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Ladies Offroad Network

The Faces of Jeep interview with Charlene Bower, Founder of Ladies Offroad Network 

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into offroading?”

Charlene: “I was born into an offroading family. My Dad was a ISDT gold metal motorcycle rider at the time. When my brother was born, my Dad decided to get a Jeep so we could go offroading as a family. When my brother’s and my legs got too long for the back seat of a flat fender, our family moved back to dirt bikes and quads. Riding a dirt bike 500 miles, all offroad, in a weekend was a regular occurrence from high school on. My post-college career path took me to upper management at Motorcycle Dealerships and then into the magazine world for two titles focusing on Sand, and the very new UTV market. When I started Bower Media, just under 9 years ago, I was re-introduced to the Jeep and 4×4 market. I am lucky to have had such a width of offroading variety in my personal experience! My career of 24 years has been entirely based in the offroad industry; in fact, my first job was changing tires in a dirt bike shop!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Charlene: “I am lucky enough to get to say I have been to a large percentage of the offroading locations in the United States and Baja. I will admit, there are many more parks and trails I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit, and can’t wait for the opportunity. My favorite places so far are: Arizona (with the Buggy), Moab (with the Jeep), Reno deserts (with the Dirt Bike). They all have their unique terrain features that challenge my skills in different vehicles.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What places would you recommended to others for a great wheeling experience?”

Charlene: “I would recommend visiting your local offroad park, multiple times. Keep going. Over and over, and don’t say that you are bored with it. Try something a little different. Take the next hardest line; go in the opposite direction; get yourself stuck; get yourself unstuck. Break something. Fix something. Go when it’s raining. Do everything you can to understand your vehicle’s dynamics (without rolling it, lol). Gain as much confidence as you can while in a local environment, which you know well. Then, when an opportunity comes up for you to take an exciting trip and go to a different place, you are ready to adjust to that terrain. Every wheeling area will be a great experience if you have confidence in yourself and your vehicle. Go! Have fun!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has offroading influenced your life and what inspired the idea for the Ladies Offroad Network?”

Charlene: “Offroading has essentially defined my life, I don’t think it has necessarily influenced it. 🙂 I have never utilized the fact that I am a female while I have worked in the Offroad Industry, however I do feel that I have always taken on the role of helping guide other ladies to achieving in their offroad goals. I have always encouraged and been available for the “tough girls”, even producing our respectful clothing line I’m Not Just a Girl which is celebrating it’s 7 year anniversary this year.”

“Ladies Offroad Network happened because it was time. It happened just after I launched our inagural Ladies Offroad Challenge (then known as Ladies Co-Driver Challenge). Ladies were vocal that they want to unite, learn and meet others that have the same passion for dirt under their nails! I looked around and knew that there was a short list of people that could educate correctly with years of knowledge and experience, and be someone that could put the complete program that the ladies were demanding. I took a business risk shutting down Bower Media’s main business to 100% focus on Ladies Offroad Network. I love every day of my job!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us about the Ladies Offroad Network and its empowerment to women, core values and events?”

Charlene: “Ladies Offroad Network is dedicated to supporting ALL offroad ladies by guiding, educating, and motivating them to achieve their goals. Whether you are a driver, co-driver, racer, passenger, mother, business owner, worker, or hobbyist, you are welcome. We aim to meet the needs of every lady who loves offroad by providing a space to learn more about offroad sports, chat with other ladies from around the world, and share stories with a community that has the same passion. You do NOT need to be a member to participate in anything we do, but membership does have its advantages.”

“Online, we have created a website with a wealth of educational information and a location for ladies to share their stories. Members have the opportunity to provide information for their own webpage! Our Forum is available for conversations and interaction. We have a presence on all social channels to host conversations: Facebook, Facebook Groups, Instagram, Twitter and, of course, Pinterest. We have an online store, http://www.BowerMediaStore.com, that hosts memberships, clothes, education and more. We also have a monthly giveaway that usually exceeds $500 in value!”

“On the Ground, we host and participate in many events. The core to every event is education and building confidence for the next great offroading opportunity. The Ladies Offroad Convention is our core event where we hope every offroad lady will join for educational opportunities and networking. We also host a Ladies Offroad Challenge where ladies can enter to participate in three amazing events with me. We host Ladies Offroad Socials as we travel, some that have become hands-on interactive events. We host Ladies Offroad Garage events that are very specific to garage girls that like to work on vehicles.  Depending on the event or schedule, you will also find us hosting Ladies Offroad Trail Trainings. We attend and support multiple shows and trail rides across the country, depending on the weekend. And, I’m excited to add here, there will be a couple more significant items that we will be adding to this list VERY soon!” 🙂

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What’s your favorite part about running the Ladies Offroad Network and what is your most memorable moment?”

