Nostalgia and sentimentality can be fraught with danger. Yes, things were always better in the good old days, every decade we look back and decide the last one was better than this one, but it wasn’t as good as the one before it… mountain bikers may be the most confused in this regard, as we were riding machines that would strike fear into our heads if we were to saddle up on them today.
But for those of us who were around in the early 90s, it will always be the halcyon days, the golden age of mtb. Tomac and Ned, the dizzying advance of suspension and technology that came and went as quickly as hub standards change today, and the early attempts at filmmaking that were the catalyst for the slick, high-tech productions we are blessed with currently. At the forefront was a motley bunch of wildmen, seemingly affected by the tropical heat and madness of the Far North of Queensland who went by the name of the Mud Cows.
Their exploits not only made for some of the most gruesomely entertaining viewing, they also influenced the likes of the Crusty Demons of Dirt and possibly more mainstream madness like Jackass. It was the type of footage that had you gasping at the looseness and skills of the riding, then subsequently gagging at the resulting goriness of the gashes and broken limbs and bikes were flaunted without concern for the viewer’s stomachs. But they were more than just guys with no concern for their own welfare, they were truly talented riders, some of whom made an impact on the world stage such as Michael Ronning and Sean McCarroll, and their bushwhacking ways also initiated a career of building some of the county’s––and the world’s––best trails and race courses through the talents of Glen Jacobs who now runs World Trail.
The influence that these grainy, low budget videos had on the modern mountain bike landscape should not be underestimated, and celebrated for their innovation in a time when the only alternative was watching highlights of XC races from a year before. All hail the Mud Cows!
Read an article on the Mud Cows early days and influence and where they are now here…
The first Mud Cows video is broken up into 4 parts here: