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Willys on the Rocks: The 8th Annual Willys Rally Hits Moab

Posted in Events on November 20, 2017
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What could be better than wheeling in Moab? Wheeling a Willys in Moab of course! Over the past eight years this event has grown, slowly but surely, and the 2017 event hosted 24 Willys of all shapes and sizes. Most of the attendees were Willys Wagons, and a finer grouping we couldn’t imagine. A few trucks, a smattering of flatfenders, and a lovely FC rounded out the group. Casey Dimmitt and Pete Anderson are the organizers of this event held every third weekend in May. While not a hard-core wheeling event, they do offer a nice trail ride for Willys of all capabilities to enjoy. A few of the trail-rated rigs get together for an unofficial after-event run on some of the tougher trails around Moab. We were lucky enough to be invited to attend both runs.

The enticing thing about this event is that you don’t have to take a great amount of time away from work to attend. It’s three days long, and kicks off on Friday evening with a meet and greet in downtown Moab. Walking up and down Main Street seeing every parking space filled with a wonderful old Willys is an awesome sight. The Saturday main event was held at a new location this year, and the Red Cliffs Lodge located on Hwy 128 (also known as the “River Road” by those who frequently visit this area) worked out perfectly. The new venue offered a glorious backdrop to showcase the morning show ’n’ shine, and there was coffee and donuts for everyone.

Saturday’s trail ride departed from there, and began by heading up Onion Creek. Unfortunately, some late-season snow blocked us from making the full loop through the La Sal Mountains, but the distant snowcapped peaks offered a breathtaking sight during the day. The group returned to a nice spot by the Colorado River to enjoy a box lunch in the warm sunshine.

The evening found us enjoying a nice barbeque meal at Red Cliffs Lodge and the camaraderie of new friends and old. Event sponsors provided some awesome items for the raffle that concluded the night. One of the highlights of the day was a couple that had held their wedding ceremony at the Lodge that afternoon, and asked to have their photos taken with some of the old Willys.

The Sunday “unofficial after-event trail run” found seven hardy Willys taking on Hells Revenge. While most of this trail isn’t horribly challenging, it can be intimidating, especially when one is driving a vintage vehicle with manual brakes and steering. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but I can happily report that everyone made it through the trail safe and sound. Even Casey Dimmitt conquered Hells Gate in his 1957 Willys Wagon.

We hope this event will continue to grow in the years to come, and we plan to attend again. If you have a Willys and want to join your fellow enthusiasts in Moab for a great weekend in the red rocks and canyons, please check out willysrally.com. The 2018 event dates are May 18 -20. Registration for the event opens soon.

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