2007 Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree; Fact or Fiction???
At exactly 12:01 am EST on December 1st, an e-commerce server located somewhere on the East Coast clicked on and began allowing eager participants to start reserving space for one of the hottest Jeep Events in the country. By the morning of December 6th all of the 125 Jeep Spots were sold, leaving a lot of people saying "How could they already be sold out, it's not even Christmas yet?" I'm speaking of course about the 3rd annual 2007 Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree hosted on the historic Ink's Ranch, located in the gorgeous Oxford, Texas area nestled in the Texas Hill County between Llano and Fredericksburg.
You might find yourself scratching your head and asking; "WHY???"; Why, would nearly 300 Jeep Enthusiasts travel in from as far away as 13 states, pay a hefty $265.00 a seatbelt, not a Jeep, entrance fee... to come and play on the pink granite boulders for two days? Over the weekend I visited with over half the participants and I asked many of them the same question. The responses were as diverse as the guests and the rigs they were driving. Each of the participants I visited with had their own reasons for being here but all of them agreed, this event offered a tremendous value in Off-Roading and it was worth every penny of the admission price! You see, in Texas over 90% of the land is privately owned and the only way for you to off-road your Jeep on this particular property is under the Famous Brand of Jeep Jamboree USA and Mark Smith Off-Roading Inc.
A good number of guests have been coming to the Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree since it began three years ago. A few of us have been attending the area Jeep Jamboree from its South Texas inception 14 years ago when it was hosted at the YO Ranch. But, quite a few guests still raised their hand at the Friday morning Driver's Meeting when asked "How many of you are here for the first time?"
I don't think there is one item or element you can put your finger on that makes this event so successful year after year. It is the magic blending of several key components. For starters, the ranch is magnificent, offering brave participants spectacular vistas of the beautiful Texas Hill County from the top of the massive boulders we affectionately call Watch Mountain, Hunters Hill, Balancing Rock or the arduous hill climb we nicknamed Moab. The trails can be as difficult and risky as you might want to make them, while others are just plain scenic, offering a variety of topography and challenges. A hefty part of the praise belongs to S.A.J.E. San Antonio Jeep Exclusive the area host & guide club. They offer Texas Spur JJUSA Guests: experienced trail guides over the numerous obstacles, while offering encouragement, help, support and when need be; an expert trail repair service.
A large part of the recognition needs to also go to the area Jeep Jamboree USA Coordinators, Tony & Nancy Winkler, who selflessly donate their time to take care of every detail making sure this event is a fun filled vacation for all of their guests. Still, a significant part of the credit needs to go to the Oxford Ranch Campground who catered our meals and provided campsites and RV hook-ups as well as public showers for tent campers wanting to wash off the mud and trail dust after an incredible day of wheelin'. Also, the area hotels and lodges go out of their way to offer Legendary Texas Hospitality to every visitor and deserve a tip of the hat too. Lastly; let's not forget the Legendary Hero of the weekend the toughest four letter word in the world... Jeep!
However, in my not so humble opinion, the real successes of the event should be credited towards the participants themselves. I've been to many Jeep Jamborees over the last ten years and I have to say there is an unusual dynamic created by the diversity of the participants that makes this event so much fun. As I bounced from campfire to campfire looking for energetic conversation and colorful tales from the trail, I was always amazed by just how diverse the make up of each group was. If variety is the spice of life; the magic seasoning for a successful Jeep Events is DIVERSITY with the only common DNA being that we all own and love the Jeep Brand even when we break something on the trail.
All of the participants were treated well by Mother Nature for their timely diligence to an early JJUSA Registration. After nearly 18 months of near drought conditions throughout South Central Texas, we were treated to charitable, well timed rainfall in October of 2006 ensuring a vibrant and colorful wildflower season. Most of the families who drove in were greeted to South Texas by our lush patches of bright purple roadside carpet we locals affectionately call The Texas Bluebonnet. From time to time you would spot the vibrant pink blossom of our famed Mountain Laurel in all their spring splendor. About twelve days prior to the start of the Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree, South Central Texas was washed clean by nearly 8" of much needed rainfall.
We all benefited from the additional rainwater because it added a few scenic water crossings to the low lying trails and riverbeds and made the ranch foliage explode with vibrant colors and the sweet smell of Hill Country Spring. As I visited with Tony Winkler on the phone Thursday afternoon, I could sense the concern in his voice as he recounted the story to me of when the rental company was erecting the massive dining tent - our home away from home for the weekend - while the workers were pounded with a heavy rain shower. He knew if the rain continued it would force us to abort several of our favorite trails for the weekend. Somehow our prayers were answered: on Friday morning we had only a light drizzle, so most of the groups were able to run all the trail we had scheduled.
After a hardy County Breakfast we gathered our sack lunches and organized into our color groups and hit the trails for two days of memorable off-roading fun. Rachel Melcher from JeepTales.com did her job Friday and Saturday evening setting a new team record collecting over 6,900 participant photos from the event. My written review only sets the stage for the weekend. The photos we have posted on JeepTales.com will tell "The Rest of the Story" I hope you enjoy our coverage of The 2007 Spring Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree and take pleasure in perusing all of the photo albums below.
As I was preparing to close my review Tony Winkler called me and told me that the second 2007 Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree, scheduled for September 14-16 is already over 50% sold out. If you missed the spring event, you might want to consider joining us again later this year for Texas Spur JJUSA II, 2007. Jeep Jamboree USA added the second event to help accommodate the demand for this memorable trip. Last year in my review of this event I predicted the March 2007 Event would sell out before Christmas. After the overwhelming response and success of this spring's event you may plan on the 2008 Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree selling out faster than a Garth Brooks concert. If tickets last more then three days, I'll be amazed.
See you on the trail soon,
If you have pictures or video to share from this event, email info@JeepTales.com and we will send you a link to upload your images.
Podcast (audio files)
Inks Ranch History (2005)