What Really Mudders

Kyle Aders and his son, Gabe, 6, both of Ferdinand, watch as a friend rides through a mudhole at Interlake State Recreation Area in Lynnville on Sept. 3. “I always enjoyed it as a kid and I want my kids to grow up having the same things I had and doing the same things I did,” Kyle said.

Story and photos by Nic Antaya

Kyle Aders creates memories with his family by playing in the mud.

The Ferdinand resident proudly drives his 1997 Jeep  Cherokee, which has no front doors, to the Interlake State Recreation Area in Lynnville to drive his vehicle off the road.

Kyle drives his 1997 Jeep Cherokee through a mudhole with his wife, Rachel, and their children Gabe and Grace, 2. “I figure if it doesn’t make it then I’ll just pull myself out,” Kyle said. “Sometimes I’ll try it again, sometimes I won’t. If I almost made it and I didn’t quite make it, then sometimes I’ll hit it a lot faster. I don’t like to let a hole defeat me.”

A few times a year, Kyle, 27, makes his passion for riding in the mud into a family trip, bringing his wife, Rachel; son, Gabe, 6; and daughter, Grace, 2, to join in on the fun.

“It brings us closer together when we’re out there,” Kyle said.

He said most people only take their doors off if they drive a Jeep Wrangler. However, Rachel said Kyle’s a trendsetter.

“They would turn their heads just to watch him go around the block like, ‘What! He had the doors off that?’” Rachel said.

Kyle doesn’t care about the opinions of others.

“Make it your own,” he said.

And that’s just what he does while off-roading. He creates his own adventures by driving trails with obstacles like mudholes and steep hills.

He wants his kids to have a similar childhood to his own. He grew up in the St. Meinrad and Bristow area and started playing in the mud with his brothers — Josh, Ashtin and Colton — and father, Tracy, when he was about the same age as Gabe (Kyle also has a sister named Marisa and his mother is Phaedra Savage). He used to ride through mudholes while in the back of his dad’s truck.

“I always liked getting dirty when I was young,” Kyle said.

Kyle and Rachel hope the memories they create with their family will be long-lasting and impactful enough that the tradition will continue with their children’s families.

“Even in the craziest of everything going on, we can always go out there and have a good day,” Rachel said. “No matter what’s going on, it’s like you just take a break from life.”

Gabe plays in a pool of mud with his miniature Ford Bronco. “He feels at home outside in the dirt,” said Rachel Aders, Gabe’s mother.


Rachel shows off the mud that dried on her arm to Grace as Gabe picks dried mud from his arm while in the back seat of Kyle’s Jeep. “It feels almost like we’re starting a tradition with the kids,” Rachel said. “We go out there and then when they grow up, they’re going to be able to do this with their kids. So hopefully they can pass it on and keep it like a family tradition.”


Rachel draws a heart on the window of Kyle’s Jeep. “If it’s covered in mud, there’s usually a heart on it at least,” Kyle said. Rachel added: “I always draw on there. That’s my signature, my heart.”


Kyle drives his Jeep through a mudhole. "If you got any stress or whatever, just go out there and let the stress out," Kyle said.


Rachel watches Kyle fix the exhaust hanger on his Jeep. “It’s not a complete day until something breaks,” Rachel said. On their drive home, the Aders family had to pull its Jeep off to the side of the road four separate times due to the radiator being clogged with mud and overheating.


Kyle sprays mud off of Grace and Rachel after coming home from a day of mudding. “You have to spray yourself off or you can’t wash your clothes in the washer,” Rachel said. “That, and you’re going to have mud tracks from the door to the shower.”

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