Democrat Photo by John Emerson
GETTING READY TO RIDE: Local Jeep Jamboree organizer Adam Rivas, left, adjusts a winch on one of the dozens of Jeeps participating in the trail ride in Monticello Friday and Saturday. The winches eventually did get some use, as every single Jeep got stuck in mud during the ride, thanks to recent showers.
Jeep Jamboree Wheels Into Monticello
By John Emerson
MONTICELLO June 27, 2000 -- Anyone who noticed what seemed to be an extraordinary number of Jeeps traveling around the streets of Monticello on Friday and Saturday was not seeing things. There were.
The vehicles, their owners and riders had come to Sullivan County to take part in the 3rd Annual Catskill Mountains Summer Jeep Jamboree. The event, sponsored by Jeep Jamboree USA, is designed to give Jeep owners a chance to put both themselves and their four-wheel-drive vehicles through their paces over off-road trails.
More than 100 different Jeep vehicles, ranging from family car-style Jeep Cherokees to the original WWII general purpose vehicles that generated the car's name and made it a legend, took part in the event. The gathering had almost 200 participants from 15 states and two Canadian provinces staying in the area for three nights.
"This is a family-oriented recreational activity for Jeep owners and their families," said Dara Heebner, the administrative trip coordinator for Jeep Jamboree USA. "We're giving people a chance to experience off-road driving and use the capabilities of their Jeeps."
The company organizes these events throughout the country and provides instruction, support and experienced trail guides for all of the drivers, both new and experienced. Trails are rated from 1 through 10, easiest to hardest, and vehicles taking part must be inspected before they are allowed to participate.
Locally, Adam Rivas and Michael Taylor, who serve as coordinators for the Catskill Mountain events, were trail guides on two of the five trails that were used. Although some of the trails were supposed to be lower-level easier drives for beginners in the group, heavy rains and wet weather earlier in the week turned them into more difficult adventures.
"Everybody got stuck at some point along the way," said Dwain Schrader after Friday's run. "We were looking for trails that were on level two or three, and we ended up with trails that were at least four or five because of the mud."
The extra difficulty merely added to the fun for most of the participants, even those who were new at the game.
"Everybody seemed to have a great time yesterday," Taylor said before the group took off for Saturday morning's ride. Catskill Mountain and the Adirondack jamborees are the only locations that host two separate Jeep Jamboree USA events in the United States.