The rumble was impressive and the color palette broad enough to lay challenge to a rainbow. Much of what we were hearing were hundreds of pistons cycling within a five-liter volume, and those powerplants were moving a substantial “herd” of colorful 4WDs all around us as their drivers readied themselves for a day on the trails.
Each year a hearty group of Ford ’wheelers gathers to pay respect to one of the early domestic sport utility vehicles and its off-road prowess. Of course, we’re talking about the venerable Ford Bronco, and the event is the Arizona Classic Bronco Stampede. It’s a 4WD family gathering where enthusiasts gather to show off their rigs, play 4WD games, share in the camaraderie of the like-minded (Bronco fanatics) plus run some excellent desert trails and explore a little Arizona history.
Many of the owners who showed up for the 20th annual event brought with them one of the first generation classics from 1966 to 1977. There was also a handful of the larger second-generation Broncos (referred to as OJB, as in O.J. Simpson Bronco), and one or two of the downsized Bronco II variety amongst the 109 vehicles attending this year.
The group gathered to camp in Rock Springs, just a short drive north of Phoenix. This served as a meeting point and a spot where owners could meet to share experiences. From there some groups ended up running a number of nearby 4WD routes over the three-day event. Nearby are a good variety of trails ranging from scenic dirt roads to more challenging routes that meander through the mountains, and then the even more challenging trails that are nestled down in sandy washes strewn with all manner of boulders and interrupted periodically by solid rock ledges.
Like Broncos? If so, you might want to check out the Stampede event in the spring of 2012. For more information, check out the Arizona Classic Bronco website at: www.azbronco.org