Jeepers Jamboree Celebrates A Half Century On The Rubicon
It all started at a meeting hosted by Mark Smith at his Georgetown house to discuss a way to boost the small logging town's economy. Of all the ideas he and his friends tossed on the table, the one they all liked most was a trip across the Sierra Nevada from Georgetown to Lake Tahoe by way of the old Rubicon Trail. Harold Krabbenhoft created the name "Jeepers Jamboree," and they all decided it was the perfect name for the event. Mark Smith, Ken Collins, and Harold Krabbenhoft presented their idea to the Georgetown Road and Gun Club, along with the Georgetown Divide Rotary Club. Both organizations liked the plan and agreed to finance the venture.
Mark Smith and Ken Collins then began contacting everyone they knew who owned a Jeep and invited them to attend the first Jeepers Jamboree. The first event was held in August of 1953, with 55 Jeeps and 155 people in attendance. The promotion and marketing went so well that the Jeepers Jamboree has been held annually ever since. More than 94,000 happy Jeepers have attended the Jeepers Jamboree throughout the years, with the 50th marking the largest attendance ever. The golden anniversary event saw more than 800 vehicles and 1,800 people.
As usual, it all started Wednesday on the main street of Georgetown. This is where the vendors set up their booths to show all of the Jeepers their new products. It's also where you check in for the event and grab dinner. After the night's festivities are over, it's time to prepare for the trip in the morning.
The group leaves from Georgetown on Thursday morning, traveling to Loon Lake and the entrance to the Rubicon Trail. After everyone is staged at the Loon Lake trailhead, they shift into Low range four-wheel drive and begin the journey to Rubicon Springs. Going from Loon Lake to the base of Walker was just a matter of picking the correct line on the trail or having the Rock Rollers guide you through the rocks. From the base of Walker to the Little Sluice was a little more challenging, thanks to Mother Nature's winter modifications. About halfway up Walker there was a large boulder with a hole just on the other side. Quite a few eyes were opened by a little tipping, but everyone made it safely through to the top with the help of the Rock Rollers.