Charlene: “My favorite part about running Ladies Offroad Network is getting to talk to and meet all the ladies. Everyone has a different story and is on their own journey. I love learning about them! It may be a IM on SM, a phone call, an hour at an event, or multiple days spent in the same vehicle together. I cherish these opportunities. I’m the lucky one!”

“My most memorable moments to date have been the winning speech for Rebelle Rally and the opening speech of the inagural Ladies Offroad Convention. The winning speech for the Rebelle Rally didn’t just mark that amazing moment in history, but it also marked a hugely successful year of completed podium events for the first Ladies Offroad Challenge! We did it! I put us out on a diving board and all of us jumped together to make the perfect dive!”

“The opening speech to the inagural Ladies Offroad Convention was filled with emotion. I fought endlessly to get to that exact moment and at so many turns I never thought that it would actually happen. Being on that stage, looking out at friends and people I had never met before, and thanking them for believing in what we are building was a moment I will never forget. I was so humbled, yet knew I had three days of execution ahead of us that had to be amazingly perfect. We did it!”

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

Charlene: “Some of our biggest accomplishments aren’t realized by the general public, but internal goals that seemed somewhat unreachable but we met. I hold myself to a very high level of quality, and therefore those who work with me. We set short-term goals for content and events, we execute, and we appreciate all the stage successes.”

“I think our biggest accomplishment has been the opportunity to open up conversations with industry professionals and having them recognize (through the research that I completed and presented) that women have purchasing power in the industry. These conversations are challenging, fun and invigorating. We are making a difference!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for the Ladies Offroad Network?

Charlene: “I’m not sure I can tell you much, other than that they are a bit ridiculous. Well, the 10-year goal is anyways. But, that is how 10-year goals are supposed to be! We have two major project announcements that will be released during 2018, on top of some structure changes to make membership convenient and even more rewarding. One of these projects we have been working on for over 8 months already!”

“While some companies take the end of the year to set goals for the following year, we focus on all the details of 2018 and set the goals for 2019. We have already made decisions on our big announcements for 2019 that help create our execution plans for this year.”

“Everything that we create and implement are in response to market research that shows us what YOU, the ladies, are asking for. Please, if you have a want or need, reach out and let’s talk! I may not be able to tell you if we are already working on it, however you could be a huge asset in testing what we have planned, or you could even have the next big idea. This community is all about you. We are just hosting the party!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Charlene for sharing your offroad journey with us. We love strong women in wheeling and all the support & encouragement Ladies Offroad Network has brought to the offroading community. Best wishes for a wonderful 2018.”

Photo from Charlene Bower,Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Charlene Bower.

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Skull Krushers

The Faces of Jeep interview with Ben Port, Founder of Skull Krushers

 

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

Ben: “I chose a Jeep when we moved to live in Cabo San Lucas and fell in love with Jeeping down in Baja.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Ben: “We use to go out wheeling back in Nor Cal (Northern California in high school. About 25 years off and on.”

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

Ben: “I’ve owed 2 Jeeps so far, planning on getting a JL this year as well.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done, and which companies would you suggest to others?”

Ben: “For SEMA last year We did a 4″ Pro Comp lift, HID Projectors Revision 2.0 Chroma lights DS18 Sound system, Black Rhino Armery Wheels, BF Goodrich 37′ tires, GG light rock lights and lightbars, Adams Drive Shaft, TrailRax System for Rotopax, CID Autobody and Paint Rhino lined our Jeep, All American Offroad Patriot bumper the rear set bumper is from Tuff Stuff and of course our Inner Fenders and 3D gas cap., Warn winch and Factor55 MetalCloak Outer Fenders, World Famous did the build.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and which kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Ben: “I love Wheeling in the mountains, in Baja and used to love mud till I broke a bunch of stuff. I just love being out!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life and what inspired the concept for Skull Krushers?”

Ben: “My 6 year old Benji, I told him we were starting a Jeep company, “I said what’s a good name for our company” He looked at me and said ” Dad Skull Krushers”, I was like wow “that’s Awesome!” I called my law firm and inc. us. We make new memories almost every weekend! It’s an escape from my busy corporate life. To escape and have quality time with my boys! Jeepers are the best breed of people on the planet I love working in his industry instead of finance which is my background for the last 20 years.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us all about Skull Krushers Inc, your roll and the services and products offered?”

