Sponsors of Ultimate Adventure 2019

The Companies That Make This Adventure the Ultimate

A week of off-roading across Alaska is a daunting task. Add in prerunning the route, hotel reservations for 50 people, and a full video crew and the costs add up quick. Real quick. In this day and age of marketing partners and brand ambassadors, UA sponsors don't just send some stickers and product and call it a day. These companies are all run and staffed by legit wheelers and build premium products.

We had 11 official sponsors for 2019, ranging from first-timers like Smittybilt and IH Parts America to long-familiar brands like Offroad Design, which has sponsored the UA for the past 15 years. These companies all make products that can handle a week of hardcore wheeling and hundreds of nonstop road miles. And since these businesses are run by people who actually get out on hardcore trails, UA sponsors are excited to join us each year. They build special project vehicles for the trip, sleep in the bush, and eat dinner out of a can. They don't know the route ahead of time, don't know where the event will take place, and aren't privy to any insider info, just like the rest of the participants. The spirit of adventure these sponsors exhibit in joining the event speaks volumes to their love and commitment for this hobby, and the products they create are all field-proven and more than able to handle the rigors of what the UA demands.

Cummins
After bringing his R2.8-powered TJ (aka Tube Sock) on the Ultimate Adventure the past two years, this year Fred Williams dusted off the 2014 UA Tug Truck to haul around Stephen Sanders, Program Lead for Cummins Repower. And while the Tug Truck sports its orignal a non-intercooled 12-valve 5.9L Cummins rather than one of the company's new 6.7L engines or even a 24-valve 5.9L, the high-mileage 12-valve is still running strong and highlights the storied longevity Cummins is famous for. Plus, the Tug Truck had plenty of room for all the gear you need to spend a week in Alaska. There were three other R2.8-powered vehicles at UA showcasing Cummins' powerful little Turbo Diesel Crate Engine, and Sanders was justifiably proud that they never had to work on a single Cummins engine all week long. We can't say the same about the vehicles with spark plugs.

1990 Dodge D350 Tug Truck
Driver: Fred Williams, Paso Robles, CA
Co-driver: Stephen Sanders, Columbus, IN
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 17 (Fred), 2 (Stephen)
Drove It or Towed It: Drove it
Favorite Part of the Trip: Visiting Kennecott, where my great uncle was the mine engineer and surveyor for the powerplant. He lived in one of the little houses we saw with his wife. —Fred
I loved the remote campsites on Day 2 and Day 4 because of the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and seeing everyone light up stoves and share stories. The remote locations made it feel as ultimate as it gets. —Stephen
>Drivetrain
Engine: Cummins 12V 5.9L turbodiesel
Transmission: NV4500 five-speed manual
Transfer Case: Offroad Design Magnum
Front Axle: Dynatrac ProRock 80 with Detroit Locker and 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Dynatrac ProRock 80 with ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Custom Pacific Fab three-link with Fox coilovers and air bumps (front); Atlas leaf springs and Fox remote-reservoir shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grappler on 17x9 Method beadlock
Steering: PSC steering box, pump, and hydraulic-assist ram, DOM steering links with EMF tie-rod ends
Winch: Warn Zeon 12S with VooDoo winch rope
Recovery: VooDoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles
Other: South Bend clutch, James Baroud rooftop tent, ARB Elements freezer-fridge, custom Pac Fab rollcage, custom high-clearance front bumper, JWSpeaker LED headlights, Jaz fuel cell, Tuffy Security drawers and center console, Corbeau seats, Rugged Radios intercom, Tom Wood's drivelines
What Broke: Rear U-joint, windshield wipers stopped working on the drive home

Dana
Randall and Rachel Speir of Dana didn't join us this year, but the company's Ultimate 60 crate axles could be found under not only the Ultimate International but also the Derange Rover, our double-ended JK, and Skyjacker's Hellcat-powered Gladiator. Despite dunking the axles in silt, mud, and water all week for over 1,000 miles, we never had a single issue with a Dana crate axle. They are anvil-tough and super-reliable, and, if we're being honest, a screaming deal for the level of quality you're getting.

Fab Fours
Fab Fours has supported the UA in the past and was back again for 2019. Unfortunately, head honcho Greg Higgs had obligations that kept him from joining us in Alaska, but the company provided front and rear JK Wrangler bumpers for our Ultimate International that we customized to better fit the farmtastic lines of an early Scout 80. Obviously, Scouts aren't Fab Fours' bread and butter. Skyjacker's Gladiator was outfitted with Fab Fours front and rear bumpers, rock sliders, and distinctive high-clearance fenders, and the styling and protection offered by the Fab Fours systems are definitely on point.

