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March 2005 Limited Articulation Real Truck Challege Club Details

Posted in Features on March 1, 2005
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It was 43 years ago this month that Bob Ames, an enterprising 4x4 enthusiast from the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, published the inaugural issue of Four Wheeler. It was only 16 pages long, cost 50 cents at the newsstand, and contained one technical article, two vehicle tests, and two advertisements. But Ames saw a need for his creation-there were nearly 200,000 registered 4x4s in the Western U.S. at the time, he noted-and a big future in the offing: "The number of enthusiasts is being doubled annually," he said in his first column; "there is no reason why organized four wheeling should not grow at this rate for several years."

In those days, "organized" four wheeling meant "club" four wheeling. To Ames, the involvement of 4x4 clubs and organizations was crucial to the survival of the sport: Newcomers to four wheeling, he explained, "will need to be educated to safe driving, good conservation, and just plain good backcountry manners, or the entire sport ... stands a good chance of being legislated out of existence." Club members were invited to submit news items to the magazine on a regular basis, and indeed, the first issue of Four Wheeler contained a "Campfire" column with submissions from clubs such as the Mile-Hi (CO) Jeep Club, Yakima (WA) Ridgerunners, and Hemet (CA) Jeep Club that are still in business today.

We've been thinking about reviving this bit of our heritage with a monthly "Club News" page. We realize we probably won't have enough space in the magazine to accommodate all the submissions we'd likely receive, but it strikes us as a good way to give clubs around the world the opportunity to show off their good works-adopting and maintaining trails, holding charity events and raffles, performing much-needed political advocacy, and myriad other tasks-and to give readers the chance to get acquainted with clubs in their area. Should we make this a regular feature of the magazine again? What about a forum at fourwheeler.com? Write us and tell us what you think.

Until we work out the logistics, check out our latest club-related event this month: Real Truck Club Challenge. You may remember this event from last year as simply "Real Truck Challenge," and we were fairly pleased with the event as it was. But after thinking things over, we wondered if we might make the event more distinct-even, perhaps, more noble-by introducing a more communal, Olympics-style emphasis to it. So for RTCC we mandated that every entrant belong to a bonafide 4WD club. To make things even more chummy, we doubled the number of trucks that could compete (to 20), allowed each entrant to bring along a four-member team (driver, co-driver, and two support crew, for a total of 80 competitors), invited some sponsors to show off their wares at a vendors' midway, and opened the event to spectators.

Over a weekend in mid-August, several hundred curious folks turned out to watch our first-ever truckalympics at the Badlands Off Road Park in Indiana, and you can see it for yourself this month on page 26. Long story short: Competitors and spectators alike were treated to a fantastic weekend of four-wheeling action in a congenial, family-friendly setting. We're planning for an even bigger and better event later in the year, and if you'd like to join us-as a competitor, naturally-see the entry form on page 43. Until then, get involved with a 4WD group in your area, and happy clubbing.
-Douglas McColloch

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