Author: Angela Hinkley
Hundreds of Jeeps, vendors and people in the offroad industry gathered in Moab for nine days, sign me up! No Jeep, and just a couple of weeks out from the event, I decide to buy a ticket to Moab, Utah and support Charlene Bower and the Ladies Offroad Network.
A Jam Packed Trip!
I started the day off be-bopping around town talking to random ladies inviting them to the Ladies Offroad Experience at the BFGoodrich Garage. It was awesome to hear that so many of the ladies I met already knew about the Ladies Offroad Network – it’s happening! I met up with Charlene to help her unload and get organized for the week. She handed me something large and square covered in a towel. “Is this a printer?” I said. With a super serious face Charlene responded with, “yeah, ‘cause who doesn’t travel with a printer?!” It was the first of many moments of laughter about the truth of leading the Ladies Offroad Network and what it is really like. We ended the night with a homemade meal that Deanna, Charlene’s mom, made inside their adorable patriotic themed RV. With a full stomach, I realized I was going on forty-two hours without sleep and could barely keep my eyes open and headed back to St Dane’s Cabin’s for a good night’s rest.
Six hours later and I was up and ready to go hit the trails! I attend a private trail run with many people from the off-road media on Crystal Geyser Trail hosted by WARN, ARB 4x4 Accessories, and Skyjacker Suspensions as a passenger in Ben (Charlene Bower’s Dad) polished and shiny Jeep. I got to pick his brain for hours about racing, sponsorships, marketing, modifications and so much more! I had my first experience with sand dunes at the White Wash Sand Dunes. Charlene and her Dad taught me how to safely drive on sand dunes, how to recover when stuck and what to do if you get caught in a dangerous situation. The best part of the day (and possibly my year) was being reunited with Jessi Combs after seventeen years. There were tears and squeals, with lots of hugs. I honestly never thought I would see her again and was so grateful for the opportunity. I ended the night at Bad-Max Safari Kickoff with a bonfire under the stars with some of my favorite people.
Day three was another trail run with the WARN crew with select Warn customers on Flat Iron Mesa where I was representing Ladies Offroad Network as Mike’s passenger (Charlene’s cousin). Highlights of the day were watching Jessi Combs and Shannon Campbell on obstacles in their badass race rigs. That night I enjoyed an amazing VIP dinner for members of Ladies Offroad Network hosted by Raceline Wheels were I got to catch up with women I haven’t seen for many months and met a couple new members too. Greg Mulkey from Raceline Wheels gave us the most useful and easy to understand presentation I ever received about what to look for in a wheel, and the features and benefits of Beadlocks and all the Raceline Wheels.
The next day I joined the GenRight Off Road Customer Appreciation event as a passenger with GenRight Off Road representative Cameron Harris. I had the time of my life at AreaBFE on Green Day, Minor Threat, and Upper Heldorado. Cameron’s rig is a badass stretched TJ he built himself with all the best of the best GenRight Off Road products. We chatted about his up and coming e-commerce business Bonus Line 4X4 – coming soon! And I WON a prize at the GenRight Off Road Raffle (I never win)! Next up was the Ladies Offroad Experience at the BFGoodrich Garage to learn from representatives of some of my favorite brands in the industry: Warn, Pull-Pal, Hi-Lift Jacks and Accessories, and BFGoodrich Tires. Charlene Bower announced the events for the 2018 Ladies Offroad Challenge, I got some great relationship advice from Jessi Combs, and met many new ladies from across the county.
Day 5 was a super fun day at the 5th Annual Gathering in Moab with Ladies Offroad Network at AreaBFE during the day and Grandpa’s Garage that night. I got to be a passenger with my girl Robin Brooks in her beautiful 2017 Tacoma. Really proud of her, she pushed herself, challenged herself and was beaming with excitement and accomplishment - heck yeah! I ended the night hanging out with fellow TNT Customs Terrain Master Christopher Frizzell game planning and strategizing for 2018. A huge thank you to WARN, Mac's Tie Downs, BFGoodrich Tires, Raceline Wheels, and AEV for an amazing day!
The next morning, I literally walked out to a jet plane heading back to Minnesota. I dumped a pile of desert sand on the floor at security when I took my shoes off. The man behind me on the plane sniffed said out loud “someone smells like bonfire; did you bring marshmallows to share?” when I sat down on the plane. Yep, that’s how I roll.
EJS with Ladies Offroad Network Take Away
- Off-roading without a rig. I haven’t wheeled my Jeep for a couple of months. Right now, my trail Jeep is at Max-Bilt Offroad and Manufacturing awaiting a transformation. Being a passenger has its benefits. Every day I was able to ride with someone different that I had never ridden with and in some cases never even met before. I was able to pick up new driving and spotting techniques, tips and tricks. Learn about their rig modifications; what they were and how the products preformed. Being able to offer my help and support gave me a way to add value that I wouldn’t have been able to offer if I was driving.
- One person’s people can be another’s star sighting. Charlene invited me into her inner circle of family and friends in the off-road industry. BIG name people that I would have likely never met, yet alone spent days on the trails with. You try to play it cool and not act like a “groupie” but there is that part of you that just wants to ask for a photo and autograph. After the shock wears off, and you spend the day with them, you realize that they are just cool people who share the same passion as you.
- She makes it look so easy. The behind the scenes reveals that it is not all rainbows and sparkles. It’s hard work, long hours, on little to no sleep and endless hours of preparation, planning and organization. From packaging treat bags to cupcake flags, every tiny detail that goes into the event is well thought out and takes resources to execute. It was awesome to see, and be part of, what goes into events of this magnitude. PS – Charlene Bower does sleep.
Until Next Time
“It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun.” – Dr Seuss. 2018 Easter Jeep Safari with Charlene Bower and the Ladies Offroad Network was AMAZING! Thank you to Deanna Bower for always taking such good care of all of us; the home-cooked meals, bagged lunches, and reminders to wear gloves and sunscreen. Ben Bower and Mike Smith for making me feel like family and letting me join you on this adventure. To all my Ladies Offroad Network members, old and new, it was awesome to spend time with you! Charlene Bower, thank you for this amazing opportunity, challenging experience, and memories that will last a lifetime.