Juggalosers filling up the Hogrock campgrounds: UPDATE w/PHOTOS
CAVE-IN-ROCK—Already, the creatures known as the Juggalos are converging on Tim York’s private campgrounds, Hogrock, in Hardin County—and, according to the locals, they’ve begun creating the annual problems inherent with the kind of event that “The Gathering” of the Juggalos, fans of the wannabe rap group Insane Clown Posse, is known for.
We’ve been down to the campgrounds entrance (we didn’t go in, and you’ll see why, in a minute, that that was a good idea) just to check it out, and it is indeed a booniegoonie place. And, what we observed as we were leaving (at about 12:45 pm) was why we’re glad we didn’t take the one-lane in to the entrance just out of curiosity: a huge line of vehicles came speeding down to the Hogrock turnoff, traveling entirely too fast for the type of road they were on (explaining why we weren’t able to get pics or vids), with plates from every imaginable area of the country, and with a huge RV leading the way. The RV had New York plates, as did the white stretch limousine about eight cars back. That line of cars was followed by another set of cars also traveling too fast for conditions (narrow, winding roads and alternating gravel and blacktop). One van, driven by a woman appearing too old and pudgy to be a Juggalette (but one can never tell) almost drove off the wooden bridge that crosses the turn to the campgrounds, as she was absolutely speeding to the area.
We stopped at the work camp (prison) up Highway 1 to get some pics of the mobile command unit set up there for response to any and everything that might occur this weekend. There, we spoke with the very pleasant Captain Harry Masse, Commander of Illinois State Police District 22 in Ullin. Masse had an awesome attitude toward The Gathering, telling us he’s been working the event since 2005. While they’ve had a death every year (from various different causes, including heat stroke and dope, although there was one violent death that he could recall), Masse said that authorities don’t see The Gathering as this big Armageddon event it’s often expected and made out to be; it’s just a routine thing they do annually, with its own inherent problems.
Most of the problems stem from drugs, however. The dope trafficking at The Gathering is apparently an atrocity, and a lot of the Juggalos and ‘lettes are there for the singular purpose of being stoned out in the open while they enjoy their bizarre, violent rap music. Masse said some years, some of the attendees taunt the authorities, letting it get out that they have tables set up with every type of recreational pharmaceutical and every ‘flavor’ of pot imaginable, like an open air flea market. Because the event takes place on private property, the police can’t go in and arrest the dopers. In fact, Masse said, people on the grounds are discouraged from using their cell phones while there, as, if there is an incident that requires police intervention, York doesn’t want them calling 911 and bringing the cops out there; instead, he wants people to notify grounds security, who will attend to the problem and see if the police need to become involved at all (including taking someone with a neck injury, throwing them on the back of a golf cart, and putting them out to the entrance, which is what happened last year). This doesn’t bode well for the potential crimes of rape, battery or other violent acts; but Masse said if that happens, they generally only learn about it AFTER the event. Masse also noted that in the past, he has attempted to establish a dialogue with York in an effort to provide services for him at the event, and to let him know that the law was there to help, not hinder, his event. But, Masse said, York wouldn’t have it, and in fact, “He just doesn’t like us,” Masse told us point-blank.
Thus far this year, the ‘pre’-Gathering has landed some arrest/charges incidents, including two involving pot today and six dope related incidents yesterday, one of those incidents involving an arrest for a person having a loaded handgun on him (previous reports that this was an assault rifle, Masse said, were incorrect). While in Hardin this morning and early this afternoon, we didn’t see too many weirdoes….just bad drivers. Those may have been ‘los & ‘lettes without their paint. You can’t ever tell who’s really behind the clown makeup.
Masse said that in order to be prepared for everything just short of Armageddon, each shift has eight to ten troopers from Dist. 22 available, the Special Enforcement Team that circulates through the area ensuring nothing untoward is going on, Hardin County Sheriff’s deputies, the SWAT team (ILEAS, whose trailer was parked outside the prison grounds), Illinois Emergency Management Agency (who has the cool equipment thanks to post-9/11 funding), the Coast Guard out on the waterways (including the Ohio River, which borders Cave), and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. All of these were up at the prison, and beginning outside of Harrisburg when we took 34 down to Hardin, we saw troopers and sheriff’s cars all the way down to Elizabethtown, and all the way up Highway 1 with the junction of 13 outside Shawneetown.
We’ll have more news on the Juggs as we get it, and pics to go with this post when we’re able to stop & upload em….keep checking back, as it’s a somewhat tense time in Hardin this ‘Gathering’ weekend.
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