Forum User Name: Heather Swigart
Chat with Heather
"I am 27 year old mommy to two little girls. My husband passed away in a off road vehicle accident 2 years ago. I made a promise to him that I would continue to do all the crazy things we did together for our girls. Since then I have learned to pull our fifth wheel all around AZ to go camping. I bought our old Jeep back and have taken my girls all around northern AZ in it. I have learned first hand how valuable life is and how fast it can be taken from you."
Occupation: Student/Stay at Home Mom/Photographer
Birthday: February 21st
Vehicle Name: Jeep-A-Car
Questions & Answers with Heather
Q: What is your favorite color?
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Mexican food
Q: Do you have kids?
A: Yes I have two girls, 5 & 3. Both of my girls are addicted to wheeling and racing just like her daddy was. They are always asking to go out in the jeep or telling me to go faster as we drive. They are dare devils in the making
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: Yes. I have one dog, a queensland heeler thats 5 years old named Gunner
Q: Do you take your pets off-roading?
A: Gunner rides in between both of my girls or in the passenger seat every chance he can get.
Q: What are your off-roading goals?
A: I would love to go to Moab or take my Jeep somewhere outside of Arizona.
Q: Is your whole family into off-roading?
A: Yes. I was born into it. My dad raced class 2 unlimited when I was younger. As I got older we became more involved in the dunes. We got sandrails and quads, and spent almost every weekend at the dunes.
Q: Are you usually the driver or co-driver?
A: I am usually the driver now.
Q: How old were you when you first started wheeling?
A: Actually driving since 15.
Q: How often do you get to go off-roading?
A: We try to go at least twice a month if not more. Anytime we go camping our Jeep comes along with us.
Q: How did you get started in the offroad world?
A: My late husband got me into Jeeps. He used to do rock crawling and wanted us to get more involved. When we got our Jeep it had never been down a dirt road and was completely stock. Not so much anymore
Q: Do you belong to an off-road club? Which one? What is their motto/mission?
A: Arizona Undertakers, I believe. I would say I am cause of my late husband, he was a part of Arizona Undertakers for years.
Q: Do you have any wheeling traditions?
A: Not that I can think of
Q: Do you look up to anyone in the industry?
A: Any of the women drivers.
Q: What is your most memorable offroad moment?
A: When my husband & daughter were in an accident almost two years ago, the off road community all gathered together in support for my family. During the week my husband was in ICU, they all held a fundraiser for us not knowing what was in store for our family. After my husband passed away, so many people in the off road industry where there to support my girls and I. To show their support and generosity for us. I can not thank them all enough, and I wish I could give each of them a hug and tell them how much it meant to me. Seeing this community come so close together for us was an amazing experience. And knowing still to this day if I needed anything I could call any of them for help.
Q: What was your first wheeling trip?
A: My first rock crawling trip was after I started dating my late husband. He was so excited to take me out rock crawling. I remember going out in the middle of the night, and about an hour after we got started someone broke down and we were all stuck. Not to mention it was SO slow. This was coming from a girl that was raised in off road racing and going to the dunes. I was used to the speed. I now understand and appreciate rock crawling, much more.
Q: What was your longest wheeling trip?
A: Longest I have done are day trips, with two little ones its very hard any longer than that. And if I took our jeep out with out them, I would never hear the end of it. They are quite attached to it.
Q: What was your favorite wheeling trip?
A: On our way home from Crown King one night, my husband thought he would try to get us home based on memory. It kept getting darker and darker outside and we were no where near getting home. We were so lost at one point we ended up on a cattle trail out in the middle of no where. Then we ended up on the side of a mountain, were I thought for sure our Jeep was going to roll we were leaning so far over. We had our oldest with us at maybe 1 1/2 and I remember she was laughing hysterically throwing cheetos on to the window below her, we were leaning that far over.
Q: How do you feel as a woman in the offroad industry?
A: I feel like most men under estimate us women in everything but more so when it comes to off roading. I love to prove them wrong
Q: What changes have you seen in the offroad community since you began wheeling?
A: I haven’t noticed any recently
Q: Give us a story, any story, about educating, guiding, empowering ladies in the offroad, past or future:
A: I was always the wife that never wanted to learn about our Jeep or how to drive our fifth wheel. I always figured my husband would be here for quite some time and there was no need for me to do it. I would take care of our girls. Since my husband passed away, I have had to learn how to go up that scary rock section instead of jumping out of the passengers’ seat. I have had to learn how to hook up our fifth wheel, load it and drive it to locations all over AZ. And dump it too. I have had to learn it all with out him. I wish I wasn't so stubborn about it then, when he tried to show me how to do it. I wish I would have taken the extra 5 minutes in the garage with him to learn about the axles on our Jeep.
Q: Do you have any advice for ladies wanting to get started in off-roading?
A: Go for it and don't second guess. Always take any advice someone wants to give you or suggestions for you. And enjoy the ride/ drive.
"The Jeep-A-Car is a Jeep Cherokee that serves only as an offroad vehicle."
Q: What is the best mod you have done to your vehicle?
A: I have not done one thing to our Jeep, we got it back a little over a year ago. I got the Jeep back from the guy that purchased it from my husband and I three years ago. He did all the work and fixed a bunch of stuff on it in the year he owned it. I hope to learn more about it and make some small modifications.
Q: Do you work on your own vehicle?
A: For the most part. I try to be involved in as much as possible.