Tanks Take To the Trail
America's love affair with military vehicles dates back to the first Jeeps, built during World War II. Since then, M-151 Mutts, Power Wagons, and Duece and a Halfs have all gained reputations for being tough, reliable transportation. Nothing since the Jeep, however, has managed to capture the attention of Americans like the AM General Hummer. The High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee, gained notoriety during the first Gulf War when it was prominently featured in news broadcasts beamed from the Middle East. Soon, AM General realized that the general public wanted Hummers of their own and began offering them for sale at dealerships in 1992. GM bought the licensing rights to the Hummer name in 1999 and has since followed up on the successful Hummer with the H1 Alpha, H2, and H3, all of which retain the original Hummer's distinctive styling and rugged capability.
After solidly securing their place in the off-road world, it was time for an event grand enough to match the Hummer legend. Thus, the Elko Hummer Roundup was born. We are confident the Roundup will reach legendary status, considering it was the brainchild of Rod Hall and Emily Miller. Miller is a professional promoter who has worked on prior projects with ESPN, the NFL, and Red Bull, among others. No hokey games or hot dog dinners here. Rod Hall is a man who needs no introduction. A legend of off-road racing, Hall has competed in each and every Baja 1000 since the first. In fact, Rod got his seventeenth class win this past November and remains the only driver to ever win the Baja 1000 Overall in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Like a childhood dream, when we arrived in Elko, Nevada, it seemed as if every other vehicle was a Hummer. The event started on Tuesday with registration at the Elko Convention Center, which served as the base of operations. Sponsors such as Lightforce, AM General, and Premier Performance staffed booths at the convention center displaying their products. A large number of the 180 participants were Hummer dealers, with one coming all the way from New Jersey for the event! Hummer dealerships are required (as a condition to holding the franchise) to attend at least four Hummer-specific off-road events each year in order to help emphasize the capabilities of the product and how they differ from the competition. Most participants spent the first day at the trials course, located a short distance outside of town. This course allowed participants to test their vehicles and their skills in a controlled environment with experienced instructors.