For the last few years Alana and I have made it out to the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in one capacity or another. This year was no different and we were happy to rejoin the on-site trail team and assist as a trail guides with both Dirty and Klondike. While Bantam has a lot to offer any type of Jeeper or Jeeping interest, it’s the trails where we have the most fun.
While this likely doesn’t come as much of a surprise to many of you, the reasoning might… Alana and I truly love reliving those moments when new off-roaders are not sure about their Jeep’s (or even their) ability to make it over or through an obstacle. We also LOVE to meet and chat with fellow Jeepers. If you were in line when I was supposed to be doing tire and Jeep checks, this was likely evident as I tended to talk and shoot the breeze far longer than I should have given my task at hand. 😛
We tended to assist beyond our assigned volunteering hours which was fun for us but did mean less pictures than previous years. Still, we did make our way over to the vendor and show-and-shine area mid-Saturday to visit and check out the awesome Jeeps on display.
This is where I spotted a row of flat fenders, each reminiscent of their military heritage and features we still love in today’s Jeep offerings.
These were hardly the only Jeeps to capture our attention and hearts. There were lots of relatively forgotten models on display. Some looked like they were coaxed back to life for the event after years of rest in a barn somewhere, while others had obviously lived more pampered lives.
I spent quite a bit of time eyeing this old FC. There is a big part of me that would love to turn one of these into an overlanding rig but the trouble is I either find one that is in too good of shape for me to feel comfortable modifying it or one that is too far gone to serve as a decent foundation. This one has already found a loving owner that plans to resurrect it to its former glory.
Alana, on the other hand, is lobbying for a J-series project like this J-10. I must admit I think it would work better for lots of reasons, but they seem to be gaining popularity like the Wagoneers and are becoming increasingly difficult to find for fair prices.
Speaking of Waggies…. How about this old “Cherokee” trimmed one that someone seems to already be breathing an overlanding life into? This trim is where the name “Cherokee” began and, in spite of the fact that many XJ groupies now claim it as being sacrilege on anything else, especially today’s KL based ride, it was the 1974 SJ Wagoneer that wore it first.
It wasn’t all fun and games in the show-and-shine lot… It seems this very nice CJ got into a street fight with a deer somewhere between the Festival and the Friday night Invasion in town. We didn’t get to talk with the owners about it, but is seems they are in decent spirits about the event and hopefully everyone is okay.
As I mentioned early on, most of our time was spent assisting the Rausch Creek team at the on-site trails. This is us staging Sunday morning. Note: Klondike can be camera shy at times and was hiding a bit. 😆
I wouldn’t spend much time behind the wheel on Sunday and put in most of my time spotting/helping by foot on the black trail. I thought this would offer an opportunity to get more pictures, but the “on-foot” part turned out to be more running from spot to spot than I was comfortable doing with the new camera around my neck so it only lasted for one group.
Here is one of Troy, another Ohioan, working over the first batch of small rocks as they entered the trail.
The black trail featured a series of down-hills this year and I was able to catch one of the participants as they made their way down one of the lesser grade hills. This may not seem like much when you look at a picture after the fact, but I can tell you that if feels pretty crazy when you are in the Jeep and looking over the hood at nothing!
Here is another participant and member of that group as they made their way toward some rock piles that were nestled in a muddy valley.
Speaking of rocks in that muddy valley…. even the guide needs a spot every now and then… but it’s all part of the fun right!?!? 😛
I know you are expecting more and, if you compare to all the pictures I took at last year’s event (which you can see HERE), it isn’t much. But, we were vendors last year and were able to sneak away for more pictures than we could this year.
I know this may be a bit of a bummer for you followers, but I must say it was a pretty fun year for us. Unfortunately, this meant little opportunity for picture taking. 🙁