Ben: “Skull Krushers was started to give Jeeper the option for more personal creation as Jeepers always want their own style in there Jeep so we started with inner changeable Inner Fenders that if you get bored or what to change the theme of your Jeep you can change out the center piece logo to something else changing the look completely of your Jeep, then we added 3D Gas caps which has been a huge success. The story behind each gas cap is so personal and meaningful to each Jeeper. The Fallen Hero Jeep was one of my Favorite Jeeps we have done for a very special lady and family carrying on they’re Father memory with their Jeep build.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about owning Skull Krushers and working in the offroad industry?”

Ben: “Each customer or client I prefer to say really truly become a friend through our creative process and then when they get our products seeing how happy they are is what keeps me going!” My little boys are the biggest Jeepers I know and love anything offroad! Also being able to give back and make a difference is key to my Family and what were teaching our boys life is all about..Family”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for Skull Krushers in this up coming year?”

Ben: “My goal for Skull Krushers is to take it to the next level and full line of products ex. Bumpers sliders, safety cages ect..Coming.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Ben for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We wish you and Skull Krushers all the best in 2018.

Photo from Ben Port,Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Ben Port.

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CrawlHer

The Faces of Jeep interview with Brittanie Calkins & Tiffany Treese, Founders of CrawlHer

 

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

Brittanie: “I was really young when Jeeps were introduced to me, I don’t believe there was a choice in it- It was just a staple to me.”

Tiffany: “Liked the way they look and the functionality and Britt never shut up about getting one. So I went and got one and a week later so did she lol.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ‘How long have you both been wheeling?”

Brittanie: “I first started off-roading four wheelers etc. at age 7 took a break and in 2005 got a Real Jeep and began light off-roading from there.”

Tiffany: “same”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you both done, and which companies would you suggest to others?”

Brittanie & Tiffany: “That’s a really long list lol, check out Revkit.com/savvy & Revkit.com/moxxie has all our upgrades up until last month on there and some cool pics.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and which kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Tiffany: “Wolf Caves hands down its something totally different than Hidden Falls and Bridgeport type trails its crazy rocks and new challenges.”

Brittanie: “Wolf-Caves for now. I can’t wait to get back in a few months.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your most memorable Jeep adventure moment?”

Brittanie: “101 Class with 125 Jeeps I don’t think I will be forgetting that any time soon.”

Tiffany: “Tie-rod breaking at the top of a cliff 3 stories up and being stuck in between boulders. Lots of explicits came out that day.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How did you ladies meet and what inspired the concept for CrawlHer?”

Brittanie: “Our Background is apparel, we knew if we wanted better products others did too. More importantly we knew we could do it right. We also wanted a community to be built without the need for dividing clubs a melting pot so to speak where anyone and everyone is welcome.”

Tiffany: “We both owned children’s clothing lines and live local and met at a photo shoot and it went from there. We saw a void and wanted to fill it, and with our apparel background it was an easy choice but it quickly branched into us wanting more and brainstorming to come up with a plan to expand across the world and be a staple in the Jeep community.”

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

Brittanie: “It influences a lot on our lives, these Jeeps are our daily. They have helped formed stronger bonds with our husbands, develop roots in communities, and honestly they continue to teach us to have fun!”

Tiffany: “Jeep became life, literally.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about being women entrepreneurs in the off road community?”

Brittanie: “It’s different. I love that we get to show other women that off-roading is not just a mans sport. We get to show confidence and hopefully inspire a few others in the process.”

Tiffany: “That we are different and just because we are women doesn’t mean we can’t do it.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What would you say to other women wanting to get involved in the Jeep life and the off roading world?”

Brittanie: “Just do it. You hear that a lot when you want to try something new but honestly just do it. You have nothing to loose. It’s fun. You will have a blast. You will break things. Always plan for the worst but brace yourself for the best. Just have fun. You have to have fun.”

Tiffany: “Do it what are you waiting for?! Do what you want and what makes you happy.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourselves as well as CrawlHer?

Brittanie: “2018 is huge for CrawlHer. Brick and mortar locations expanding product lines and so much more. We want to just keep having fun and getting to do what we have been blessed to do.”

