In a perfect world, the show you’ve been preparing for since last year would go off without a hitch. The sun would be shining, the birds would be singing, and traffic would part like the Red Sea did for Moses. Let’s face it—we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where Murphy’s Law reigns supreme. We live in a world where time slips away and last-minute fixes are the norm, causing you to scramble around the night before a big show trying to get your masterpiece ready to show the world. Should you be lucky enough to have all your ducks line up in a nice little row, there is one force that is out of our control—Mother Nature.
We might have had a little rain on July 21-22 at the 23rd Annual All Breeds Jeep Show in York, Pennsylvania, but it would take a lot more than that to stop the tradition of one of the longest-running Jeep shows on the East Coast. With so much to offer, it’s no surprise the show is still going strong. A show ’n’ shine, LTI ramp, swap meet, and a whopping $20,000 in prizes are just a few reasons to be there. There were nearly 100 Jeep-related vendors to talk to and food vendors galore. It took several days and over 100 truckloads of rock and soil to create an obstacle course playground consisting of a bridge, some challenging boulders, and thanks to the rain, lots and lots of mud.
PA Jeeps was founded in 1992 by a group of friends, and their event quickly became one of the must-see shows for Jeep fans of all kinds. Thanks to this show, money has been raised and donated to many charities, with this year’s proceeds going to Mr. Sandy’s Homeless Veterans Center in York, Pennsylvania. For those of you who couldn’t make the show, here is a glimpse of the many Jeeps and activities participants enjoyed. If you want to see some cool Jeeps, play on a fun obstacle course, and just have an all-around good time, this show is not one to miss in 2019. For more information, check out the PA Jeeps website at pajeeps.org.
As the old adage goes, you can never be too prepared. We would’ve been quick to agree with that before we had the honor of meeting Bob Behler and his ’74 Jeep CJ-5 that he lovingly refers to as “operation overkill.” We could have easily spent the entire day going over everything on this Jeep and talking to Bob about what he was thinking when he decided on each of these creative ideas. Everything we asked about out he came back with a reason or explanation that left us saying, “never thought of that.”
Ten slots? You counted correctly, and to top it off, it is actually a real Jeep—a 1985 CJ-10A. They were used at Air Force bases around the country as an aircraft tug. Dave Gouldy, owner of this gem of a Jeep, made it even more unique by adding a Nissan SD33 six-cylinder diesel. These Jeeps were originally equipped with a beam front axle and two-wheel drive. Dave added a T19/Dana 20 taken from an International Scout, and a junkyard Dana 44 from a fullsize Jeep filled with 4.10 gears and an electric locker in the rear turn this former workhorse into a truly one-of-a-kind Jeep. He also stretched the frame 24 inches and added a custom bed, along with custom front and rear bumpers.
Ken Carson of Willows, Wisconsin, brought out his RC re-creation of an original M38 military jeep with his good friend Conrad Hauser as a tribute to the time Conrad spent in the Special Forces. This near-perfect re-creation is equipped with solid steel axles and 3-inch tires. Ken’s wife, Barbra, spent the day at the nearby shopping outlets while Ken and Conrad tore up the RC obstacle course. When we asked Ken about the build, he said, “I just wanted to do something special for my good friend Conrad; he’s a real American hero!”
Every year, old-school Jeep lovers flock to the show in hopes of finding buried Jeep treasures of yesteryear. The All Breeds Jeep Show swap meet is never lacking, and this year was no exception. We found ourselves digging through scores of parts like a kid in a candy store. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you probably don’t need it.
Walking the aisles of the All Breeds Jeep Show was like being at 4x4 Disneyland, and nothing warmed our hearts like the sight of these fullsize Jeeps.
Let’s face it, logs can be a little sketchy, especially when covered in mud, but that didn’t stop some gung-ho Jeepers from testing their skills. This Grand Cherokee was one of the lucky ones that managed to get across before the crew, using the “better safe than sorry” logic, decided it was time to pull the plug on this obstacle before something went awry.
Before the obstacle course had officially opened to the participants, we noticed several Jeeps on the course and a line of people with excited looks on their faces. As part of the show, Off Road Consulting put on a free “Driving Instruction 101” course using new vehicles from a local Jeep dealer. If you wanted even more excitement, PA Jeeps offered free rides in club members’ Jeeps throughout the day.
We had been in the mud on the obstacle course and decided to seek shelter from the pouring rain in hopes of ridding our shoes of the 20 pounds of caked-on mud that was beginning to make us feel like Herman Munster. To our surprise, backed under the tent was Chris Bell in his tailgater’s-dream Jeep. He’s part of a group called 4 Wheeler Life that embraces the laidback lifestyle they like to refer to as “wheeling, chilling, and grilling.” Don’t be surprised if you run into Chris on a trail and he offers you a hot dog and a chat about living in Hap-E-Ville, USA.
Ryan Silbaugh from Elkridge, Maryland, broke out his heavily modified ’92 Comanche to weather the rain and handle the mud. Ryan’s Comanche sports a 4.0L engine and dash donated from a ’96 Cherokee, and the driveline is finished with an AW4 transmission, Atlas 2 speed transfer case, and a Dana 44 front/Ford 9-inch rear axle combo with 5.13 gears turning 37-inch tires. When the weather went south, the factory power windows and A/C kept Ryan cozy as he took on the messy obstacle course.
Jeeps of all shapes and sizes lined up to find the limit of their suspension systems using MetalCloak’s CTI (Corner Travel Index) testing trailer. They developed it after seeing how unsafe the traditional RTI ramp was and how it didn’t accurately reflect real-world suspension usage. Using the information gathered allows the participants to compare their rig to a similar rig to help find ways to improve their suspension.
There’s always that guy who comes along and makes the tough obstacle look like a cakewalk. It just proves that skill can take you farther than the most built-up Jeep.
It was nice to see the new kid on the rocks. (See what we did there?) What’s the point of having a brand-new Jeep JL if you can’t build it and hit the trails? And what better way to test its capability than on the obstacle course?
Parts of the obstacle course were challenging dry, but add in some mud, and it became a whole new ballgame. This little guy didn’t seem to mind and was having a blast riding the obstacle course with his dad. We’re sure he will be hitting an obstacle course someday in his own Jeep and driving like he’s been doing it his entire life.
We would welcome any snowstorm just to give us an excuse to get out and play in this beautifully restored Willys Forward Control. These workhorses were only produced from 1956 to 1965, and it is always a treat to come across one in such remarkable condition.