Selected for 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10
"DeAnna describes her offroad experience as very generic, the type that you obtain from being a country girl growing up in a small town. She has recently wanted to expand her knowledge base with offroading, so she knows what she should and shouldn't be doing. She works in a gun store because she loves shooting in addition to watching movies, traveling, camping, backpacking, canoeing, and riding horses. DeAnna has 3 children and a dashing husband. She loves life and her Jeep!"
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Tell us about yourself:
First, I have an amazing family. I have 3 children and a dashing husband. They are my life. I also work in a gun store because I love shooting. Shooting is one of my fun hobbies, watching movies, traveling, and I absolutely love being outdoors; whether it is off-roading, camping, backpacking, canoeing, or riding horses. I love life and my Jeep!
How long have you been offroading?
My offroading experience started differently than most other offroaders. About 16 years ago I had recently become a firefighter, and I experienced a lot of off-roading during brush fires in a brush-truck, making it into impossible places in an ambulance during an EMS call, and then starting to off-road with my buddies from the fire department for fun. I had also done some off-roading as a late teen on an ATV and an amazing Jeep that I will never forget! I have never had formal training or experience. It was all for fun or for work! So, 16 years ago my eyes were opened to the world of muddin’ off-road fun!
Like I previously stated, off-roading for me started by climbing the sides of mountains, hills, and other terrains as a firefighter and EMT. We would have to get a brush-truck, an ambulance, or even a fire truck, into some of the most difficult spots. But in doing that, it opened my eyes to how fun off-roading really is! We would even have to get our personal vehicles into those rough and difficult locations on occasion and it created so many laughs and memories. Other than that, off-roading for me was informal, it was just a bunch of us having fun getting dirty and stuck. Now that I have had my Jeeps for the past few years, it’s been more of a personal adventure of learning more.
My current vehicle is a 2016 Jeep Rubicon that is the perfect shade of slate grey. Her name is Bessy, which is also the name of my Pappy’s 1949 Fire Engine Red Ford pick-up. I had to carry on the tradition. She only has factory lift right now, because I haven’t had her for very long yet. There is a LONG list of accessories and changes that she will be going through. She has: a hard top with the Freedom top, 4:1 Rock Trac part-time 4WD system, Tru-lok Differential front and rear axles, electric front sway bar disconnect, rear stabilizer bar, NGD Heavy duty 44 Heavy Duty front and rear axle, skid plates, and off-road tires (they need to be bigger). So, she has a lot of work to be done, but I love her!
Some of my favorite off-road experiences were with the fire department.We would climb hills and rocks, go up and down mountains, drive impossible roads and trails, and it was a BLAST! The day I got my current Jeep I took her from the dealership straight to off-roading to let her taste some freedom. I had a HUGE smile on my face that day! Another great experience wasn’t extreme off-roading, but it was an amazing day. I took my previous Jeep up Currahee Mountain in Georgia.
What was your most exciting offroad achievement?
Again, I refer back to the firefighting days. I remember we had a huge forest fire and we had to offroad A LOT that day. Up mountains, through ditches, over rocks, and everywhere possible to make sure we got that massive fire put out. The day was an amazing accomplishment. I don’t have any trophies or medals, or any publicity for any of my off-roading, but I do have fond memories of my achievements.
What excites you about offroading?
Oh my goodness, EVERYTHING excites me about off-roading! I am an adrenaline junkie and I thrive off the adventure. When you are in control of a several-ton toy that you are depending on to get you over and through the impossible, and you succeed, it is exciting. Heck, even getting stuck is exciting! Then you have a new obstacle to overcome. Getting it unstuck can create a lot of laughs, cussing, memories, and stories to tell.
For me the most challenging part is not having any formal training. I am in the ‘learn as you go’ phase. I have only recently engulfed myself in the off-road world, and I am soaking in any knowledge opinions, and advice that I can. I want to learn EVERYTHING so that I can pass all of my knowledge down to my kids and help teach others as well.
What aspect of offroading do you think is the most fun?
It is ALL fun! The people you meet, the obstacles you overcome, the feeling of accomplishment, and the amazing stories you get to share with others. The adrenaline of climbing something or getting through something that seems impossible is fun. GETTING DIRTY! You know it has been a great day when you and your Jeep are caked in mud and dirt! You just take a deep breath, smile, and take it all in!
Well, prepping for anything in my world means organization. Once I have everything organized, then I let loose and have fun! I am definitely a double and triple-checker. I also have my moments of being completely spontaneous where I just happen to get an idea in my head, jump up, and just GO! In my experience, these usually turn into the greatest adventures.
What is on your offroading bucket list?
Moab for sure is on my bucket list. Also, to take my Jeep as many places and states as humanly possible. I have plans so far for Maine, Arizona (my mother-in-law lives in Mesa), and Ohio for the immediate future. It would also be amazing to off-road in a different country or even countries! I would love to compete some day as well.
I used to go off-roading with my buddies from the fire department, but I left the fire department about 6 years ago and moved around with my husband who was in the Army. Now I either go by myself or with my family. My goal is to join groups and gain new friends that I can off-road with. I would also like to have my dogs tag along.
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
Don’t be afraid. Get dirty. Have fun. These are the three main ingredients to a successful off-road adventure. That was the one thing told to me. I have also been told, ‘don’t let what seems impossible become impossible’. These are words I live by every day and when I am off-roading.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
When I am passionate about something I give it my all, my 100%. I have an extreme willingness to learn and be taught. Some unique facts: my husband was in the Army for almost 9 years. He taught me perseverance. He was blown up by an IED in Iraq and he has never let that stop him from doing anything, and THAT has taught me so much. I also have a son, Dane, who is autistic. He shows me so much about life. My oldest son, Marc, is incredibly intelligent and has an amazing personality; funny like his dad too. JoLeigh, my daughter, is a fantastic and beautiful young lady that is sociable and loads of fun. They make me smile. My family is my motivation in life.
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