Tiffany: “A lot lol, we have big dreams and goals and 2018 is the start for a lot of them.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you ladies for taking the time to share your Jeep journey with us. We enjoy following your page and look forward to watching the exciting things to come from CrawlHer. Best Wishes.”

Photo from Brittanie Calkins & Tiffany Treese. Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Brittanie Calkins & Tiffany Treese.

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Thunder Bay Jeeps

The Faces of Jeep interview with Jeff TenHave, Co-Founder of the Thunder Bay Jeeps

 

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

Jeff: “Because at the time (My first Jeep 2008) it was the only full frame SUV that would pull my trailer for under $50,000.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Jeff: “30 years but only the last 10 with a Jeep.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where are your favorite places to wheel?

Jeff: “North Western Ontario.. My Back yard. Flett train tunnel, Falling Snow Lake.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life and what inspired the idea for Thunder Bay Jeeps?

Jeff: “Jeep has greatly influenced my life. Most all my friends are Jeeples, we also have 7 Jeeps in the family. Thunder Bay Jeeps originated by myself and 2 Jeep friends in 2010 as a way to bring the Jeep community together and to enjoy our wonderful wilderness areas. We are also very much family oriented.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is one of your most memorable Jeep adventure moments?”

Jeff: “Jeep Jam 2016 Camp out at my ranch for the weekend, fireworks and a live band.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your favorite upgrades you have done and which companies would you suggest to others?”

Jeff: “Lift and Tires. Pitbull Tires #1 for sure then ProComp Wheels, TeraFlex lifts and components, and Rock Krawler springs. So many mods and too many to list but those are the top 3.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Does the Thunder Bay Jeeps have meet & greets or hosts events?”

Jeff: “Yes we do. We have a Meet and Greet EVERY Thursday 4pm to 7pm rain or shine. We try and host a major event every month.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What destination is on your personal Jeep bucket list to visit and experience?

Jeff: “Easter Jeep Safari Moab. Possibly a cross Canada tour.”

FOJ-[Natasha}: “What are your future plans for Thunder Bay Jeeps?

Jeff: “Future plans are to continue to move forward as we are and to continue to help and nurture new Jeepers and of course to have fun.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Jeff for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We hope to come visit your group in the near future and appreciate all the support you and your group have shown for The Faces of Jeep. Wish you and the group a wonderful 2018.”

Photo from Jeff TenHave, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Jeff TenHave

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Mr. Krawl

The Faces of Jeep interview with Nathan Riddle, Founder of KrawlZone

 

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

Nathan: “First off- I love all off-roaders now matter what they wheel. But I chose a Jeep because of its iconic military history and the family that has formed around it.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Nathan: “I’ve been wheeling since I was young, but nothing really hard-core until I started KrawlZone.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Nathan: “I love wheeling in the red rocks of southern Utah, but also really enjoy the mountain terrain of the Rockies.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How did the concept for KrawlZone begin?”

Nathan: “KrawlZone began when my buddy John “Nobody” Jacobs gave me a call mid 2010. He had been watching some car shows and wanted to do something for the Off-Road community. The discussion began and soon it was fleshed out and has become what you see today.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about KrawlZone? How do you come up with new episode/video ideas?”

Nathan: “My favorite part of KrawlZone is getting out on and adventure and making new friends. The filming part is fun, but the people and the adventure is what keep me coming back. The format for KrawlZone is really just mix between the news and a documentary, so covering events is easy. The ideas for each episode is really just a question of where do I want to go on an adventure. And that’s where we go. We film our time at the event, then I get creative in the edit and mix together the action with informative interviews and behind the scenes moments of us with our new friends on the trail.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your favorite events you have attended?”

Nathan: “I always look forward to the big Events. KOH, EJS and Winter 4×4 Jamboree I won’t miss, because that’s my home turf. The Set them Free event was one that really sticks out. Not just because it’s good wheeling, but because of the cause it goes to support.”

FOJ- [Natasha]: “What is one of your most memorable KrawlZone moments?”

Nathan: “I have so many memorable moments. Getting to go wheeling with the drummer from Poison (Rikki Rocket) was a big one. But the biggest I think was in 2016, getting the chance to co-pilot in the Every Man Challenge at KOH. We’ve filmed the event several times, but actually being in a rig, racing along in the desert in a home built Cherokee was an epic opportunity. And I’m grateful to my buddy Vic Buness of KrawlTek Racing who gave me the opportunity.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has KrawlZone & jeep influenced your life?”

