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Ocean City Jeep Week: Salty Air, Sandy Tires

Posted in Events on January 24, 2017
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What started up as a small meet-up of Jeep enthusiasts has quickly grown into a must-see Jeep show on the pristine Maryland coast. Now that show draws record crowds year after year. Every year, around late August, the family fun beach town of Ocean City, Maryland, plays host to the Jeep community for four non-stop days of trail rides, obstacle courses, and show and shine, all followed by fun nights of parties. A blessing of sunny days and warm temperatures all week led to a substantial increase in this year’s participants to nearly 1,300 registered Jeeps. A broad sampling of Jeeps of all type was driven from near and far for one last hoorah of beach fun before the cold, dreary winter months set in.

This year was a real treat for participants at Ocean City Jeep Week. A display of classic Jeeps throughout history from the ’40s through the ’80s—all restored to mint condition—was on exhibit. There was everything from flatties to an FC tow truck. No matter your favorite era of Jeep, there was something there to drool over and dream about.

Thursday kicked off the 7th Annual Ocean City Jeep Week with picture-perfect weather for the first beach crawl during which approximately 250 Jeeps caravaned down the beach from 30th Street to the inlet. Driving on the beach is normally prohibited in Ocean City, Maryland, so participants flocked in record numbers to throw their Jeeps into four-wheel drive and kick up a little sand, which was not only a treat for the drivers but also the unsuspecting tourists enjoying their morning stroll down the boardwalk. As the day heated up, so did the action at the Ocean City Convention Center. Participants and spectators alike wandered through the many aisles of vendors to see the latest must-haves in the off-road world, as well as the opportunity to discuss ideas on their latest projects with the experts. A cool addition this year was a lineage of Jeep history, displaying pristine Jeeps throughout history that look straight off the showroom floor. Down the road in the neighboring town of Berlin, Maryland, the Jeep Jam event was hosted at C.C. Customs. This year, it was extended to three action-packed days instead of two to ensure everyone would get a chance to have a little play time on the course to test their Jeeps capability. No show would be complete without a raffle, and with the help from a wide array of sponsors, this one did not disappoint.

While the show may not have offered the challenging trails of Easter Jeep Safari or Tierra Del Sol, it did offer driving down a breathtaking coastline, an appealing vendor show, a top-notch obstacle course, and an overall rip-roaring good time with like-minded Jeep nuts. This is a must-see show addition to your event list, if you’ve not been already. For information on the 2017 show, visit the Ocean City Jeep Week website at oceancityjeepweek.com.

A makeshift fab shop set up in a parking lot isn’t something you come across every day. Rick Disharoon, owner of The Metal Shop and the Jeep M715-based monster truck “Saigon Shaker,” wanted to show people you don’t have to have a fancy shop to build something spectacular.
Some people would have given up on making the trip after a blown head gasket on the way to the show but not Anthony Rendazzo. His determination set the bar high as he performed repairs in the middle of the convention center parking lot.
We couldn’t resist a good party, especially one that was crawling with Jeeps. The Ocean City Jeep Week welcome party had everything you could possibly want. A view, good food, lots of Jeep fanatics comparing notes and stories of their builds and rubbing elbows with celebrities of the vendor variety.
While summer may have been winding down for some beaches, Ocean City, Maryland, was in full swing with Jeeps of all shapes and sizes joining the morning shell searchers, beach joggers, or boardwalk wanderers for the once a year privilege to kick up a little sand.
Shaded comfy hammock? Check. Cool ocean breeze? Check. Soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore? Check. Last, but certainly not least, counting Jeeps.
Participants couldn’t get enough of the obstacle course in two short days, so this year they expanded it to three action-packed days of playing on manmade hills and berms, giving experienced drivers a chance to play around and novice drivers a chance to test their Jeeps safely with the help of the many volunteers guiding them through the course.
No reservations, no parking, no problem. The greatest thing about the Jeep community is the boundless creativity. While some may encounter a parking problem and throw in the towel, a Jeep owner will overcome.
Cory Folino of Bel Air, Maryland, couldn’t get enough of the Jeep Jam obstacle course, pushing his ‘89 Jeep Comanche to its limits. No trail ride would be the same without the goofy passenger showing his faith in the driver’s off-road finesse.
If you think about it, it’s really no surprise John Sharkey of Long Island, New York, couldn’t get enough of the car crush. Day after day of rush hour traffic does things to you as we could see while he plowed over the stack of crushed cars in his ’96 two-door Cherokee.
One man’s trash is another man’s kick-ass mud rig. John Whitlock, of Berlin, Maryland, nearly won the king of the mud pit challenge during Jeep Jam in a less-than-$500 Jeep build. The final climb out of this years mud pit unfortunately kept him out of the finals. The CJ body rests on a Chevrolet Blazer frame, has a carbureted small-block engine with a TH350 transmission, NP205 transfer case, open front differential, and a welded rear.
After a long week of working hard to make sure Jeep Jam got off without a hitch, Chris Cropper, owner of C.C. Customs and a cofounder of the show, decided to take a well deserved break and have a little fun in the mud pit.
Usually we try to keep the rocks under our Jeeps, but Zack Stout of Bel Air, Maryland, took exception to that rule when he proposed to his girlfriend, Bridget Saxon, during the beach crawl. Many girls dream of a beach proposal, but it’s likely few of those dreams would include a Jeep. However, she couldn’t have been happier.
Participants and spectators poured into the Ocean City Convention Center to take advantage of the air conditioning and opportunity to browse the many vendor displays selling every kind of Jeep accessory imaginable. Not only did it give Jeepers a chance to cool down from the heat, it gave them an opportunity for a little one-on-one time with company representatives, who were more than willing to answer questions and offer advice.
One might think this is a Jeep only the USPS could love, but this ’75 AM General Postal Jeep DJ-5D, owned by Eli Hecox, earned its spot in the show, gaining a lot of attention from the spectators. It just goes to show you don’t have to be pretty to be cool.
Kenny Corkell took home this year’s king of the pit trophy after tearing through the mud like a cutting torch through a marshmallow. Two Jeeps made it out of the pit alive, forcing a timed challenge that determined Kenny the winner.
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