Record: Kaitlin Tydeman
Spotter: Graeme Tydeman
From: Bend, Oregon
Class: West Coast Sportsman Class
Team Name: Team 004Locked
Team Relationship: Husband / Wife - Married as of September 2016 🙂 Have competed together as a team for 6 years prior while we were dating.
How long have you been competing in Rock Crawling? What Classes? Finishes? I have been competing for 6 years:
W.E. Rock - West Goldendale, WA. Sportsman
- 2014 2nd place
- 2015 4th place with payout!! 😉
- 2015 Legends Class 1st place
- 2015 Super Mod 3rd place
- 2011, 2012 Unlimited 1st place
- 2015 Super Modified 2nd place
- 2016 Unlimited 3rd place
- 2013, 2014 Super Mod 2nd place
How did you get into rock crawling and decide to go competitive? What is your background? I met my boyfriend Graeme, now husband. He is big into wheeling and owned an off-road fabrication shop. He introduced me to trail wheeling and taught me to drive his single seat moon buggy. Shortly after, he convinced me to enter my first competition. I was so nervous it took some persuading. We entered a local event in Central Oregon in 2011 called Groundhog Rock Crawl and I finished 1st place in the Unlimited class. I loved every bit and was hooked! As time went on I began driving our newly built Samurai buggy in competitions, my first comp being the Crushers comp in 2013.
I grew up in Central Oregon riding dirt bikes and snowmobiles, always camping and boating. I was raised outside recreating and that definitely shaped who I am today! My husband Graeme and I play a big part in our OHV community in Central Oregon. We do a lot of trail building and volunteer work to show our support for land use!
What has been your most exciting achievement in W.E. Rock Rock Crawling? Entering W.E. Rock was super intimidating for me because I knew I'd be competing at a different level, on terrain I wasn't use to, with professional drivers all around. I entered our Samurai buggy in the Sportsman B class and finished in 2nd place. I was so excited, we worked hard to earn that finish. I also beat my nemesis rock crawling buddy/opponent "Barnyard" so there's those bragging rights 😉
What is the most challenging part of Rock Crawling? Communication is definitely the most challenging in competition rock crawling. We have always competed without radios. Listening and trusting my spotter is so important. Staying calm and working through a course, especially in the last few seconds.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a good rock crawler? A good rock crawler is someone who is confident and comfortable in the vehicle they're driving. They are a good listener. Listening can be key sometimes. Knowing where your visibility is and isn't, knowing the areas that can hang you up. A calm and collected driver is important. Knowing how to get your car out of a sketchy situation- quickly and safely. Staying focused on everything around you from the time clock, to your spotter, the cones, the obstacles, etc.
What does event prep look like in your world? We usually try to get some seat time in before the comp and get the kinks worked out. We are lucky we have some great trails where we live. Event prep starts long before the day of competition. Getting the rigs prepped and loaded can range from a simple task, to a late night rush to get the rigs running. You just never know. Hitting the grocery store, prepping meals for the big weekend. Eating healthy and coming prepared. The day of competition it's important we eat a good breakfast and stay hydrated throughout the day. Also having snacks around and being prepared for whatever the weather may be that weekend. It's easy to get overheated and dehydrated.
What does a typical competition weekend look like for your team? Usually we drive to the event the day before and camp out at the event site for the weekend. We have a roof top tent on our goose neck trailer that we sleep in. Most times we'll travel with friends. That's the best way 😉 We BBQ our meals, I prep breakfast burritos and throw them on the BBQ in the mornings, we have the occasional camp fire and enjoy spending time with our off-road family.
What do you look forward to at W.E. Rock events, past the actual competition? We look forward to having a good time with people we don't get to see that often. Our off-road friends are our family and we love to spend the weekends wheeling and laughing. For us the fun starts when we hit the road, road trips are just as fun as the comps. We don't get to make the whole series so for us we just come out to have a good time and challenge ourselves.
What are your goals for this year’s W.E. Rock Series? We plan to make this years Goldendale competition in either our samurai buggy or single seat moon buggy. Or maybe both 🙂 Our goals for the future are to build a pro mod comp buggy for me to drive. We have been gathering the parts and getting serious. We hope to have this completed for the 2018 season.
What is a piece of advise that you have been given that you have taken to heart and instill into your racing career? Or, quote that you always remember. I always try to remember that, "you're not that good to get angry about it when you play poorly." It can be easy to get upset or be dissapointed with the way a course goes, but I've learned it's all experience in the end and to not take things too seriously.
Tell us about the rest of the Team that Supports you. Define the roll of the driver and spotter in your team. My husband is my biggest support and source of encouragement. He is the first one to say, "You can do that, it's no big deal." He is great at getting me to push my limits but also making me feel like, "I got this!" We have a bunch of great friends that try and make it to the comps with us. They are a huge source of support and make competing way more fun when they also compete.
• My main sponsor Jamie is the owner of Starfire Body Piercing Company in Bend, Oregon. I look forward to her sponsorship every year and am lucky she has supported me since my first competition in 2011. She is a local business owner and fellow bad-ass woman who loves to support chicks doing cool things!
• Starfire Body Piercing Studio
• G-Fab Motorsports
• Mayerle + Tydeman Dental
Kaitlin Adds: I wanna thank my husband Graeme, for encouraging me and introducing me to the sport 🙂 Thank you Jamie Lesowske at STARFIRE in Bend, OR for helping make it possible to attend these awesome events for the last 6 years!! Thanks Charlene/ Bower Media for the opportunity to share my story 🙂
Author: Kaitlin Tydeman