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Fullsize Invasion at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari

Chevy Suburban Doug Hampton
Harry Wagner | Writer
Posted September 1, 2012
Photographers: Adam Blattenberg

OFF-ROAD Magazine’s Inaugural Fullsize Invasion

Every year we go to Moab for the annual Easter Jeep Safari (or EJS, as we like to call it). Despite the name, the “Jeep” Safari has been a gathering of wheelers of every shape and size for decades.

Sure it is mostly Jeeps, but we have found feature trucks in Moab like Mopar’s Ram Runner (on the cover of our August ‘10 issue) and Rob Knoell’s Ram Charger (on the cover of our December ’11 issue). In the last few years, we have noticed a marked decline in fullsize vehicles attending EJS. In fact, we have noticed less Jeeps too…unless those Jeeps are new four door JKs. For better or worse, the JK has taken over Easter Jeep Safari. We can see why they are so popular: They are almost as long and wide as a fullsize truck (and as heavy)! But if you are going to wheel something that big, shouldn’t it have a V-8 under the hood and some heavy-duty running gear?

Shawn Wagner joined us for a day of crawling, but with a full complement of Carli suspension components his Dodge Ram is capable of hauling too. The truck is low slung and understated, although the Addictive Desert Designs front bumper and huge LED light bar definitely aren’t stock.

OFF-ROAD Editor Jerrod Jones and John Cappa of Four Wheeler wanted some diversity at EJS. And so the Fullsize Invasion was born.

Running a magazine gives you certain perks that the average guy doesn’t have. We aren’t referring to the booth babes or getting access to cutting-edge products before they hit the market (well… at least we aren’t referring to those right now). We are talking about having a voice to create and promote our own event. We started putting announcements in the magazine and on to drum up some interest in the month prior to Easter.

As the momentum began to build and more and more people started committing, we realized we would need some help to pull this off. Stephen Watson of Off Road Design was the natural choice. Off Road Design makes all sorts of parts for fullsize trucks, including transfer case adapters, suspension, steering components, and solid axle swaps—no one is more committed to fullsize trucks than Watson. He also lives relatively close to Moab in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and knows all of the red rock trails like the back of his hand.

He gladly offered to serve as trail leader on Poison Spyder Mesa—our chosen trail for the inaugural Fullsize Invasion. Poison Spyder Mesa was chosen for several reasons: It is close to town, there are bypasses around many of the more challenging obstacles (for newbies only, of course), and there is even some sand to play in as well.


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