2003 - 2nd Illini 4x4 Safari

....and a fun time was had by (almost) all!

The weather wasn't bad, but it wasn't good, either.  Did that stop anyone??  Noooo!  Thursday afternoon the lines formed and people were signing up for their favorite (and perhaps after they ran the trail) not-so-favorite trails.  There were surpises in store for all but when the event was over there were hundreds and hundreds of smiling, happy faces!  Thanks, all of you, who attended and helped make this event so much fun!
The rodeo is always a hit.  The ramp is one of the favorites.  No one even fell off the ramp - although a few were close!
The Swamper toss is an idea we stole from the Black Hills 4 Wheelers - thanks guys!   We were doing fine until an errant Swamper headed down the hill and we were afraid it was going to go through the side of the unfortunate building that was in its way.  Not to worry, the errant Swamper was retrieved to be thrown on another day.

The folks who washed the vehicles have almost as much fun as the drivers and riders - well - maybe the drivers.  This group raised a lot of money for their church camp and had fun doing it.  It was neat to see the Pittsfield Fire Department also help out by refilling their water tanks.  Pittsfield has a great community spirit. 

Why is the mud green??

This was a first!  We had a wedding Saturday morning. Jim and Lisa tied the knot at the courthouse and then went wheeling (sure!) later that day.  Jim, Lisa:  Congratulations!  We're all really happy for you!  But why does the judge have the biggest smile??
This caught a lot of attention on the trail. 
So Jim and Lisa went on Hamer's Honeymoon trail afterwards.  But wait!  Where are they? The don't appear to be in their Jeep! They're not even on the trail.  And Jim said, "But I thought the trail was this way......"  You're a sly one, Jim!
Thanks to their efforts and your generosity, Don and Janet Maxheimer raised over $350 for the Christmas baskets by asking for donations in exchange for cups of freshly made ice cream.  Not only was the ice cream (which was churned by an antique engine) delicious, their donation of the proceeds will help to make this coming Christmas very special for some of the Pike Country residents who are in need.  What a great May Christmas present.  Thanks Don and Janet!

The Legion hall was filled to capacity!

Tom's off-road drawings are very popular.  Each year we auction off a few of these excellent drawings.
Saturday, there were a number of awards given out.  Some people even willingly accepted!
The highlight of the evening was the people on left side of the Legion hall bidding against the people on the right side of the Legion hall for the privilege of owning 40 pounds of manure.  Now this was NOT compost or artificial - this was 40 pounds of REAL, smelly, manure.  This bidding was was great!  $410 was collected for the Christmas Basket Program.  Each Christmas, TRJC takes food to those in need.  There are seldom dry eyes when the food is delivered - both from the members who take the food as well as the recipients.  This is what life is all about - taking time out from our fun to help people in need.  This was outstanding! Thanks all!
Our trail guides will do anything to ensure we have a good time.  They will even hold a vehicle in place so it doesn't "fall over."   Of course, one could ask who was spotting when this "incident" ocurred!
Here's someone on LSD --- Lake Shore Drive.  Nice job trimming the flares!
Passengers just LOVE our trails.
Trail fixes are fun when the ground is wet and muddy.
And this has to be the bumper sticker of the event!
Want more photos?  Well just scroll right on down.  There's a lot more where these came from.   Thanks to all who sent the photos in for this event!
We'd like to thank our volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen, our sponsors, the city and county officials who welcomed us so graciously, but most of all a big thank you to all the participants for their good attitude and willingness to have fun.

Due the hard work, generosity, and dedication of many, the 2003 Illini 4X4 Safari was a huge success. As a first time chairman of the event, I was impressed with the number of people who volunteered their time to make this event one of the best in the country. The enthusiasm of the participants speaks volumes about the event and how it is received. We can be proud that the Two Rivers Jeep Club generated over $4,000 for two charities during the Safari and with the money paid to the Legion, this year so far we have given over $20,000 for charity.

To those who helped in any manner, I thank you on behalf of the club and the community. From planning to cleanup, club members, and others, played a vital role in the success of the Safari. This is a fine organization, and it is people like you who make that possible.

Walt Gilbert
2003 Safari Chairman

Here are some emails we've been starting to receive. 
I had to e-mail you to tell the Club we had a terrific time at the Safari! The trail on Friday, Black Oak, was almost beyond my capability, but we survived.

On Saturday my wife, Debbie, drove all day on Ridge Rambler and really enjoyed it. While we can't make the August event, we will try to be at the next Safari.

By the way, thanks for the winch I won on Saturday Night!


Debbie & Norm
First of all I want to thank all the trail guides for the wonderful job done this past weekend. They took the time to keep you informed on the trail. Safety was one of the main concerns. I had a wonderful time 4-wheeling but what really made it was all the great people we met on the trail. I'm looking forward forward to the upcoming events.

I can't remember when I smiled so much! The trails were great and the ratings were right on. I have already sent in for my new membership for TRJC and am looking forward to becoming a member very soon. Once again, thanks for the great trails, time of my life, and to all the great people I met on the trail. I hope to see you next time.

Rich, Tonka Tough
The Safari was great ! We did County Line & Lake Shore, Trails were fun, trail leaders were very friendly & helpful. Thanks to all of the volunteers for making a fun time for all

Bill & Jackie


  • Attendees bid over $400 for a bag of manure with funds designated to the Christmas Basket Program.
    TRJC has delivered food to the needy at Christmas time for some years now and the tears of joy from the recipients are overwhelming. Thank you - all who participated!
  • The Safari filled within 18 days.
  • Over 440 people attended the event.
  • Over $20,000 went right back into the community and surrounding area!

The following were sponsors of this year's Safari. Please thank them for their donations and patronize their businesses whenever possible.

Al West Chrysler/Jeep
Brewer Science
Briggs and Stratton
Green Acres Motel
Heckerthorn Products (Rough Country)
Hopewell Views Lodge
Interco Tire
Jeep Box
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Minster Mechanical
Pike Motel
Pine Lakes Resport
Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce
Premier Power Welder
Randy's Ring and Pinion
Red Dome Inn
Rockport Off Road Park
Tellico 4x4
Tim Miller Electrics
Tuffy Security Products
Two Rivers Jeep Club

Our sponsorship for this event was much less than last year for two reasons:  one is certainly the economy but the second is volunteerism.  Contacting potential sponsors is a time consuming task and requires a certain tenacity combined with a persuasive "sales pitch."   This year, due to time limitations, many of the requests were sent by e-mail and a lot of potential sponsors just don't respond to that.  It takes time and personal phone calls, especially to many of the local merchants in Pittsfield.


Created: 05/24/2003