So what to get when you mix 225 Jeeps, Toyotas, Broncos and Scouts, a beautiful blue sky day for registration, a ramp contest, a cook out, an inch of rain in 2 hours to start off the two great days of trails rides, two great breakfasts and dinners and 60 raffle prize sponsors?

The best 4X4 BLAST ever!!

It took nearly 70 volunteers to plan and manage the event and to guide the fifteen trails that were offered. The tech check in and registration process was flawless. No complaints and no hitches.

The 30 degree ramp contest was sponsored by Neal Tire and Auto of Pittsfield. Trophies were awarded for the flexiest TJ, YJ, CJ2/3/4/5, CJ6/7/8, Cherokee, Non Jeep and for Overall winner. The competition was fierce with drivers all but removing their tires to win. The Overall winner and CJ 6/7/8 class winner was Bill Zoeltvelt driving a 1979 CJ7 with a score of 1183. 2nd place and CJ2/3/4/5 winner was Mike Westphal driving a 1969 Cj5 with 1110. In 3rd place was Shawn McNeill driving an MB Flattie with a score of 1096.

Bill Zoeltvelt Ramp Contest - 1977 CJ7Mike Westphal Ramp Contest 1969 CJ5Shawn McNeill Ramp Contest - MB Flattie
Click on the pictures to enlarge

Craig Laurich won the YJ category with a score of 1084, Pete Niles took the TJ trophy with a score of 1033, Ed Leach took the Cherokee trophy with a score of 812 and Steve Morris won the Non-Jeep category driving a 1969 Bronco with a score of 753, 

The first day of trails started with the obligatory Drivers Meeting, the Doom and Gloom speech, introductions, and the horribly terrifying wake up song by club president O.R. Freesen. Pictured below are O.R. Freesen killing a perfectly good song that no one present will ever sing again. Also pictured is the drivers meeting and the trail guides for the event.

Drivers MeetingO.R. Freesen - Club PresidentTrail Guides
Click on the pictures to enlarge

Pictures can sometimes be worth a thousand words. I think that Stu Fotta's recent XJ rolling experience in July left him with an even greater sense of humor than before. The YJ picture shows that trees do not discriminate between boy Jeeps and girl Jeeps.

Stu Fotta's XJ with training wheelsTree one - YJ bumper zero
Click on the pictures to enlarge

The club has held several awareness classes for members. Safety has been stressed over and over again. At the "Doom and Gloom" speech each morning of the trail rides, safety is hammered into the participants. Accidents can happen and tow hooks can break. The pictures below show what can happen. A hook snapped during a relatively simple tug. The hook traveled through the rear window of a YJ, hit the windshield frame and came to rest imbedded in the dashboard. Nobody was hurt but one should consider the possibilities. You can see the hook in the dashboard next to the inclinometer.

Tow HookTow HookTow Hook
Click on the pictures to enlarge

Fifteen fantastic trails were offered during the event. Everything from mild to insane.  The pictures below are from just two of these trails. Mongo led by Dennis (Fuzzy) Anderson who always manages to start of driving alone but invariably ends up with a pretty girl as his navigator. Why he claims his GPS packs up every time he leads a trail and how he gets a pretty girl in his front seat is one of the great mysteries of Pike County. The other trail pictures are of Lake Shore Drive led by Craig Laurich.

Ed Leach Ed Leach wondering why it is he started straight but ended up sideways down a very steep and twisty hill on Mongo.

Jim Catt doesn't like trees!! Brad Schultz being spotted from the passenger seat by Jim (Crash) Catt. Jim claimed the tree wasn't there moments before he told Brad to drive into it. The spotter on the right is Ed Leach who is seen offering splendid help on tree preservation.

Jim Plesko Jim Plesko leading the way up one of the waterfalls on Lake Shore Drive.

Larry Shultz Larry Schultz showing how much a SOA YJ can flex.

Brad Schultz in deep The water in the creek on Lake Shore Drive can get deep. This YJ has 35" Boggers and a huge SOA lift!!

Pete Niles & Shawn McNeillPete Niles demonstrating his driving skill with his 97 TJ on Lake Shore Drive. He says he was actually trying to pass on the right but missed.

Extra Camo Jeep wash What do you do when your Jeep gets this dirty? You take it to the event 4x4 wash run by a local church group that is raising money for charity that's what. They will even hose down the driver for no extra charge.


The Two Rivers Jeep Club donated over $15,000 to various organizations and needy people in 2001. This year we hope to donate even more. At the Saturday dinner a check was presented to Fire Chief Chuck Prateel and Assistant Fire Chief Robb Holcomb of the Pleasant Hill Fire Protection District. A few weeks ago their "Jaws of Life" equipment failed them when they needed it most. The purchase of capital equipment for Fire Protection Districts is sometimes a difficult task. Pike County cannot wait for such equipment especially when people we care for could be next to be cut from a mangled automobile. Pictured below is Two Rivers club member, Fire Chief Steve Gambrill presenting the check to Chief Prateel surrounded by fellow firefighters that were participating in the 4X4 BLAST.

Chief Gambrill presenting the check to Chief PrateelDinner at the Legion Hall
Click on the pictures to enlarge

Over 60 vendors donated prizes for the event raffle. The grand prizes were a Jeep Box, a set of Goodyear Tires and a Warn Winch. Bill Zoeltvelt was Master of Ceremonies. Bill kept the audience laughing with his never ending rhetoric of verbal diarrhea and constipation of the brain. Bill even conned one member out of over $100.00 for a broken Jeep part. All available raffle tickets were sold so this means more money for the club to donate to those in need.

The event ended with a lot of very happy wheelers, especially Bill Lovstad who took home the winch. We look forward to the 2003 Illini 4X4 Safari and 5th annual 4X4 BLAST.