Falken Tire
Falken has been the official tire of the Ultimate Adventure since 2015, and its Wildpeak M/T fits perfectly in the premise of the event. The tires are quiet and smooth on the street for thousands of miles, yet aggressive enough for off-road trails and rockcrawling. UA 2019 participants pushed 35-, 37-, and 38-inch Falkens to the limit this year with the bottomless mud we encountered in Alaska and were amazed at how well the tires cleaned out and clawed for traction. We lost two tires on Day 1 of the trip, but neither of them was a Falken.

IH Parts America
IH Parts America previously sponsored our sister magazine's Top Truck Challenge event when Christian Hazel was at the helm of Four Wheeler, so when Jeff Ismail of IH Parts America heard that we were building a Scout for the next UA he called Hazel and told him that he wanted in! Jeff was a huge asset when we were building the Ultimate International, and he's a cool guy who is always fun to hang out with, not to mention a great driver. He has the best-running 392ci International engine we have ever witnessed. We don't know what rpm he was spinning when running down the freeway with 35s and 5.13 gears, but the 392 sounded amazing at full song.

1973 IH Scout II
Driver: Jeff Ismail, Grass Valley, CA
Co-driver: Chad Maycroft, Weiser, ID
How Many UAs Have You Been On: One
Drove It or Towed It: Drove it
Favorite Part of the Trip: Not getting stuck! The last day's trail was a blast to drive. And last to mention, "414PBJ" means 4-Lo, Fourth gear, peanut butter jelly.
>Drivetrain
Engine: IH 392, Comp 268 camshaft, Hamilton fuel injection, Stans headers
Transmission: NV4500
Transfer Case: Dana 300 with 4:1 gears
Front Axle: Dana 44 with ARB Air Locker, 5.13 gears, and RCV axleshafts
Rear Axle: Dana 60 with Yukon Zip Locker, 5.13 gears, and Dutchman 35-spline axles
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Crawler Proven Technology (CPT) leaf springs and sway bars with Bilstein shocks (front and rear)
Tires and Wheels: 35x12.50R15 Falken Wildpeak M/T on 15x10 American Racing
Steering: PSC steering box and Parts Mike high steer
Winch: Warn 8274
Recovery Gear: VooDoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles
Other Upgrades: Custom CPT Cage Kit, Dometic fridge, custom CPT bumpers and rock sliders, CPT dash panel with Auto Meter gauges, air conditioning, onboard air
What You Broke: Broke a steering box bolt and alternator bolt. Had an ignition module and O2 sensor fail during the trip. Replaced a few fuses. Popped a bead, which was easily reseated later.

Offroad Design
Offroad Design is now the longest-running sponsor of the Ultimate Adventure, and we've enjoyed being partners as the company has grown and matured in step with this event. ORD is still a family-run company with personal service, but it has expanded its product line over the years to be the go-to place for fullsize trucks that get wheeled all over the world. In fact, ORD is largely responsible for the popularity of fullsize rockcrawlers, and this year, once again, Stephen and James Watson proved they know how to drive them just as well as build them. Like ORD's whole product line, everything in the Watson trail setup is durable, capable, and well-thought out.

1999 GMC 2500
Driver: Stephen Watson, Carbondale, CO
Co-driver: James Watson, Carbondale, CO
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 15
Drove It or Towed It: Drove it
Favorite Part of the Trip: The Eureka Trail System. We were truly traveling through the Alaskan bush with terrain we just don't have at home. Miles and miles of tundra, lots of river crossings, and a really nice camp by the river. That was hard to beat. We should have all left our junk there and come back next summer to see some coast and more mountains and whatever else we missed in our tour of about 5 percent of the state.
>Drivetrain
Engine: 454ci Vortec V-8
Transmission: NV4500
Transfer Case: Off Road Design Magnum Doubler
Front Axle: Ford Dana 60 with 5.13 gears and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: 14-bolt with 5.13 gears and ARB Air Locker
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Offroad Design solid-axle swap with leaf springs and 2 1/2-inch King shocks (front); Offroad Design leaf springs and 2 1/2-inch King shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grappler on TrailReady HD17 beadlock
Steering: Offroad Design crossover steering with PSC steering box, hydraulic ram, pump, and reservoir
Winch: Warn 9.5XP with a VooDoo winch rope
Recovery: Voodoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles
Other: Custom flatbed, wheelbase shortened to shortbed length, Tom Woods's driveshafts
What Broke: Spark plug wire

Offroad Power Products
Offroad Power Products has built some of the coolest vehicles for the UA, and this year was no exception. Cooper Rasmussen piloted Stretch, the company's stretched two-door JK with all of the must-have overlanding items, like a rooftop tent, a 270-degree awning, and a Skottle grill. Oh, and did we mention that it has a Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel under the hood , an eight-speed automatic, a ProRock 60 front axle, and a gigantic ProRock 80 rear? The Jeep worked flawlessly all weeklong, averaged 21 mpg. Cooper and his co-driver, Cameron Hotchkiss, were also happy to provide shade and a chair or whip up some food for anyone who wanted it.

