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2018 Fullsize Invasion: Big Rigs Prowl Moab’s Legendary Trails

Posted in Events on June 6, 2018
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It was 1967 when the Chamber of Commerce of Moab, Utah, was looking for a way to attract people to come visit. Moab was an absolutely magnificent little town that was beautiful, but far away from any large population. It survived largely on money tied to uranium mining—someday that money would dry up. The Chamber looked at the resources available and came up with a plan: it would hold a jeeping event that would invite 4x4 enthusiasts and off-road beatniks of all kinds to the lovely town. After 52 straight years, we’re comfortable calling the plan a success.

In the early 1980s, the Moab Chamber of Commerce saw this as too big of an animal to wrangle themselves and brought on a local 4x4 club—the Red Rock 4 Wheelers—to manage the event. At some point the name also changed slightly to be called the Easter Jeep Safari. But the plan was never to be exclusive to a single manufacturer. The term “jeeping” was synonymous with “off-roading,” and there simply weren’t enough 4x4 enthusiasts yet to form cliques. Anyone who was into off-roading was welcome. And that tradition still continues today. One thing we saw at the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari was that “different” was definitely cool. A group that helps to push that plan and continues to believe in the “all are welcome” credo is the Fullsize Invasion crew. While they’re all about their fullsize 4x4s, requirements for joining the pack are loose and it is really just a bunch of fullsize 4x4-loving folks that love to see col rigs. We saw Dakotas, Grand Cherokees, and even a first-generation Explorer wheeling with the group.

What started as a rogue run done on a single day six years ago has turned into five full days of trail running during the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari week, accompanied by a party and raffle. For 2018, the raffle proceeds (of prizes generously donated by Fullsize Invasion sponsors) went to help build a new playground at a preschool in Moab. Clearly, the Fullsize Invasion is here to stay. The event is getting bigger every year, is official with permits and insurance, and always hits some of the best trails that the Moab area offers. For more info visit facebook.com/fullsizeinvasion.

