The state of Virginia has earned the nickname "Mother of Presidents" because eight of our nation's commanders-in-chief were born there. In our humble opinion, Virginia should be called "Den of the Big Dogs" because it's also the birthplace of the Big Dogs Offroad, a company that hosts a series of family-oriented trail ride events each year. John Hunt, the man behind Big Dogs, shares a passion for bringing together families, individuals, and 4x4 clubs, at a venue that is otherwise off-limits to 4x4s throughout the year. The location where all Big Dogs events are held is near the sleepy little town of Gore, in northwestern Virginia.
Each September, a convergence of nearly 200 vehicles sets out upon 50-plus Jeep trails. Known as the Main Jambo, the event is the largest of its kind in the region, and draws participants from each of the surrounding states-some from as far away as North Carolina. Virtually every type of terrain, from muddy bogs to extreme boulder gardens, keeps participants busy during the three-day-long event. When not out on the trails, patrons typically enjoy campfire socials and award-winning brisket from Paulie's Cook'n. There was also an RTI ramp on hand for folks to test their rigs' suspension flex. A Saturday night raffle lured participation from event-goers, with two grand prize winches donated by Madmatz Unique Jeeps of Ruckersville, Virginia. Also on Saturday night was a slideshow highlighting the weekend's trail rides, and an evening of music and games around a massive bonfire. All Big Dogs events are family-oriented, and as such, children are encouraged to enjoy the festivities too; they even had a bounce-house to romp in, along with face-painting and other games to keep them occupied on Saturday evening.
Camping out under the stars each night guaranteed everyone, including us, a serene piece of the Appalachian wilderness. Modern showers and restroom facilities allowed participants to refresh and feel civilized all weekend long. Altogether, the event was a blast, and throughout all the festivities, the KGB 4-Wheelers raised just over $3,000 to help a single mother and her two young children, who recently lost their father, Michael "Mick" Payran, in a tragic auto accident. That's something even a President's mother could be proud of.
Supporting a Good Cause
As mentioned earlier in the story, members of the KGB 4-Wheelers were on hand at the Big Dogs Main Jambo to help raise donations for a very worthwhile cause. Zachary and Paxton Payran lost their father to an auto accident on June 14, 2009. At Saturday night's bonfire, KGB members organized a club fund-raising challenge designed to pit the many clubs present at the event against one another. We decided to shine the spotlight on the winners of this challenge. The Western New York Offroad club pooled their money together and made a $1,010 donation to the benefit of these young boys. All together, the night brought in over $3,000 in donations. Shown here are the generous men and women of the Western New York Offroad club. Way to go!