As if summoned by a higher power, more than 240 four-wheel-drive vehicles made a pilgrimage to the Boon Baptist Church in Boon, Michigan in May for the 3rd Annual Jeep Blessing, sponsored by the Cadillac Jeepers.
If the concept of blessing vehicles seems odd or maybe even sacrilegious, we can assure you that these types of events are nothing new. Organized blessings have taken place from coast to coast through the years, and the blessed have included every type of wheeled vehicle, from lowriders to choppers. Some of these events are serious business, while others are tongue-in-cheek. It is only recently that four-wheel-drive blessings have begun to spring up.
Apparently the Cadillac Jeepers are on to something, because their Jeep Blessing has been fruitful and multiplied from a humble gathering of just 45 vehicles in 2002 to a truly miraculous 245 in only three short years. You don't drive a Jeep? Well, fear not, because just as the Bible tells us that God sees all men equal, the Cadillac Jeepers see all four-wheel drives equal. Thus, they allow vehicles of "lesser stature" because they say that no one will be denied God's blessing.A blessing is what everyone came for, and a blessing is what they received late in the morning of the one-day event when Boon Baptist Church Senior Pastor Clif Burritt ascended, Bible in hand, into the bed of a Dodge Dakota and called for God's blessing on the more than 500 souls gathered in front of hundreds of trail-ready four-wheel drives.
Naturally, the Cadillac Jeepers felt that the next order of business was to put the blessing to the test. With this in mind, The Flock, as we began thinking of the participants, enjoyed a mild trail ride through the Manistee National Forest. This was after U.S Forest Service Officer Patrick Wiese, from this point on known as The Shepherd, joyfully reminded The Flock of basic BLM land-use rules. The Shepherd also challenged The Flock to avoid unacceptable and potentially sinful behavior such as an overabundance of wheelspin on muddy trails. His words did not fall on deaf ears as The Flock wholeheartedly heeded his advice.
After an easy and scenic trailride, The Flock gathered at Ellen's Corners in Mesick where a 4x4 festival of sorts was constructed on private property. For a paltry $10, the only mandatory cost of the day, participants could try their hand at a number of challenges, including a Jeep Master Driver Obstacle Course, an RTI ramp and vehicle teeter-totter. The reward for the top finishers was prizes from a number of generous sponsors. There was also a show and shine, loads of door prizes and activities for kids. Later in the evening, there were awards and a raffle before the weary crowd headed home.
The Jeep Blessing enjoyed the support of many national businesses that heeded the call to support the event with goods and services, including Advance Adapters, Bestop, BDS Suspension, Edelbrock and Warn Industries. On a local level there were more than a score of businesses that donated prizes and services.The blessing must expire after one year, because the Cadillac Jeepers will again congregate in Boon on the first Saturday in May 2005.
If you feel called to be blessed, or you feel your rig needs to be blessed, contact the Cadillac Jeepers, 902 E. 26th Mile Rd., Boon, MI 49618, or visit their Web site at http://jeepers.freeshell.org. Hallelujah, amen.