by Charity Conn
Hi, my name is Charity Conn. I am a mother of two, a fifteen-year-old girl and a thirteen-year-old boy, and I have been married to my best friend for almost four years. My love for offroading happened suddenly and was totally unexpected. I can remember walking around the Marion County Flea Market on a Saturday in October when my husband and I stumbled upon a Jeep event. I can remember watching in complete awe. Watching all those Jeeps on the obstacle course just lit something inside my soul! After my husband talked a stranger into taking me on one of the harder obstacle courses, I knew I had to be on that course the following year. My face hurt after that ride. I don’t think I have ever smiled so big or was so excited in my entire life! I wanted to be out there in my own Jeep the following year - and I was. We found out that this two-day event, named Jeeptoberfest, happens every year in October and is sponsored by the Ocala Jeep Club. This event is attended by people from all over the country who help raise thousands of dollars for local Florida charities. Now we set up “camp” in the same spot every year to watch the Jeeps on the course…the same spot where I had stood and watched my very first Jeep event and fell in love with offroading!
I came upon my first Jeep while looking for a car for my husband. As we were driving through a dealership in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, I spotted a gorgeous Jeep that I, at first glance, thought was a Hummer. It was love at first sight! I wanted her so bad but thought she was unobtainable, less than 4 hours later she was mine. I can still remember the ride home and my husband taking her off-road for the very first time that day. The trail was only about two miles long but was absolutely amazing. I loved being out in the open, so relaxing and beautiful. On the way out of the trail my husband drove my Jeep on a stump. This was both scary and exciting at the same time! It was that moment that I realized that I wanted to push myself and do more with me and my Jeep. Who would have thought such a tiny stump could have sparked such a passion! I went from wanting a Jeep to having a Jeep to drive and make my own.
Offroading has totally changed my life and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if it were not a major part of it. We were invited to our first Jeep meet not even a month after getting my first Jeep. I remember being so excited seeing all those big fancy rigs and knew right then that my life would never be the same. Not to mention how kind and helpful the people are. Since that night we have been part of a Jeep family that is extremely tight, if we are not eating together weekly, we are out riding together. I love to ride in Tanglewood in Inverness, Florida or the Citrus Wildlife Management Area in Citrus County, Florida.
I am very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life. I tend to spend more time with my Jeep family than I get to spend with my own family. I feel like we get to hangout and ride with some pretty awesome Jeepers. To me, when I meet a fellow Jeeper I feel like I’ve met a long-lost friend. You may not get to see them often but you tend to pick up where you left off when you do. Jeepers tend to be so kind and don’t hesitate to help out. It is amazing to me that a person that you have only met a few times is willing to help fix your rig or give advice on upgrades or repairs.
My family thinks I’m crazy for wanting to go and do all these things that were once thought to be a man’s hobby. Not to mention they can’t wrap their heads around me driving a $60,000 Jeep off-road! All this considered, they have been very supportive and do help when I need them. They have been on rides and have watched my children while I’ve gone to The Ladies Offroad Network Convention. My Dad has even gone on an obstacle course with me. I would have to say that my biggest supporter is my husband. He encourages me to do things outside of my comfort zone. He is the first one to guide me over the rocks or over dangerous terrain. I will listen to him over anyone else.
Here in Florida all we have are little hills and lots of mud, not much of anything else. To find a challenge one must go out of the state. Last year I had the opportunity to go to Wind Rock, Tennessee, to ride up in the mountains where the trails were challenging and stunning. I’ve also been to Moab - that pushed my limits. I would have never in a million years thought that I would be driving in some of the most beautiful places in the whole world. I have not seen everything and cannot wait to go on my next adventure with my family in the near future!
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas