Thursday, August 30, 2018

MODIFIED: AN OFF-ROAD WHEELING ADVENTURE







If you are reading this post, I’m going to assume that you are probably male (90% of our readers are) and like going off-roading. Have you ever wished that your significant other was into it as well? There are ways to entice your lover to learn off-roading in a safe and welcoming atmosphere. Hook them up with trainers in your area, and check out our women’s only training. This article, from our in-field contributor, Susan Bodnar, is about an annual event for novices as well as advanced wheelers that takes place in Tremont Pennsylvania, called Women’s Wheeling Day. Read on, see what these women got up to and TAP into Adventure…with your partner!



Women’s Wheeling Day is an all-inclusive, family-friendly event run by coordinators Christie Vinson and Susan Bodnar (both of OK4WD). It’s held annually at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park in Tremont Pennsylvania. In 2016 it was held on October 22nd, in the midst of Autumn’s fiery beauty. The inception of this event began with a vision of creating a welcoming event where women could off-road with their peers and learn in an environment where they didn’t feel intimidated or frustrated. The inaugural event brought in 8 drivers. The following years we had 40 participants, then 100, and this year we had over 200 drivers!



Attendees were greeted and assigned in groups for the day. Groups were formed according to driver’s knowledge level and vehicle build. The runs range in complexity from novice to black diamond. Each group was led by an expert trail guide and tail gunner who ensured that all vehicles were trail ready and reviewed trail etiquette with their group. The trail guide and gunner’s job is to make sure that everyone feels secure and has the support (spotting) they need to run a trail safely and successfully. We want everyone to complete this event feeling sufficient and frankly, psyched to get out and wheel some more! We have found that women who participate in this event did go out and explained the word to other drivers…hence the event’s massive growth.

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Prepping for the runs-vehicle inspections and airing down.



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Jenna Bussard from Maryland and her 2015 Jeep Wrangler tackling a rock obstacle at Rausch Creek. This was Jenna’s first-time off-roading at Rausch Creek.

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1995 Wrangler owned by Kathleen Ann. She began Off-roading in ’96 via Jeep Jamboree events and soon became a trail guide. Diagnosed with Breast Cancer her rig was custom painted pink by her husband. Her son Cory (13) and daughter Zoe (10) love going off-roading with their parents and rode along with Kathleen for this event.


Donna Burrell in her ’12 Toyota Tacoma tackling a downward slope at Rausch Creek.

All enjoyed a full day on the trails. We were pleased to see the drivers band together to help each other through both accessible and challenging trails and obstacles. Drivers and passengers shared a lunch break on the trails then headed back out.

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Lunch break…where’s the Pizza?

Some minor breakages occurred on the trails but were quickly fixed as the women worked together to fix any problems that arose.

While intermediate and advanced groups hit the trails early, approximately 60 beginners participated in a class taught by Northeast Off-Road Adventures out of Ellenville, NY. Instructors Jon Mapes, Rich Brody and Owner Scott Trager, taught a three-hour “Basic 101 Off-Roading” class before heading out on the trails.

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Northeast Off-Road Adventures out of Ellenville, NY. Instructors Jon Mapes, Rich Brody and Northeast Off-Road Adventures owner Scott Trager, taught a three-hour “Basic 101’s of Off-Roading” class.

The class included 3 Stations: A vehicle 360: teaching the drivers how their 4WD vehicle differs from an average car. The instructor also informed the participants how to perform a vehicle inspection/checkpoints to ensure that their rig is well maintained and trail ready. The second station involved education on safe driving, trail etiquette and what to expect on the trails. The third station taught drivers the fundamentals of torque and picking a line, as well as working with a spotter. Drivers learned hand signals and practiced maneuvering over obstacles and through tight areas. After the class was complete, Scott Trager raffled off a free, full-day training class at their training facility in Ellenville, NY.

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Drivers learned to maneuver through obstacles and tight areas with the help of a spotter

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After a day on the trails, all drivers and passengers were welcomed back to the pavilion for a delicious BBQ Dinner hosted by OK4WD and Globex Performance. A very generous raffle followed dinner. We are very grateful for all the sponsors (listed below) who provided fantastic raffle prizes for the participants. During lunch, stories from the trails, adventures, and advice were exchanged, and many new friendships and bonds were created. We can’t wait for next year!!

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Christie Vinson is speaking to the attendees after the event was over.