Topless for TATAs is a non-profit 501(c)3 that raises awareness and funds for breast cancer research. While active throughout the year at various events and venues, TFT hosts an annual offroading event at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park in Pennsylvania. The first event was in 2009 with 65 participating Jeeps but it has rapidly grown from there and now sells out to over 500 jeeps in just weeks. In 2015, TFT boosted attendance to mark the 7th anniversary of the event and raised nearly $38k in doing so. This money was donated directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
Our first time ever visiting Rausch Creek was to attend TFT5 in 2013. It was here we became hooked on both the event and park. This year we decided to get a little more involved with the event by being trail guides. As you can imagine, with so many Jeeps lots are needed. We left the level of trails we would guide up to the event organizers but lucked into running Blacks. (The park rates it’s trails by colors: Green being the easiest, followed by Blue, Black and ending at Red for the most difficult). While we have ran many of the Red trails, it was nice to take it a bit easier and back off a bit as guides.
Our group was a mix of participants and sponsors. Some of whom we knew and others began as strangers and ended as friends by the end of the first day.
Since many groups get fixated with trails that have cool names, we decided to play most of the weekend a bit differently and stick largely to the numbered black trails. The first of which was trail 5 which has a nice little drop-off obstacle almost immediately after starting it. Here is a pic of us nearing that spot.
Our friends Chad and Sam were behind us for most of the day. Their “2XtheCJ” has become pretty recognizable and you will likely remember seeing pictures of it if you’ve been following us for any length of time.
I think Jeff, who followed Chad all day, ultimately formed both a love and hate relationship with Chad’s 4BT Cummins powered rig and its exhaust…. But hey, at least he never had to worry about mosquito bites!
It’s tough to get pictures, spot, and work recovery gear when needed. I try my best, but sometimes action is simply missed. This was the case with our line-up as I missed a decent picture of Brian who was following Jeff. I was back on track though with Dave who tried a little bit of a different line. While he didn’t make the drop totally under his own power, this line did at least allow him to stay off the hook and he only needed a little rock to resolve the “turtling” all us with “school bus” JKUs had done previously.
Next up was one of the event sponsors, Jason who was representing Spiderwebshade. He opted to spot his wife on yet another line to avoid the drop altogether.
For the most part, avoiding the drop became the theme for all of the remaining rigs who were associated with JMG Designs, another event sponsor. Without this obstacle in play, we were rolling pretty quickly and I needed to get back in the Jeep to move on. Sadly, this meant no more pictures from here.
In spite of the fact that the Topless For TATAs trail is largely a blue trail, we felt it was an important one to run during the event. We simply made the most out of all the black offshoots and hills. It was one of these small hills that Chad decided to try a rather interesting line on. Beyond the pretty spectacular flex everyone achieved, it was pretty amazing to see his 134″ wheelbase make a turn that not even the 2-doors were able to pull off without a rock or reverse.
After completing the TFT trail, we decided to dive into Cemetery. It was just feet into the trail where Chad’s behemoth came to an abrupt stop. Luckily, wire and parts were on hand to make a quick patch/repair and we were moving again in no time.
Cemetery is a fairly short trail. This said, for a long time it was our favorite. This changed a few years ago when the park had to deal with some logging that literally destroyed this area. The main portion of Cemetery used to be red with a blue trail that ran along side it and worked as a bypass. Sadly, this blue bypass was totally ruined by the logging and, shortly thereafter, the red portion was stacked out with rocks from the blue portion to the point it was derated to black. It was nice to see that some of the smaller trees have filled out and are returning some shade to this trail.
You may notice that our line-up has changed in the picture below. Unfortunately, Brian’s rig suffered a cracked weld or two on the front track bar bracket and a poorly functioning steering gear early on and he made the safe call to call it quits while his Jeep was still functioning well enough to get back to the lot and home.
Our plan was to head over to Boot Hill next but we got tied up in some traffic and, after reviewing the radar, we decided to try to beat the oncoming storm and head up to the festivities and raffle instead. This proved to be a good call as we just barely got settled prior to the rain.
The raffle was awesome (as always), but we were pretty quick to bed afterwards to rest up for the following day.
We initially thought we would have a pretty large group for day two, but at least one of the members of the JMG crew was not feeling very well and missed joining us at staging prior to our group’s release. We had hoped to rejoin them once they arrived but that never seemed to pan out. With that said, we decided to start Sunday a little deeper in the park on trail 16. This is a pretty neat trail but for some reason it doesn’t seem to get a lot of action.
Sorry for the redundancy with Dirty here, but with the missing JMG Jeeps we were down to just a trio and were rolling too fast through the trails for me to get many other pictures.
In fact, I was only able to snag one more pic of Chad and Sam as we wrapped up 16 and headed to 13.
Tackling 13 was pretty smooth and brisk… Before we knew it we were headed into 20, which we had decided would wrap up our day and event. We weren’t that deep into 20 though when we came across some stopped rigs. After a quick check on them to see if we could help, opted to take 15 out while heading toward the parking lot. It looked like they were going to be a while and we didn’t feel like waiting.
The picture below is the last we would take of the event.
We’d like to give a shout out to all the people that work to put this event on and the sponsors. Thank you so much! Next year will be TFT10! We can’t wait to rejoin the trail guide team and be a part of it!