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Mile High Jeep Club rocks All-4-Fun

Front Driver Side View Car On Rocks
Ken Brubaker
| Senior Editor, Four Wheeler
Posted April 22, 2003

Peak Performance

The summer of 2002 was tough on the residents of Colorado. Below-average snowfall had left reservoirs and creeks far below normal levels and summer rains had been sparse, leaving the area parched. Then things got worse. By July, forest fires were burning throughout the state, and in some cases they were traveling unabated, consuming everything in their path. In the southwest corner of the state, the dry conditions and the massive Missionary Ridge wildfire north of Durango forced the closure of the Durango and Silverton narrow-gauge railroad for almost a month. This put a significant dent in the town of Silverton's tourist-driven economy during what should've been prime tourist season. Then, in the face of doom and gloom, came a bright ray of economic sunlight. This sunlight arrived in the form of the Mile High Jeep Club's (MHJC) annual All-4-Fun event. With it came hundreds of eager participants. This was an adrenaline shot that helped the town of Silverton weather a difficult time.

Of course, the MHJC didn't directly plan on helping jump-start Silverton's fire-weakened economy, but there's no doubt that the timing was perfect. They were just doing what they've done for the past 36 years--holding one of the premier four-wheeling events in the country. The All-4-Fun tradition actually began in 1967, and has continued each consecutive year without fail. In order to keep things fresh, the event is based at a different location each year. In the past it's been held in locales such as Telluride, Ouray, Creede, Leadville, Gunnison, Breckenridge and Central City. This year's base of operations and campground were located on land graciously donated by the city of Silverton, in a picturesque area on the south side of the Animas River.

All-4-Fun is unique in that it's a week-long event that begins on a Sunday and ends on a Friday, so it's a great family vacation destination. With that said, they really integrate kids into the goings-on, with stuff like Wednesday's Pro 4x4-sponsored kids' games. Other unique All-4-Fun features include nightly activities such as Tuesday's Bestop-sponsored Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social, Wednesday's 4x4 Extreme and Clemson 4-Wheel Center-sponsored beverages, Thursday's Discount Tire-sponsored door prizes and beverages and Friday's Warn Industries-sponsored hamburger fry. On Wednesday, daytime trail rides are replaced with a massive Vendor Day, which allows participants to hang out in camp if they wish and peruse scores of wares under the ever-present event big-top. Vendor Day wraps up on Wednesday evening with an MHJC-sponsored barbeque. Thursday is also a focal point of the event because this is the day when the annual Children's Hospital of Denver raffle is held. Going into this year's event, the MHJC had raised more than $90,000 for the Children's Hospital. By the time the massive raffle had concluded this year they had exceeded their goal of raising $100,000.

Of course, trail rides in the Colorado high country were the crown jewel of All-4-Fun, and each evening participants could sign up for the following day's guided trail runs by marking their names on a bulletin board located at the big-top. The collection included such legendary Colorado trails as Black Bear Road, Poughkeepsie Gulch, Imogene Pass and Yankee Boy Pass, in addition to some lesser-known trails like Kendall Mountain and Brown's Gulch. The accompanying photos tell the story of one of many great trail rides, this one taking place on Black Bear Road and Imogene Pass.

The 2002 All-4-Fun event was a huge success, due in part to the excellent preparation displayed by the MHJC, the beautiful surroundings, the numerous collection of trails and the support of almost 100 corporate door-prize contributors and almost 25 corporate exhibitors. Participants should also be commended for their vigilance in avoiding any and all use of open flame outdoors during the event's dry conditions. The 2003 All-4-Fun event is right around the corner, taking place August 2-9 in the Leadville area, and there's no doubt it'll be another peak performance. For the latest information, visit or write them at Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Dept FW, P.O. Box 8293, Denver, CO 80202.


View Photo Gallery
  • The beginning of Black Bear Road offered our group some optional, tougher obstacles that required the vehicles to use every inch of available wheel travel.

  • Scott and Justine Marshall found the Colorado trails to be a bit different from the trails near their home in Vancouver, Washington. Still, they adapted quickly, thanks to a number of functional mods on their 4.2L '84 CJ-7 that included a Weber carb, an MSD ignition, a Flowkooler water pump, a Borla header, a Flowmaster muffler, a Centerforce clutch, a Warn 8,000-pound capacity winch, a rear Detroit Locker, and Genuine Gear solid rear axles.

  • No matter how many times a person runs Black Bear Road, the view of Telluride is always breathtaking as the end of the trail drops you quickly into the valley. For first-timers, the tight switchbacks and sheer drop-offs are often just short of terrifying.

  • A line of more than 100 vehicles stretched through the town of Silverton during Wednesday's early-morning parade. The parade kicked off a day full of festivities that included almost 25 vendors under the big-top, Pro 4x4-sponsored children's games, a show-and-shine, free beverages sponsored by 4x4 Xtreme and Clemson 4-Wheel Center and an MHJC-sponsored barbeque.

  • Hidden in a valley near the Imogene Pass trail is this hair-raising, but stunningly beautiful, waterfall obstacle that pits your resolve against a fast water crossing with a wet, rock stair-step obstacle.

  • Ron and Sharon Burton of Colstrip, Montana are certainly no strangers to mountain 'wheeling. They hit the Colorado trail in their '82 CJ-7 that's equipped with a supercharged 350ci IROC Camaro engine, an ARB Air Locker-equipped high-pinion Dana 44 front axle, a Detroit Locker-equipped Ford 9-inch rear axle and coilover suspension.

  • Corey Sell of Bourbonnais, Illinois isn't your typical button-down Harvard Business School graduate. He and his wife Traci love to explore the outdoors in their '50 Willys CJ-3A, which has undergone a significant modernization. It features a Vortech 4.3L V-6 engine, a T-98 transmission, a Dana 18 transfer case, front and rear ARB Air Locker-equipped Dana 44 axles, a spring-over axle conversion, 37-inch tires and bead-lock American Racing wheels. All-4-Fun was the first off-highway outing for the newest addition to their family, baby Mackenzie, seen here sleeping soundly while dad attempts to traverse a massive boulder.

  • Wednesday's show-and-shine was yet another facet of All-4-Fun, and it was held in conjunction with a vendor display and children's games.

  • The Rocky Mountains are a cornucopia of fun for rock hounds (go figure), and we had several on our trail ride. During our lunch break they taught members of our group the basics of finding the ore-laden specimens (they're the heavier rocks) and how to use a small pick to break them open for inspection (whack with force). Sadly, we didn't find the ones with gold in them.

  • A good indication of how challenging the trails are is the number of broken trucks that limp back to camp. Those who think the Colorado trails have gone soft need look no further than the 4x4 Used Parts Fix-Em-Up Shop centered in the All-4-Fun base camp. Owner Robert Schleppy was busy nonstop, repairing trail damage as fast as it came in.