The sport of four-wheeling has many aspects, and like the facets on a diamond, they serve to complement the main subject. There are only a few 4x4 events that can successfully cater to the many facets of our sport, and the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals is one of them. Where else can you find Tough Trucks, monster trucks, trail trucks, mud trucks, rockcrawlers, daily drivers, and show trucks all in the same setting? For the second year in a row, the 4th Annual Buckeye 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals accomplished this feat, and the event rocked the Canfield Fairgrounds in Canfield, Ohio
Probably the most talked about aspect of the show was the 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers Rock Fest Challenge, and it drew more than 30 competitors to its gnarly, rock-filled course. The course was designed and built by Special Events (the Jambo's promoter), but the competition was run by longtime 'wheeler and 4x4 shop owner, John Conrad. Thanks to a spectacular inaugural year in 2000 that provided a lot of positive media coverage, as well as the hard work of Conrad in getting the word out on this year's event, the number of participants doubled in 2001. Make no mistake, this event may have been in Ohio, but the course looked like something in Colorado, with massive boulders dotting the course. Standard National Rock Crawling Championship rules applied, and clipboard-toting judges with years of rockcrawling experience watched every move of the competitors as they creeped slowly over the obstacles. Saturday was qualifying day, and it quickly became obvious that this course was a bear, since seven of the first 10 competitors were eliminated from competition because of either breakage or becoming stuck and timing out. The Top 10 trucks from Saturday's qualifying round returned on Sunday and did battle against each other and the rocks. In front of a crowd of hundreds, the finalists fought their way through the rocks (some gracefully, and some with brute force), before Brian Kemerer from Freedom, Pennsylvania, emerged the victor.
Only a few feet away from the fender-crunching Rock Fest Challenge was something completely different: the Show-'n'-Shine area. It was packed with hundreds of 4x4s, most of which were shined and polished to perfection. These trucks represented everything from daily drivers to awesome show trucks and included Mike Unger's stunning, blown, bright-yellow Chevy pickup that won the Grand Champion award in the Pro Class. Parked nearby was Scott Ramsey's '98 Dodge, and he was the winner of the Grand Champion award in the Modified Class. In the Street Class, Harry Lindamood's '96 GMC wowed the judges to take home the Grand Champion award. The Show 'n' Shine was also home to the Performance Marketplace, which offered goods and services from scores of aftermarket suppliers, such as Flowmaster Exhaust, Rancho Suspension, Rhino Linings, Mickey Thompson Tires, National Tire & Wheel, Cargo Express, and Weld Wheels.
In the infield, emcee and general do-it-all guy Doc Riley was busy from dawn till dusk calling the various racing competitions, which took place on Greg Fuch's custom-designed tracks. The two-day show featured National Mud Racing Organization-sanctioned side-by-side mud racing in six classes, Monster Truck Thunder Drags (and freestyle competition), Tough Truck racing, a burnout competition, and much more.
It may have been a truck event, but people really made the 4th Annual Buckeye 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals a success. Take, for instance, the Tall Cool Ones 4x4 Club, which won the Best Club Attendance award, or the Rough Rangers Off Road Club, which held a national get-together at the show. Special thanks go out to the Ruffriders 4x4 Club from Indiana for their help (for about the millionth time) in making tech, games, and about a score of other things function smoothly.
For more information on the Buckeye 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals, or any of the events in the Special Events Performance Series, contact: Special Events, Dept. OR, 804 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, (317) 236-6525, www.familyevents.com.