If you came across her on the street or met at a casual gathering, the gravity of Renee Hudson’s significance – among several communities – may never dawn on you. That, and also how talented she is at the helm of a race-ready SxS. For someone who’s spent a lifetime in constant competition, earning accolades and victories in sports still predominantly patronized by men – like water ski speed and desert racing, what’s truly unexpected is her approachability.
Hudson has a humble yet lively disposition – simultaneously youthful and nurturing. Her big smile, kind (and striking) gray-blue eyes and conversational cadence comforts from the start, unwittingly disguising her competitive nature. However, what you could find from a chance encounter is evidence of a big heart and generous spirit. Renee’s inaugural UTV event wasn’t quite a race but more a fundraiser. And upon crossing the checkered flag, she was inevitably hooked, both to the track and to philanthropy. But regarding the latter, something just didn’t sit right. Not knowing exactly where funds went or to whom they went, Hudson believed she could do better on her own and even merge these two passions together.
Getting Dirty for the Ta Tas was the subsequent brainchild born in 2009 which has garnered local and national praise for her generous donations to the mammogram program at the Cancer Association of Havasu via GoFundMe donations and multiple campaigns. This week, Renee and the ‘Ta Tas’ team [aka Team Rugged of Rugged Radios] are at it again, currently petitioning for contributions at the 2022 NORRA 1000 where they’re also vying for a second victory (yes, Renee earned the Number One title in the Modified UTV class in 2018) after a two-year hiatus. Third time’s the charm, they say. And while the accomplished driver would love to conclude this Baja point-to-point on the top step of the podium, her true goal is to bring awareness to breast cancer and fill the kitty for another grand benefaction to the cause.
But that’s not (entirely) why we’re here. Rewind two weeks to a rightly anxious Renee who’s been waiting for a brand-new Polaris RZR Pro R which is (still) in-transit and maybe “arriving on Tuesday.” To her relief, Jason Morgan of Morgan Motorsports reassured the gang he’d be able to transform their car to the Hudsons’ standard by the time they rolled through Tech in downtown Ensenada. Never laying a finger on the Pro R before it underwent its makeover montage, pre-running proved the modifications successful, and reminded the ‘Ta Tas’ team why they trust Jason with their vehicles.
With barely fourteen days until they set off for the border, this build could ultimately earn him his own title: mechanical magician. Considering the competition at NORRA is coming with guns blazing, if Team Rugged – consisting of Renee, her husband/co-driver Richie, as well as Jason – reaches the Winner’s Circle in Cabo, it’ll be an amazing feat. And a testament to the overall expertise of the group.
Admittedly, her confidence wasn’t solely on the swift hands at Morgan Motorsports. Polaris products are already preceded by a reputation for quality. And the RZR Pro R is purpose-built as a simple, effective platform for racing… And whatever else you can dream up. From the floor, the industry’s first four-cylinder engine offers a whopping 225 horsepower, and Renee’s clear prediction is more power, more speed.
Already, out the gate, this crucial upgrade offers an advantage above its closest adversaries which on average pump out (a still impressive) 170 hp. In the desert, reaching max velocity is a strength, but doing it gracefully is an artform. That’s why her new vessel, more akin to a flightless rocket ship, was an obvious choice. It’s the jack-of-all-trades, providing three modes to accomplish any absurd task we enthusiasts throw at it: Sport, Rock, and Race. Today, back in the present, the Pro R was programmed to “Race.”
On the first leg of Mexico’s other infamous peninsular run, Jason’s handiwork and Polaris’ refined engineering was validated as the side-by-side survived a tough stage with no significant issues. Maybe it’s a fluke. Some might call it luck. But surely Renee, a realist moonlighting as an optimist, sees their achievements from the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez as a combination of all. Will their fortune continue throughout the week? Are persistence, talent and skill enough to carry the Pro R across the Finish Line? Or, more importantly, as each mile equates to a contribution to the GoFundMe campaign, will this season bring Getting Dirty for the Ta Tas to their $10,000 goal? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for certain: Renee, Richie and Jason will enjoy every minute of it.