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Catskills Jeep Jambo: Mucky Madness

Posted in Events on January 1, 1999
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The 260 attendees of the Catskill Mountains Jeep Jamboree definitely got more than they bargained for. Weeks of relentless rain before this 1st Annual event turned what would have been moderate trails into honest-to-goodness mud bogs. But there weren't many complainers; a number of first-time off-roaders christened their Jeeps (and themselves) with a healthy dose of sticky four-wheel excitement.

The launching point for the Catskill Jamboree was the ski slope adjacent to the host Concord Resort Hotel. The 131 CJs, YJs, TJs, Cherokees, and Grands in attendance wouldn't look this clean by day's end.

The Catskill Jamboree represented the second consecutive year Jeep Jamboree USA has added an off-road venue in the Hudson River Valley region, which encompasses southeastern New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. Last year was the 1st Annual Poconos Jamboree. That event was so popular that this year Mark Smith and company offered a summer and fall Poconos Jamboree. That underscores the trail starvation syndrome that afflicts numerous northeastern Jeep buffs and is proof positive that off-road enthusiasm in this traditionally green region is just as rabid as in the western states.

In fact, the Catskill Jamboree was a rapid sellout. Trip registration began in early December, and the event was sold out by January 20. As many as 131 vehicles, representing Canada, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, showed up at the host Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, New York.

By the end of the day it was sometimes difficult to tell who carried the most mud-Jeeps or Jeep enthusiasts.

Also reminiscent of the Poconos event, the Catskill Jamboree consisted primarily of logging trails through rolling mountain forests on Concord property and other privately owned land. Trails were rated 4-6 on the Jeep Jamboree USA scale, with the rating bumping to 5-8 under wet conditions.

And wet was the operative word for that mid-June weekend. Creeks were plump, and springs were gushing, turning many of the trails to streams. Local coordinators Mike Taylor and Adam Rivas can be credited with helping develop trail systems that pushed many stock Jeeps to their limits and offered plenty of challenges for the built rigs.

In a tug-of-war between man and Jeep, Jeep wins every time-unless both man and Jeep are pulling in the same direction.

If you'd like to participate in the 2nd Annual Catskill Jeep Jamboree, contact Jeep Jamboree USA, P.O. Box 1601, 2776 Sourdough Flat, Georgetown, CA 95634; 530/333-4777.

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