[Event Report] 2016 Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival – Butler, PA

Three years ago I bounced from my home in south central PA up to northwestern PA for the annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in Butler.  I made a long day trip out of it and left before the sun came up and returned home long after the sun went down.  This year I vowed to make a weekend out of it.

Another adventure… another pass through the Blue Mountain Tunnel

After an early start Friday morning (too early if you ask me) I jumped on the PA Turnpike and logged a few hundred miles before switching to I-79 North toward the campground hosting the festival.  All in all it wasn’t a bad drive, the weather was nice, and I made good time.  Maybe next time I can make a week out of the trip and take a more scenic route up and back and do a little camping along the way.  That’s for next time though, for now you can check out some photos from the event.

Pulling up to the main gate.
Traffic was a little lighter than I was expecting, but it was early Friday morning.

After the 300 mile drive I was eager to stretch my legs.  My first stop was registration to drop my “media credentials” for access to the show.  With that taken care of my next stop was the vendor area to pop in and say hello to some of the ECOA/NHT corporate partners I knew were at the show.  After those obligations it was time to hit the trails.

First stop: JKS Manufacturing
Got to meet their east coast rep and check out their sweet JKU

While not an offical partner of the ECOA, the Torq-Masters crew are good friends.
They also race an LJ in King of the Hammers which is cool.
Just like with JKS, I had to pop in and talk to the east coast Rigid Industries rep.
Their display wasn’t as extensive as the one at Overland Expo, but the JKU they had was pretty slick.

Back in 2005 I worked at a Trail Guide for the official “Camp Jeep” event in the Poconos that was put on by (then) Dhamler-Chrysler.  I was the mid-guide with a guy by the name of Bill running tail.  We’ve remained in contact thanks to Facebook and I had seen he was going to be a the show guiding trails and had offered his passenger seat to me if I wanted to ride along and get some photos.

Riding shotgun in my buddy’s JK while he guides a group through one of the on-site trails.
It was nice catching up with an old friend.

The group was a mix of TJ’s, YJ’s, CJ’s, a XJ, and some JK’s.
Great cross-section of the Jeep brand all out there getting dirty together.

After a few laps on the trials it was back to the vendor area to check out some of the new products manufactures had on display.

Hi-Lift caught my eye as did some of their new products:

New to the market are their series of recovery straps and tree savers.
I like that they come in multiple sizes and widths to best fit your application.
Hopefully a pair of these end up in my kit.
As much as I love taking the DIY route, it’s hard to overlook such a polished product.
The 4×4 sPOD crew really has their act together with this new 8 circuit touch screen system.

I also stopped by the Jeep History display that featured examples of the Jeep brand from across it’s 75 year history including an original BRC-140. The BRC, aka Bantam Reconnaissance Car, is the original design built by Bantam Car Company per the request of the US government in 1941.  The Bantam design won out over the Willys-Overland design but since Bantam couldn’t hit the requested 600,000 units their design was given to Willys-Overland and Ford Motor Company.  Both companies would make subtle changes and put the Willys MB and Ford GPW into production.  Okay… enough history, back to the photos.

History.

Back when Jeeps did real work.

Remember when Jeep made trucks?  <sigh>

I also checked out the obstacle course area, the show-n-shine field, and made multiple return laps through the vendor area.

Catching a little rock-crawling action in the Jeep playground area
My desire for KO2’s is unparalleled right now.

Spicer’s new “Ultimate Dana 44” housing. and some of their other parts.
I’ve always thought that the Jeep brand has had
some of the coolest logos in the automotive industry
Taking the secret-squirrle back way from the festival grounds to downtown Butler.
Everyone else was waiting in miles of stop-and-go traffic.

This photo does not do the Jeep Invasion justice.

Gotta love military Jeeps.
Makes me miss the one the family had.
Ours wasn’t as clean but it was still show worthy.

Hopefully you enjoyed the pics.  If you’re interested in hitting up the 2017 BJHF, check their site for details: http://www.bantamjeepfestival.com

All good things come to an end…

I know this post and my photos are little on the thin side.  I ended up being on assignment to cover the show for OutdoorX4 Magazine.  Stay tuned for a more detailed article I wrote for their website: https://outdoorx4.com

Update:

The article on OutdoorX4’s site is now live: https://outdoorx4.com/stories/for-the-love-of-jeep/