Nathan: “KrawlZone and Jeep have influenced my life by giving me the means to get out of the daily grind and getting out of my comfort zone. They have given my passion the means to get out and experience the wonders of nature and have some wonderful adventures. And I’ve gotten another family as a result. There is an aspect of family to most off-road groups, but there is something a little different…a little more..to the Jeep community that means a lot to me.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your favorite upgrades you have done and which companies would you suggest to others?”

Nathan: “Of course I’ve got a lot of upgrades left to do. I’ve been lucky to rub shoulders with some of the biggest name and brands in the business and it’s hard some times to make a suggestion because there are so many quality parts out there. There are a lot of great companies and products out there, but these I’ve had hands on experience with and feel confident recommending. Not just because of their products, but because of the people behind the products. I’d recommend Nitro Gear and Axle for your gears and axles. They have top quality parts and Jeremy and the team there are great to work with. If you’re a hard core racer and want something that won’t break I’d look into Torq Axle. I love Bob and Mary up at TnT Customs and of course there’s BDS for your rock solid suspension needs. I’ve been really happy with my BFG’s, but Maxxis and Pitbull are also great tires with great people behind them. I’m also a fan of Adams Driveshaft and James Adams. There are other good driveshafts out there, but James Adams has always taken car of me. And if you’re doing an engine swap, the team at Novak has you covered. There are a lot of great companies and products out there, but these I’ve had hands on experience with and feel confident recommending. Not just because of their products, but because of the people behind the products.”

FOJ- [Natasha]: “Besides the permanent mounted parts on your jeep, what accessories or spare items do you bring just in case of emergency?”

Nathan: “In case of emergency I’ve always got a picnic blanket and some snacks. I’m an optimist.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How much time do you spend filming and editing to make an episode?”

Nathan: “A full episode can take Me around 3 weeks to produce, from filming to final edit. It’s a lot of work, but the result of producing a professional product is always a good feeling.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Nathan for sharing your Jeep journey with us. Keep up the awesome work. We look forward to watching KrawlZone grow and wish you the best in the future.

Photo from Nathan Riddle, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Nathan Riddle.

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Jeep Talk Show

The Faces of Jeep interview with Tony Muckleroy, Founder of Jeep Talk Show

 

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

Tony: “When I was about 18 or 19 years old I wanted a Jeep. I checked with my insurance company and it was going to cost me $75 a month for liability only coverage. I got a full sized truck instead. My first 4×4 was just a few years later when I bought a brand new 1983 Chevy SWB.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Which model of Jeep is your favorite and why?”

Tony: “I went to the local Jeep dealer in 1997/1998 and found a TJ with 5 speed, hard top. I told my wife about it and we were going to return the next day and both have a look. She too had wanted a Jeep from when she was a young adult.  We both liked it but as we were standing in the showroom waiting to talk to a salesman, we both looked at the fire engine red Jeep Cherokee. I told my wife, with the girls (3 and 4 at the time) this 4 door Jeep would probably be better to have now instead of the 2 door Wrangler. She really wanted the Wrangler, but I told her after a few years we could trade in this Cherokee and get a Wrangler.  As it was a Jeep and both our favorite colours we test-drove and bought it. 20 years later I still drive it, daily.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What kind of wheeling to you enjoy best? ex..mudding,rock crawling, trail riding”

Tony: “Trail riding and mud. Both mean I am likely to be able to drive it to and from work in the coming week.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and which places would you recommend to others?”

Tony: “There is a place just North of Houston, about an hour’s drive from my home. I have only been a few times since my Cherokee would run hot at highway speeds, and I didn’t want to risk damaging the engine. Again going back to being able to drive to work come Monday morning.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has Jeep influenced your life and what inspired the idea for the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “The first 7 years we owned the Jeep it was just a pretty Jeep that got a few compliments. It was stock and I drove the hell out of it on the local roads.  It wasn’t until hurricane Rita in 2005 that I decided to lift it. I wanted this Jeep for our hurricane escape vehicle. The compliments went from a few a year to 5 or 6 a month. A lot of head turning, at least according to my daughters that notice such things. But I didn’t build it for compliments. I did think about my build and I wanted form but most importantly functionality. I did a lot of reading on the Internet Jeep forums and general online searches to learn more about the Jeep and how it worked. I was asked to join a Jeep Cherokee site as a moderator since I was always trying to help people with their questions from the information that I had learned. After a few months I became frustrated with the process of making suggestions to the site owner for things that I thought could improve the site, only to be told no. In 1995 I had researched and put the company that I worked for on the Internet, so I thought why am I wasting my time on this site I’ll just start my own. Searching for a good domain for the site was pretty hard since most were already taken. I went with a more obscure domain name using the 2 letter designator of the Jeep Cherokee “XJ” or xjtalk.com in the case of my new site. It didn’t take long for people to flock to the site. We never reached the numbers that older, more established Cherokee sites had, but we had a difference. There are NO DUMB questions! We were different that the other sites. If a member said something in a post that wasn’t acceptable we notified the poster, told them how their post would be modified, privately as not to embarrass them. It’s amazing that if you set the proper tone on a forum people fall into line.  We have only had one ban do to poor behavior on the site. Too help promote the xjtalk.com site, I started a pod cast called, wait for it, the XJ TALK SHOW!  See what I did there?”

