Author: Jessica Greenland
The Lone Star State never disappoints when we visit for the weekend. The Friday Night Drags happen every Friday night during the summer at Texas Motor Speedway. For the past 4 years, they have done a Jeep Night in July. This was my second year attending and I get super excited when we get to go. I was in love after attending the first time. For anyone who loves NASCAR and the big race tracks this event is epic, especially if you love Jeeps. The Jeeps line up by the hundreds in the parking lot and they are all stock to highly modified. This year I had rounded up 15 of my jeep friends from various clubs in Oklahoma that wanted to go this year. Since last year I made good friends from local Texas jeep groups and John Kitsner heads up the Baa Baa Black Jeep club. I have met up with John several times since then and have talked with him on Facebook many times. He followed my journey with Ladies Offroad Challenge since the beginning and was cheering me on. This year at the Jeep night he asked me to talk with the Jeep crowd about Ladies Offroad Network. John puts on a good meet and greet before we get on the track. He has awesome giveaways and raffles to support our jeep community. This event has grown every year since the beginning. As I lead everyone into our designated staging spot for all the jeeps to line up and get ready for the raffles and giveaways, I met up with John to help out and mingle with all the people that arrived. It was my time to speak to all the people that came out to the event, especially the ladies. John had a flatbed truck set up as our stage so we could be above the crowd, so that we could be seen and heard. He introduced rockstar and I , then he handed me the microphone over to me, I was pretty nervous! It was a great chance to talk about Ladies Offroad Network and all the epic experiences I've had, and hopefully encourage them to join LON. I had a captive audience as I talked about my journey with the Ladies Offroad Challenge from start to finish and how I am continuing my journey today.
The most exciting part of this evening is nearing as all the Jeeps line up to go down into the infield of the track to line up 50 at a time on the track apron before the pace track comes around to lead us at 60mph around the track for 2 laps then down on pit row lined up tight to allow everyone to finish their laps. This takes about 45 min to an hour. After 5 rows , hundreds of jeep get lined up together, we get an epic picture taken then escorted off the track to the infield to park. We get to see all the cool mega truck and classic cars that came to show off, as well as watch all the drag racing on pit row. I am never disappointed with this event. As we leave with my group we convoy together to Bridgeport, TX which is 35 minutes away and camp for the night. We will wheel on some easy to tough rock terrain in the morning and the next day!
Bridgport, TX has a lot to offer in their Offroad park, Northwest HOV was established in 2007 and converted into an offroad park with 300 acres. It was officially opened in 2009 to all offroad enthusiasts. The city of Bridgeport maintains the park that is only opened on weekends and has limited camping areas on certain times of the month, but has since opened an extended camping parking area just a month ago. The park has 25 miles of trails from easy to hard and marked on difficulty. Our group likes the black 4 diamond trails to play in. There are other trails more difficult but my group doesn't have buggies to get up the huge rocky terrain. Most of our group has moderate to highly modifies jeeps to scale all the rocky terrain. Our favorite part of the park is called the Minoes which are very technical and you must pick good lines and have spotters.
I have a few ladies in my group that needed extra help to learn how to wheel on rocks because they are use to dirt trails and do not use their jeeps to wheel for fear of breaking their daily driver. We always let our fellow jeepers ride if they don't want to use their jeep to learn. It would be a new experience all together for them. I even let one of the ladies drive “Rockstar” to get them more experience, and mind you, I never let anyone drive my Rockstar. These ladies were ready to learn and take part. I didn't take them down any trails that I felt they couldn't handle. It takes over coming the fear of the unknown and listening. We have the best spotters around in my group. We all work together on the trail like a machine. The more experienced goes first then the new ones at the back to watch and explain as we go up together. We also have a rear taken up by another experienced driver to ensure no one is left behind or unattended. We also had a quad following us this time and they did wonderful on the trails. The Minoes have many “fingers” of trails from the bottom to the top and back down again. From big bolders and rocks, steady inclines to steep inclines. If you do not pick good lines you can incur damage and tip over easily. One of my new ladies has a JKU Rubicon named “Stevie” . She has everything she needs to make the trails look easy!. Sissy Allen is pretty short so it was challenging for her to see. She was very nervous but trusted in me to teach her and she followed the spotters well. I pushed her to gain trust in the spotters and have a positive attitude that she could conquer her fears. She didn't take her doors off so seeing out of her window at her line was difficult for her. She also didn't know how to operate her lockers because she never used them. We began airing down and taking doors off for anyone that wanted to do so as well as a quick lesson on hand signals and how to use her lockers, maps in hand we were off.
Getting to the Minoes is pretty bumpy with deep small boulders and steep downhill climbs with huge ruts so you have to pick your lines carefully. It is never the same when we come back due to rain and rocks moving. But after you find your line going back down is no big deal because we go down this trail a bunch of times. Each trail up the Minoes is different and challenging. Sissy was pretty nervous but we walked her through it and I walk along side her and cheered her on and taught her how to find lines and watching her spotters. She did excellent and conquered her fears! She was so happy and excited for the next trail. Now I have her hooked on rock crawling. We then got done with all the back side of the Minoes and we went to scout out our 3 other black diamond trails that are pretty steep and hard. We were met by some of the park attendants to help assist some crazy people in a few jeeps that were window deep in a watery mud pit. Now Texas caliche mud is no joke, its like cement and will suck you in and its tough to get out of. We ended up with 3 jeeps on recovery on this one. Full on 3 point pulley and backed with a tree strap from behind to keep the pull strong. It took a bit to get them out. After that they towed him back to the front gate to be towed off by a tow truck because it was dead.
We finally made it to the other trails on “No Winch Hill.” These are steep and very rocky. Sissy was a little worried about these but I ensured her she could do it and that I wouldn't let her do anything that I felt she couldn't do. Cameras rolling I had cheered her on while the spotters did their work. She did all the rest of the day while collecting rocks on the the trail she conquered. She was going to make trophies out of those rocks. Some of our group had to leave so we went back to base camp and loaded them up. As soon as they left we were hungry and ready for lunch. We always eat at Rock City, which is an awesome rock crawling, buggy theme burger joint in town. Then it was back on the trails and finding some no so used trails that were pretty hairy so I had the ladies with my group and we used map skills to find a way around. I was not taking them down those few trails because they were very hard and I felt that they were not ready for it. After we made our way back around it started to get dark so we all headed back to camp to sit and talk about today. Sissy was so moved from her experience she was in tears and told me she could see how I felt accomplishing the Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10 weekend. We all have Challenges in life and its up to us to help, teach, encourage and move people to their full potential. This process is something I feel passionate about, as well as Ladies Offroad Network and I believe in Charlene Bower. I am so excited for what is next in my chapter and journey with this great organization. I cant wait to get to the Ladies Offroad Conference and learn more and give back to so many ladies. I want to empower everyone and teach and learn. I want to make my dreams of racing competitively come true. Now I know I have a lot of strong women on my side and my Jeep family, My Goonie Squad and my lady offroad chicks cheer me on! Stay tuned for the next adventure!
Author: Jessica Greenland