Samuel McIntyre’s J10 is brimming with cool. From patina to a capable linked suspension to the nutsy driver behind the wheel, Sam is always fun to watch.
Shane Dunne wheeled his Cummins Ram trail truck on every run the Fullsize Invasion put on during the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari.
Blake Anderson joined a few of the 2018 trails. He’s caught on camera here flexing out his fullsize Cherokee on the Behind the Rocks trail.
The Sunday run on the Moab Rim trail used to be small in numbers, but the 2018 run included 26 4x4s (the 2017 run had seven). This was an excellent indication as to just how busy the week was going to be.
After migrating from New York to Moab, Mike Leggero spends his time playing in the rocks in his H1.
Bullet Proof Diesel brought out its 6.0L Excursion to hit the Fins and Things trail for a Diesel Invasion. The theme of the day was obvious, and the trail was packed with a bunch of tow rigs that were partaking in the 4x4 fun that they usually only get to view from the parking lot.
Stephen Watson of Offroad Design has attended every single year of the Fullsize Invasion. In fact, Stephen has been wheeling Moab in fullsize rigs long before the onset of the Fullsize Invasion. His killer K30 is always impressive.
Tom Bingenheimer’s Tacoma isn’t a fullsize, but it sure is cool, and he did all the modifications.
One of the “Ks” from K and K Custom Fabrication must stand for driveshaft Killer. Considering how they drive this truck, it’s kind of amazing that their axlehousing doesn’t match the driveshaft.
The Gatekeeper is just what it sounds like. The first obstacle on the Behind the Rocks trail is a doozy, and basically says, “If you can’t make it up this, then you shouldn’t be in here.” Ervin Oster’s K5 answered correctly.
The most photographed car on the Moab trails this year was Joshua Gordon’s ’46 Plymouth. In fact, it was the only car on the trail…and a ton of fun to watch!
Johnny Wood’s 1/2-ton Dodge had no problems creeping up the Moab Rim trail.
It was great to see the brand-new Pro Comp Super Duty already being put through its paces. G2 and Smittybilt sponsored the runs, but they brought their sister company’s big truck in honor of a fullsize day on the Behind the Rocks trail.
Dave Hellman has been a huge help in making the Fullsize Invasion better every year. He’s a Moab local who runs Xtreme 4x4 Tours and helps acquire permits and insurance for the outings every year.
Baron Wheeler is true to his name. And he’s got a pretty cool solid-axle F-150 to boot.
Shane Dunne’s diesel Dodge has been built for trail use. Last year, he drove it all the way from Connecticut for the 2017 Fullsize Invasion, but he got a new tow rig, which means he could really hammer on his Ram during this year’s event.
Daystar’s CEO Mark Turner brought his ever-so-cool copper-clad Power Wagon. The “Bootlegger” is beautiful.
Mike Bice brought his K5 to join the crew for the last trail day on Strike Ravine—a short and easy route that drops you off at the mouth of the Helldorado trail in AreaBFE, which is not so easy.
Daystar’s brand ambassador Ian Johnson showed up to hit the Moab Rim trail in his M715. It’s packed with all sorts of mods but still has the original patina!
For a fullsize club, these guys aren’t very exclusive! It turns out that the Fullsize Invasion guys just love to see diversity, and they’ll gladly let anyone run with them—even a fancy aluminum-tub Jeep like Colin McLemore’s.
In case you think Moab is too far for you to get to, let us introduce you to Benjamin Russell. He brings this cool doorless square body all the way from Rhode Island.
Everyone who showed in Off Road Recovery Gear’s parking lot for trail meetings each morning got hooked up with shirts thanks to Fullsize Invasion’s sponsors: Bullet Proof Diesel, Daystar Products, G2 Axle, Lost River Off Road, MSD, Offroad Design, Pure Performance, Smittybilt, and Voodoo Offroad. Heck, even the dog got one this year!
If you’re gonna build a new company truck and it’s a solid-axle single cab on Boggers, you better be joining the Fullsize Invasion crew. And Fab Fours did just that this year.
There were a number of K5s hitting the trails this year. And rightfully so! Who doesn’t love a classic K5? Now if some Ramchargers would just show up! Calling Christian Hazel?
Jared Kinne brought out his Super Duty on a Pure Performance suspension kit and 40-inch Toyos. The four-link conversion and flexy rear spring packs let those axles move pretty well for a big diesel tow rig!
This Suburban is just one of two 4x4s Matt Johnson and Patricia Sorrentino brought to Moab this year. They also brought out a cool square-body flatbed Chevy. We guess they couldn’t make up their minds as to which one to take on the trip!
LGE Motorsports showed up with the best paintjob in Moab on their new Super Duty—and rightfully so. They’ve been premier body customization specialists for some of the auto industry’s best creations for decades now.
Brian Rolen showed up to the Behind the Rocks run, and he got a little too light in the rear coming down High Dive. He throttled it and sped down onto all four tires for a great recovery.
Amber Mayo drove her diesel Blazer all the way from San Diego, wheeled with the guys all week, and drove it home. And apparently, she really likes Fig Newtons.
This is a good example of how many fullsize rigs hit the trails in Moab this year. It may be called a Jeep Safari, but there seems to be an invasion going on!
Devil Mountain Diesel brought out their 6.7L Power Stroke company truck to join the all-diesels day.
This is one of those “triple take” rigs—as in you do a triple take to really figure out what it is. The custom windshield, fender mods, removed roof, and cut-down doors really hide its true ’69-’72 Chevy truck identity.
You know what’s cool? Seeing a trail with all different 4x4s. Not a single one matched another.
The Xtreme 4x4 Tours buggy puts people in thrill ride positions on some of the most fun trails. But this week it was just wheeling with its fullsize brethren.
Diversity of 4x4s is key. Fullsize is forever cool, but just bring something unique.
PhotosView Slideshow

It took us a while to figure out what this was, but it’s actually a no-grille first-generation Explorer with an exo cage. And if we’ve ever seen an argument for an exo, it was when this thing literally went over, sprung off its exo cage bar, and back onto its wheels. You could see the joy on Ryan Hauf’s face as the rig successfully dropped back onto all four wheels.

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