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK
Driver: Cooper Rasmussen
Co-driver: Cameron Hotchkiss
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 8 (Cooper), 3 (Cameron)
Drove It or Towed It: Drove It
Favorite Part of the Trip: Our favorite part of the trip was the afternoon out in the mud in Healy. That was some of the weirdest mud we have ever encountered.
>Drivetrain
Engine: Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 8HP75 eight-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Advance Adapter Atlas II
Front Axle: Dynatrac ProRock 60 with ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Dynatrack ProRock 80 with ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears
>Suspension
Springs & Such: JKS short arm with Fox coilover conversion (front and rear)
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grappler on Method 406 beadlock
Steering: PSC Big Bore steering box, steering pump, and hydraulic assist ram
Winch: Warn Zeon 10-S
Recovery: VooDoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles
Other: Front Runner roof rack and table; 95L Dometic fridge; Tepui Hybox rooftop tent; 23 Zero Peregrine 270 awning; Tembo Tusk Skottle; JeepWorks Unlimited 10-inch stretch; body and paint by Perfection Auto Body; Nemesis Industries front bumper, rockers, and fender flares; Evo Manufacturing front cage kit; Rugged Radios intercom
What Broke: Nothing

Premier Power Welder
Chris Durham is a crony, but he has often represented sponsors in the past. This year he was once again at the UA on behalf of Premier Power Welder. It is a completely natural fit, as he's usually the first person to offer to help weld, grind, or reassemble anything that breaks on the Ultimate Adventure. And the dude knows how to drive too. Chris won the first ARCA rockcrawling championship 20 years ago, and he hasn't missed a beat since. We never saw him get stuck once, which was probably a good thing since he was driving Premier Power Welder's owner, Greg Rogers, who had a smile plastered across his face the entire week!

2012 Jeep Wrangler Gladiator Pickup
Driver: Chris Durham, Pickens, SC
Co-driver: Greg Rogers, Yucca Valley, CA
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 13 (Chris); 1 (Greg)
Drove It or Towed It: Towed it
Favorite Part of the Trip: It's so hard to pick just one highlight from such an epic adventure. Just the fact of being able to be in Alaska speaks volumes. As always, the UA is special to be a part of, getting to see old friends and making new ones.
>Drivetrain
Engine: Built Gen IV 6.2L LS engine
Transmission: Factory Jeep NAG1J five-speed automatic with custom stall convertor
Transfer Case: Advance Adapter Atlas II
Front Axle: Ford Dana 60 with Detroit Locker and 5.38 Motive gears
Rear Axle: 14-bolt with Detroit Locker and 5.38 Motive gears
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Skyjacker long arm with LeDuc Series coilovers and air bumps
Tires & Wheels: Custom-cut 40x13.50R17 Milestar Patagonia M/T on 17x9 Walker Evans Racing Legend beadlock
Steering: Chris Durham Motorsports (CDM) 7075 aluminum links; Barnes tie-rod ends; PSC Big Bore box, steering pump, and hydraulic assist ram
Winch: Warn Zeon 10-S
Recovery: Voodoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles, Warn Epic Recovery Kit
Other: Premier Power Welder, Bruiser Conversions engine wiring, Rockhard cage, ARB fridge, CDM front and rear custom bumpers, CDM Gladiator conversion, truck conversion with custom bed, CDM sliders, custom seats, Barnes full integrated skidplate system, Tom Wood's 1350 custom driveshafts, Barnes axle trusses front and rear
What Broke: Nothing

Smittybilt
First-time UA sponsor Smittybilt came onboard as our Official Winch this year and used the opportunity to debut its Gen3 XRC winch. We love it when we can collaborate with sponsors and provide them a platform to showcase their products in the extreme environment that the UA provides. The Gen3 winch has a 7hp motor with forged gears and a 12 percent faster line speed than its predecessor, the Gen2 XRC. And the innovative winch controller has an integrated flashlight, magnet, and load indicator. The new winch got used hard all week and never skipped a beat.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon
Driver: Ryan Kennelly, San Diego, CA
Co-driver: Brad Kowitz, San Diego, CA
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 1
Drove It or Towed It: Shipped it
Favorite Part of the Trip: Driving up to the edge of a glacier and walking out on
it on Day 1 was hard to beat
>Drivetrain
Engine: 3.6L Pentastar V-6
Transmission: Factory eight-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Factory NP241 Rocktrac
Axles: G2 Core44 with G2 Air Locker and 5.38 gears (front and rear)
>Suspension
Springs and Stuff: Rubicon Express Extreme long arm with 12-inch-travel, 2 1/2-inch-diameter coilovers
Tires and Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 on 17x9 Pro Comp beadlock
Steering: Prototype Rubicon Express drag link and tie rod
Winch: XRC Gen3 12K
Recovery Gear: Smittybilt Recovery trail bag
Other Upgrades: G2 Placer Gold axleshafts; Smittybilt Arctic fridge, Gen2 XRC front and rear bumpers, and HD tire pivot; ARB twin-air compressor
What You Broke: The only thing we broke was a left front axle U-joint. The axle at the time of breakage was fine, but we weren't able to source another U-joint. We ended up deleting the axle with a rubber plug in the axletube and wheeled the rest of the trip with three-wheel-drive.

