Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival

The Faces of Jeep interview with Patti Jo Lambert & Michele Anderson 

 Festival Director & Festival Coordinator-Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival 

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Patti Jo: “Jeep actually chose me! I was given the opportunity to plan the very first Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival and it has been an amazing experience. I enjoy leading the planning and execution of the event, but what I really love is all of the people. We have a volunteer planning committee that meets year-round and they work so hard to make the event bigger and better every year. They have become a second family to me. I also look forward to working with our sponsors and all of the companies and groups who join together to make Bantam one of the best Jeep events in the nation.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Michele: “I bought my first Jeep in 2015. It is a Jeep Renegade Latitude in Sierra Blue. I was so excited to finally have a Jeep of my own after helping to plan the event in 2014 and 2015. I’m happy to officially be part of the Jeep family for the last almost three years and I would love to get a Wrangler in the future!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where are your favorite places to wheel and what kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Patti Jo: “Our favorite place to wheel is at our Festival though we may be a little biased! It’s great to see Jeep owners of various levels doing what they love most out on the trails and obstacles. We especially love seeing those that attend our event get more confident in their abilities to take their Jeep off-road. We think Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is a pretty awesome place to wheel too!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What tips would you suggest to a new Jeeper?”

Patti Jo: “Get involved in a club and attend a Jeep event. One thing that I have learned over the past 10 years is that the majority of Jeep owners really enjoy teaching and encouraging others. They are passionate about their Jeep and their enthusiasm is contagious!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about one of your favorite Jeep adventure moments?”

Patti Jo: “I’ll never forget when I drove one of Jeep’s concept vehicles on our black trail. It was the first time I drove the trail and I was scared to death that I would damage that one-of-a-kind Jeep. I had a great instructor and was proud of myself once I completed the trail.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Michele: “Anyone who owns a Jeep knows how passionate and friendly Jeep owners are—which is something I found out very quickly five years ago! Whether in person or on Facebook (like the Faces of Jeep page), everyone truly just loves being part of the Jeep family and sharing their Jeep successes and adventures. Becoming involved with the Jeep Festival and owning a Jeep has been one-of-a-kind. I didn’t receive any waves on the road in my previous vehicle, that’s for sure.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What inspired you to start the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival? Tell us a bit about the event and the history behind it.”

Patti Jo: “Butler is the birthplace of the Jeep, and our local tourism bureau wanted to celebrate our Jeep heritage by creating an event that would attract Jeep owners to this area. They asked me to plan the event and it was one of the biggest challenges I ever faced, especially since more than 1,300 Jeeps attended Bantam the very first year. Jeep heritage is showcased at our event in a number of ways, including our Jeep History Exhibit, Faces of Jeep grille display and our WWII encampment. These elements are a great complement to the off-road activities, Best of Bantam competition and other aspects of the event. Bantam offers something for every Jeep enthusiast, and I think we do a great job at creating a fun weekend for everyone who comes to the show, whether they love seeing old military Jeeps, want to get their Jeep dirty or want to show off all of the modifications they’ve made to their Jeep.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Patti Jo: “I love watching our venue transform from an empty field to one filled with amazing displays by more than 100 of the top names in the industry virtually overnight. My adrenaline gets pumping when I see the Jeeps lining up and filling the entire place. And the best part is seeing how happy everyone is to be at Bantam. I know that all of the work is worth it when I see families and friends having a blast together. They are making memories they will talk about for years and it’s really fulfilling to know that I played a small part in creating these moments for them.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about running this event?”

Michele: “Is it cliché to say all of it? One of my major responsibilities is helping with Jeep registration. During Pre-registration and On-Site Registration, I get to help and meet so many of the Jeep owners that make our event so special! I also really enjoy the ‘set-up’ week that takes place the days leading up to the event. As busy as that week is, just like Patti Jo mentioned, it is so awesome to see Coopers Lake go from an empty grass field on Monday morning to a bustling show full of Jeep enthusiasts having fun on Friday. The Jeep Invasion has to be one of my favorites as well. It’s such an exciting environment walking through Downtown Butler just minutes from where the Jeep was born with Jeeps in every direction you look! The Guinness World Record Parade we did in 2015 was also one of the most amazing things to be a part of and plan!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourself and the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival?”

Michele: “In the future, I hope that we continue to make the event a ‘bucket list’ for Jeep owners. We try to add new fun activities and make improvements every year and I look forward to continuing to help our event grow as one of the largest Jeep events in the U.S.! I also have a ‘small dream’ of having a Jeep from all 50 states at the event! We’ve had Jeeps from 27+ states and Canada each of the last few years and it would be amazing to bring together Jeepers from all over the country!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Michele and Patti Jo for sharing your Jeep journey with us. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is on my personal Jeep bucket list as a must attend. Thank you both for all your hard work in building such an amazing event, celebrating Jeep and bringing the Jeeping community together.”

Photo from Patti Jo Lambert & Michele Anderson, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Michele Anderson & Patti Jo Lambert

Permission from sender to use this content

 

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