Three years ago, on the way to Moab for some four-wheeling, Robbie Steinmetz and Danny Cloud decided to stop in Flagstaff, Arizona, for the Arizona Classic Bronco Stampede. After returning home and showing vacation photos to friends, they all wanted to have a Bronco event of their own. With about three weeks notice, Robbie and Danny rounded up all the Bronco owners they could find and met in Tulsa Park for an afternoon. Thirty-five Broncos showed up for the first-ever Oklahoma Classic Bronco Roundup, and it was such a success that everyone clamored for a follow-up the next year.
Being a little partial to the early Bronco, and living close to where the event was being held, we decided to see what this was all about. We hooked our Bronco to the back of the van and headed for Disney. As we rolled into Hogan's Off-Road Park, the headquarters for this year's event, we were met by Russ Hogan, proprietor and vehicle recovery expert. Hogan's Off-Road Park is a great place to stay if you ever visit Disney. It has direct access to most of the 'wheeling areas and offers great campsites, each one with water, electricity, and sewage connections.
Friday morning dawned cold and windy as early Bronco owners began to arrive. With a total of 49 Broncos registered for the event, the third annual Oklahoma Classic Bronco Roundup was underway. Even though most of Disney is made up of several areas of unforgiving rock formations, the area does offer terrain for all types of rigs. Bone-stock Broncos were able to join the daily runs. If they weren't equipped with giant tires and 5-inch lifts, or just weren't into damaging their rigs, they could still get to the more extreme areas to join other spectators.
Danny led the first day's outing to the Rock Garden. Although the trip to the Garden was short, it was extremely scenic. It provided some warm-up terrain with a fairly steep descent, a river crossing, and a small stair-climb. One optional obstacle was the crevasse overlooking the Garden. It is a point of rock jutting out of the main rock face. To traverse this obstacle, you had to follow a precise line, or you would find yourself down in the Rock Garden. Danny did an excellent job of spotting and making sure that everyone got through. With that behind us, we all made our way down into the Garden itself. This little area is so named because it looks like someone planted boulder seeds and they just began to grow. If you wanted to test your vehicle's clearance and travel, this was the place. The Garden took its share of axles and U-joints, as Russell Love of Ankeny, Iowa, found out. A quick U-joint replacement in his '74 Bronco and he was back at it again.
Saturday, the weather turned phenomenal. There were two trailruns scheduled for the morning, and we opted for the Ho Chi Mihn trail. It wound through the woods with steep climbs and creek beds that twisted and turned, making us glad we were in a short-wheelbase Bronco. The highlight of the trail was a steep climb that turned 90 degrees about halfway up, and from there, it was loose shale. A lot of winching took place here. It was a beautiful trip that ended with some river crossings. Then we returned to camp to get ready for the group photo.
Later, everyone headed for the Waterfall and the Playground, two of the most challenging areas of the park. The Waterfall is just that. Only a handful of Broncos took up the challenge. Going down the waterfall proved to be easier in a vehicle with a little more wheelbase, as Mark Jennings demonstrated in his '72, which had been lengthened 12 inches over stock. He was also running 44-inch Super Swampers on the end of his full-width Dana 60s.
Saturday evening was capped off with a banquet and a raffle, with many great prizes donated by several generous businesses. There were two grand prizes donated by Danny's Differentials and Down & Dirty Offroad: a Warn Winch and a set of 36-inch Super Swampers.
We all appreciated the prizes and had a great time at the raffle, but what really brought it all together was the fact that the proceeds from the grand prizes were donated to the N.Y. Relief Fund. In all, $1,310 was raised. We think this is a tribute to the 4WD community.
The town of Disney was more than accommodating. They seemed to welcome the four-wheelers with open arms. The 2001 Oklahoma Classic Bronco Roundup was a huge success, and we are looking forward to participating next year.