Skyjacker Suspensions
Last year Skyjacker brought its Early Bronco on the Ultimate Adventure, one of the oldest vehicles on the trip. This year the company brought the newest vehicle on the trip: a 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The two trucks had more in common than just their plush Skyjacker suspensions, which offered gobs of articulation and wheel travel. Both vehicles had big rowdy engines and were used not only for Ultimate Adventure but also for SEMA display vehicles. We're not sure what Lonnie McCurry and co-driver Dillard DeLaSalle plan to bring next year, but with over 600 hp last year and 707 hp on tap this year, Skyjacker once again set the highest-horsepower mark on the UA.

2020 Jeep Gladiator JT
Driver: Lonnie McCurry, West Monroe, LA.
Co-driver: Dillard DeLaSalle, West Monroe, LA
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 5
Drove It or Towed It: Towed it
Favorite Part of the Trip: The entire "extended" trip with travel from and through the lower states, on across Canada and Alaska. Total just over 10,000 miles seeing amazing sights I may never see again.
>Drivetrain
Engine: 6.2L Supercharged Hellcat
Transmission: 8HP75 eight-speed automatic
Transfer Case: NP241 Rocktrac
Axles: Ultimate Dana 60 with ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears (front and rear)
>Suspension
Springs and Stuff: Skyjacker dual-rate, long-travel 4 1/2-inch coil springs, Skyjacker adjustable links, Skyjacker M95 monotube shocks (front and rear)
Tires and Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Milestar Patagonia M/T on 17x9 Raceline Monster beadlock
Steering: PSC steering box, pump, and hydraulic assist ram
Winch: Warn Zeon Platinum 10-S
Recovery Gear: Voodoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles
Other Upgrades: Engine conversion by America's Most Wanted; Fab Fours bumpers, fenders and rocker guards; Diamondback bed cover; Rigid lights; ARB air compressor; Artec skidplates; Rugged Radio
What You Broke: Two front driveline bolts

VooDoo Offroad
Mark Turner of VooDoo Offroad wasn't able to make the UA this year, so in his place he sent the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet and Tom Boyd. Keith Bailey is a longtime crony who wouldn't miss the UA or any other opportunity to represent one of our valued sponsors if asked. He and his co-driver, Tom, handed out soft shackles and trudged through the mud to hook up VooDoo ropes all week long, with a smile on their faces the whole time. And man, did we use some VooDoo ropes this year! Not a day went by when recovery wasn't necessary. VooDoo's line of kinetic recovery ropes, soft shackles, and synthetic winch lines all got a workout on UA 2019.

2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ
Driver: Keith Bailey, Mount Olive, AL
Co-driver: Tom Boyd, San Diego, CA
How Many UAs Have You Been On: 17 (Keith), 20 (Tom)
Drove It or Towed It: Towed it
Favorite Part of the Trip: We went to Alaska!
>Drivetrain
Engine: 4.0L I-6
Transmission: Factory 42RLE four-speed automatic
Transfer Case: NP241 Rocktrac
Front Axle: Dana 30 with ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Dana 44 with 35-spline ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears
>Suspension
Springs and Stuff: Custom three-link with Skyjacker dual-rate coil springs and shocks (front); triangulated four-link with Skyjacker dual-rate coil springs and shocks (rear)
Tires and Wheels: 37x12.50x17 Super Swamper SX2 on 17x8.5 Spiderlock beadlock
Steering: PSC steering box and hydraulic assist ram, Teraflex high-steer kit
Winch: Warn Zeon 10 with VooDoo Offroad winch line
Recovery Gear: VooDoo Offroad 7/8-inch recovery rope and soft shackles
Other Upgrades: Yukon free-spin kit, Motobilt belly pan, ARB twin-air compressor, Engel fridge, Warn front and rear bumpers, Rugged Radios intercom, cellphone signal booster
What You Broke: Power steering leak on the Jeep, but the tow rig lost a head gasket and went through 3 gallons of oil and 13 1/2 gallons of water on the drive back to Alabama