Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday to OFF-ROAD, happy . . ." OK, you get the drift.
2006 marks the 40th anniversary of OFF-ROAD magazine. Started in 1966, OFF-ROAD is the second-oldest off-roading title on the planet, behind only Four Wheeler, which began a few years before us. Over the years, OFF-ROAD has brought off-roading, news, and tech to generations of enthusiasts. I started reading, off and on, in 1966, a I was always interested in backcountry exploring and getting to places not visited by too many others. At times through the years, OFF-ROAD was the only magazine that really went off-road. One period that comes to mind is the mid-1980s, when finding trail features, backcountry articles, and trail tech anywhere else but in Rick Sieman's OFF-ROAD was hard, as the other titles (there were only two others and they're now our sister publications) seemed dedicated to covering great-looking trucks that didn't travel anywhere near the dirt. This was the decade when multiple chrome shocks and 4x4 trucks with no front driveshafts proliferated like nuclear weapons during the cold war. OFF-ROAD stayed the course and kept the great off-roading going, also dedicating itself to covering off-road racing. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the other magazines swung back to the dirt, OFF-ROAD covered Bob Chandler's Bigfoot and the fledgling Monster Truck craze, perhaps even helping that segment to become as popular as it is today. Many of us remember "Big Dummy," the OFF-ROAD-sponsored Monster Truck. Duane Elliott, my friend and editor of the magazine back then, also covered the show truck scene and was very successful with OFF-ROAD. Since I was the editor of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility at the time, I was happy to let him have that segment of the market.
After Duane left, there were new editors, with Randall Jachmann finding the right mix of off-roading, prerunners, and a little racing coverage thrown in for taste. We continue in that vein, with plans to bring you even more real-world off-roading and backcountry adventures that you can do, too. Some of those adventures include The Turtle Expedition, which started at OFF-ROAD in the very early 1970s and has returned as interesting as ever. Don't worry, prerunner and racing fans, your coverage is safe in OFF-ROAD. We also plan on some really ssssweet (as Napoleon Dynamite would say) things to celebrate our 40th anniversary throughout the year.
One of the events we're planning is the inaugural OFF-ROAD magazine Dirt Tour. You've probably heard of Hot Rod magazine's Power Tour. We're stealing their good idea and taking it off-road. For 2006, we'll be running from Barstow, California, to Moab, Utah -- all on the dirt! You and your friends are invited the third week of September 2006 to come along on what promises to be a really fun event. We'll let you know more as we know more.
So, happy 40th birthday to us. We're glad you could come to the party!