2006 Safari - Rick's Thanks

It’s over again and kind of sad, this being the last Safari for me to coordinate. Yes, we now have a new person who wants to try this insanity and I wish her GOOD LUCK. The new coordinator is Kelly Knoll. Kelly has been helping Tony (Sparky) in the registration area for the Safari and the Blast. I will try to show Kelly all that we have to do during the Blast, and hopefully that will help for next year. So all you members, give a helping hand to the new coordinator, and help her as you all did me.

Now back to this year’s Safari. It started out very slow. With about a month to go we had around 90 vehicles signed up. I talked to the American Legion and we thought we had a good idea on the food. Rachel had given me all the sponsor’s names and the T-shirt was coming around. All of my orders were made. Alicia, at the Pike County C of C, is sending me updates on registration and the next thing I know is we have around 150 vehicles. I do not have enough food ordered, much less, I do not even have enough T-shirts and guess what? I’m short by 15 on the dash plaques. A phone call to the Legion and we raise the number up to 350 on the food. Can’t do much for the T-shirts, will just have to mail T-shirts to the ones who did not get them.

For our club to put on the Safari, it takes from 40 to 50 people, not including the people at the Legion. A lot of club members do two and three different jobs, but in the end it take the whole club to put on two of the Mid-West’s best 4X4 events. A lot of letters we get tell us of club members who were helpful and nice at some other 4X4 event, so they wanted to come to Illinois to try our wheeling. So a big thanks go to all Two Rivers Jeep Club members who have helped with trail building and promoted the Two Rivers Jeep Club; asking new friends to come and wheel with us in Pike County.

The Landowners and the people of Pike County get a thank you for putting up with us. If not for the Landowners, we would not have this area in which to wheel.

Others who get a big “Thank You” from me for helping with the Safari are Dave Christensen, who is the behind the scenes man. Dave mails registrations to all helpers, members and guests who have attended ether the Safari or Blast. There are numerous other projects that I find for him to do. Thanks to Walt Gilbert, O.R. Freesen, and Tom Wombles for MCing and introductions of Landowners and dignities of Pike County. You guys did a great job. Thanks a lot. Tony (Sparky) Prochaska, with help from Kelly Knoll, Jeff Shuck, Susan Wiley, Angela Ruble, and Mo Winckler did a great job with Check-In. Thanks again for a great job. We had no complaints at all.

This year Larry (Tank) Schultz was in charge of the Tech inspection with help from Brad Schultz, John Winckler, R. D. Hutchings and, who could believe it, but Graham McNeill ! Next would be the Rodeo and Jim Smith was taking care of that. Helping him was Lana Bilderback, Jim Catt, Brad Behymer, and Doug Watret. I also want to thank Rachel Baker who took on the raffle and came though with plenty of prizes. I think everyone got a little something, and some got a lot of somethings.

Rachel had Hayward and Kathleen Ball, Ardis Lozenski, Rick Miller, Fred and Pat (Mom) Miller, and Karen Dixon helping and they did great with the ticket sales. We made over $3000.00, so we now have a start on the next donation we give out. This year we are giving Two Rivers Council $1500 and the Rally for Life, $1500. The Rally for Life is for people with cancer in Pike County and Two Rivers Council gives underprivileged kids school supplies. We also want to thank Doug Maxheimer and all the Trail Guides and helpers, who are too numerous to name. You all know the Trail Guides. Just say thank you to them when they give you a good ride on the trails. These guys are here most work weekends, and then lay on their garage floor to fix their Jeeps during the week. I heard one story that at least one Guide went out and got his Jeep stuck just so they had something to do after lunch. That would make lunch not very good if you were eating and saw two Guides in two Jeeps leave and two Guides in one Jeep come back. Sure makes me wonder.

And a big thanks to Don Maxheimer with the parking lot ice cream. Don is a big help to the Christmas Basket donations. If I have left anyone out, I am truly sorry. As I said earlier, it takes between 40 and 50 people to put on the Safari, so if I left you out I am sorry and a big thank you for all the help you all have been over the last three years.

Now let me tell you what I did the two days of the Safari. We are trying to teach a few people where all of the trails are. So on Friday I took off with a group of 5 Jeeps to go to different trails, as though we had a photographer. With me was Tim Miller, trying to keep me from getting lost. Following us where Craig Olson and Kira, Rick Miller and sons, John and Mo Winckler, and Hayward and Kathleen Ball. So it’s off through Time (Illinois) to Pokey’s Run we go. We get there as Pokey, Jim and Tater are giving the pre-trail news. I take the five Jeeps with me and we go to a place I can take some pictures.

Next off we go to Smacker. At Smacker we find Frank and Brian at the back of the trail. Hey that’s what we are doing, trying to teach others how to find people on there trail. We all try a little hill with no one making it, but Hayward did put on a pretty good show. The pictures show just as much as I saw. But being there was a lot of fun. Frank and Brian took the group on to the next trail. We had lunch and let Hayward’s Jeep think about running. After lunch everything was in order so off to the TNT Farm and Black Oak. We catch up with Rooster, Durrell, and Sparky, all having a good time. And when are they not having a good time? We ran some of Black Oak where Hayward’s Jeep has had enough and starts a fire in the wiring, Hayward gets it running. He and Kathleen have had enough so back to town they go.

Now we’re down to four Jeeps with only one of them having broken down at this point. We head to Murphy’s Law. What can happen? Everybody’s running good so maybe we’ll hit Dutch Creek on the way back to town. That would be five trails in one day. Can’t do any better than that. At Murphy’s we wait for Gary Williams to come and get us. This could have been our downfall. As I stated we left with five Jeeps and only two had had problems - up until this time.

As we go across a flat field somehow I break a brake line. We get it crimped so I head for town to get parts so I can run tomorrow. I find out later on the way back to town that Rick Miller runs out of gas, but finds out his fuel pump did not want to work either. John and Mo have to be towed back to town. After a tune up they were on the road again. So Friday was a good day. Five Jeeps left town together and all five break down sometime during the day. My question is, is a broken brake line really a break down? If it is, I still have not made a complete Safari or Blast without a break down. If it is not, then I have finally made a complete Safari or Blast without breaking down. [Editor’s note: It’s a breakdown!!!] I was sure it was a T.J. curse, but he was not even here this weekend. Well it’s off to supper, and a few give aways tonight.

On Saturday I decide to go to Pokey’s, and have a good time, just being a Jeeper. Tim and Mom Miller come along so we stay back in the back. Now that is not a very good place when you have around 18 Jeeps on the trail. The new trail I had helped cut in was not a new trail anymore. In fact after I watched Tim hammer on it and the last 6 or 7 Jeeps before him, it just told me to get strapped out. I did give it a good try but it was no go. At some time I got behind Pokey. We were running good. Not too much trouble when I saw a hill that looked climbable. Once my front tires left the ground. I backed out telling others I did not think it could be climbed. Someone behind me in a red TJ, with four people in it, name withheld to protect the innocent, said they could climb it. They got part way up, the front wheels left the ground and they sat there, balanced on the spare tire for a few minutes before the front end was pulled back to earth. After watching, the only comment from me was, “Pokey you got to come back and see this”. It was quite a show. I still do not know how they did that. But the cigarettes sure came out as soon as they where down. And talk about a Kodak moment. After that we did not have too many problems. Two Jeeps made it though Little Dakota, and off to town for the final supper and give away.

That night we gave more prizes, thanked Landowners, American Legion members and all else that needed to be recognized.

Again, THANKS-A-LOT to all who helped, and hope to see you all at the Blast in August.

Created: 4 June 2006