Report and photos by: Randy L. Wheeler & Vance Anderson
Easter Jeep Safari's Big Saturday
Big Saturday is the day where rigs signed up for the final day depart through town on their way to their respective trail runs. Rigs line up along the main street and most side streets waiting for their designated departure time. One by one, the groups parade through town. This is a great way to end a fantastic week of Easter Jeep Safari.
Once again, the standard for Big Saturday is to go out to Dump Bump and Potato Salad Hill and watch the various rigs attempt these difficult obstacles. The crowds gathered early at both locations, and soon the line of rigs heading up the hill started to look like a parking lot.
This year, as in years past, all types of rigs attempt the Dump Bump. Long-wheelbase rigs seem to fair better, but several short wheelbase rigs conquered the Dump Bump, too.
|This CJ was close to tipping over...||... until his brother charged up the hill to provide much needed support.||The #34 Sniper backing up Potato Salad Hill.|
From there, we ran over to Potato Salad Hill to watch the action. This deceptively steep obstacle has claimed many rollovers, and this year was no different. Several near-rollovers and one close call got the crowd into it. One Jeep got so tipsy near the top that it seemed a roll over was imminent. Everyone held his breath while another rig charged up the hill and pinned his right front tire against the off-camber rig in an attempt to keep the Jeep from certain carnage. Amazingly, this maneuver worked! The sideways rig was able to back down and get a better line.
The buzz in the crowd was from the Sniper making its way to the bottom of the hill. The #34 Sniper stunned the crowd by backing up Potato Salad Hill. Then he drove back down, turned it around and started back up to take on the obstacle again. Things were going well and the driver had a good line. Then, at the top of the obstacle, #34 got sideways. His left front tire dropped into a hole, and the Sniper started to pitch sideways. At this point, gravity took over and pitched the Sniper into a multi-roll crash. In spectacular fashion, the Sniper came to rest against a large boulder that certainly stopped it from rolling several more times and into the ravine below. Once it settled down, the driver and passenger, Sniper designer Steve Rumore, appeared from the rolled vehicle and waived to the crowd that they were all right. Shaken, but all right.
Unfortunately, a spectator was injured as she rushed to move out of the way of the rolling vehicle. Early reports say that she was airlifted to the hospital, suffering from a possible broken leg. Our thoughts and hopes for a speedy recovery go out to her.
|The #34 Sniper feeling the effects of gravity.||This nice TJ made it up Potato Salad Hill without any problem.|
For more pictures, be sure to check out Gallery Section in the related links.