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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor - July 2012

Posted in Features on July 1, 2012
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Editor’s Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at or write:

Unloaded, OFF-ROAD Magazine, 1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606

Remember, we’re giving away swag every month to the author of our favorite letter. Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods.

Letter of the Month

I just wanted to know what kind of champagne you bathe in every morning. With the way you guys blow through parts and are able to test all the things that you do, there has to be some serious money rolling around that office of yours.

Tell the truth: Do you actually get your butler to do all the wrenching for you while you sit back and snap pictures, occasionally scraping your fingernails against something greasy so they’ll stay black? It’s okay if that’s what happens; at least you still have some talent apparent in your writings (unless those are farmed out and come from China, too).

From where I sit, you guys look like you’re doing pretty well and are on top of your game, and I feel that anyone up there needs a little ball-busting from time to time. Would you like me to count up your typos as well? I’ve found five different ones over the course of the last year (do you beat your proofreader each time this happens? I would).

Oh, one last thing: Do you have a certain dumpster you throw your old parts in? I’d like to raid that dumpster…

Keep up the good work, guys.

Sam “Sammo” O’Brien
Via Email

Holy smartasses, Batman! That’s okay, Sammo; we can take it and still smile. The truth is that we’re nowhere close to “rich.” We have a variety of ways we’re able to test and feature products each month, but the parts either remain on the vehicles or are recycled for use on something else (like giving them to my butler for his 4x4. Ha!).

As for the typos and punishing the proofreader…well, unfortunately we lost our proofreader (due to not being rich) a few years ago, so that’s me who’s going to have to receive those beatings (and I’m not into that).

Since we can take a joke, we figured you could, too: You’re our Letter of the Month and will be receiving a special gift from us on your doorstep. Thanks for the ribbing, Sammo!

This issue's Letter-of-the-Month author is getting two lumps of charcoal and a surprise in the bag. Enjoy!

The Red Bastard

How ’bout these? I built the “Red Bastard” in 1990. One of One. Chrysler reps came to look at it in my garage in ’90 while I was building it. It was a regular cab, long bed that was rolled in September ’89—25 miles from my home. It had a January ’89 build date. One of the first Cummins built. My youngest son owns it now and won’t sell it back to me!

The 1948 Power Wagon was driven onto the trailer when I picked it up in ’02. It had been on this ranch since 1968—the last year it was ever plated. The rancher’s father drove it from Grand Lake, Colorado that year. Top speed 45 mph! It’s been in storage ever since.

Luke Stabnow
Via email

From the Desert Assassins’ Crew

2011 was a rough year for the Desert Assassins (DA). I, for one, am glad to see it slip into history. What we expected to be “The Year of the DA” turned into a year of tragedy for us. The loss of Jeff “Ox” Kargola on The Rip to the Tip in Baja Mexico (April 2011) impacted all of us in ways that we are still struggling to come to terms with. The effort to move forward after his death with anything Baja is a daily battle.

Cameron Steele, who is the ring leader of the DA, was crushed by the loss of Ox. He’d just ordered a brand new Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck. The Desert Assassins were to become a two Trophy Truck team with the 2011 SCORE Baja 500 (June 2011) being the debut race for the second Trophy Truck. The debut didn’t happen until November 2011.

I can tell you that being anywhere near Baja was the last place I wanted to be for a while. I know the rest of the DA pretty much felt the same. Yet we had to fight forward. Finding the strength wasn’t easy for any of us. With heavy hearts and low spirits we fought on. The Baja 1000 was our final test. We fought hard and we pushed ourselves well beyond our breaking points. We didn’t win the Trophy Truck class, but we did bring both trucks to the finish line. The day wasn’t without a victory though; Cameron’s wife, Heidi, won the Class 6 championship.

We finished out the 2011 SCORE racing season as a team, a family, and as brothers in arms. I think in 2011 the DA was forced to grow up. I know I was. My hope is that 2011 will be remembered as a turning point for us.

Ken Neal
Mesa, Arizona

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