A Different Kind of Trail
Blazing a path through the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago.
Words Sean McDevitt | Photos Rory Schweighart
When you think of radio control crawling, the first things that might come to mind are powerful rigs, treacherous waterways, rugged terrain to navigate, and blazing trails among the trees. These are the obvious answers. The not-so-obvious answers? Navy Pier, Montrose Beach, and the Chicago Theatre.
Urban crawling is not for the faint of heart. Those who can tackle a muddy hill may think twice about taking on the sidewalks and alleyways of a typical city. One such group enjoys the urban challenge and puts their rigs through an obstacle course that includes more than your local neighborhood woodland.
“Urban crawling is not for the faint of heart.”
Tito Rivera has been driving radio control since he was a little kid. In high school, he got his first hobby-grade vehicle, and from there, it didn’t take him long to find crawling. The next step was learning about radio control crawling by working part-time at his nearby Hobbytown USA. The real turning point was when his girlfriend bought him tickets to Axialfest in California in 2019.
“That put the nail into it,” said Rivera. “It sealed the deal. I fell in love with the atmosphere out there. The people and the community are so loving and friendly. So, yeah, I fell in love in 2019 in California and just started from there.”
“YOU GET EVERYBODY’S ATTENTION.”
Rivera would crawl every Sunday morning before the rest of his family would wake up. Of course, crawling is more fun with more friends, so River started telling customers about his early morning drives and inviting them out. Each weekend the group grew larger. Today this group, known as the Trail Turtles…