“As time progressed, Josh joined the show after a post on xjtalk.com asking for help. Later Tammy joined the show because she was new, very excited about the Jeep and Jeep life, and woman, and had no idea what she was doing! I wanted women to see that someone, anyone, male or female could get into this hobby. Also Tammy could ask those basic questions of Josh and I. You know stop us from glossing over something we knew but to a newbie it made no sense.Tammy was also there to ask the questions that a beginner would ask.  Shortly after Tammy joined we changed the name of the show to Jeep Talk Show.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “Listener interaction. It is very cool that someone would take the time to download and listen to our show, but when someone takes the time (for good or bad) to email, call, review, etc. The show it’s very special to me. That means they care about the show!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How do you come up with episode ideas, and how do you prepare for the show?”

Tony: “I’m lucky, I get to be the smart ass. Josh puts all the show notes together, and writes his segments, This Week in Jeep and Tech Talk are the primary ones. Tammy writes her Wrangler Talk and Must Have Jeep Stuff (Josh does these as well) I get to sit back and crack wise. Sometimes I do my own segments, but with three host and limited time I’m fine with them doing what they are doing.”
FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long are your episodes and which days do you pod cast?”

Tony: “We shoot for 90 minutes. 20 minutes for a guest interview and 60 minutes for the rest of the show. 10 minutes in there just in case. We have gone almost 2 hours recently though. That’s the great thing about being the master of our own domain.”

FOJ- [Natasha]: “How many guest have you interviewed/featured on your show?”

Tony: “We have been doing guest interviews for many years. Problem was that in a 60 minute show (the time up until episode 301) wasn’t enough time to do an interview and a regular show. I would estimate we’ve had over 50 interviews in our 7 year run.”

FOJ- [Natasha]: “Who was your favorite guest and why?/ or most memorable moment on the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “We interviewed Wayne in Christchurch New Zealand just days after their major quake and how he used his modified 4×4 Jeep Cherokee to assist people in need. We interviewed the guy in the Cherokee that parked next to the ill-behaved corvette owner, taking up two places at a local eatery. Recently we’ve spoken to people from Bestop, Raceline wheels, Treadwright tires. The people we interview don’t have to be big names in the industry. Everyone has an interesting story to tell.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are the future goals for the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “The team has this reoccurring discussion. Listening to our show it sounds good to us. We get pretty good feedback from people, but we keep trying to figure out a way to get more listeners. In the last 5 years we’ve had more that 500k downloads, but with so many Jeep owners around the world we think our numbers should be much higher. How do you get more listeners when you have ZERO budget for advertising? A lot of the free things we can do are distasteful to me. I hate repeating how great the show is over and over again. I know that this is what we all see in radio and TV daily, but I just hate being that guy. I really need to get over it. We don’t even ask people to tell their friends about us. We really could use some grass roots help in getting the word out.”

“There are a few reasons we want to grow our audience. First and foremost it is work putting the show on and having people download our show is a great pat on the back of what is usually a very lonely job. The other is with more downloads and audience reach we can have advertisers. Advertisers help pay for our costs, but it could also help pay to send Josh and Tammy to events across the nation. Meet people get information for the show, just generally improve the show. Thank you for giving me a chance to answer your questions. I hope this gives you a better understanding about who I am and what the Jeep Talk Show is.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Tony for sharing the Jeep Talk Show journey with us. We love the show and all the hard work you, Josh and Tammy do for the jeeping community. We look forward to watching the Jeep Talk Show grow and wish you and the team all the best in the future.”

Photo from Tony Muckleroy, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Tony Muckleroy

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One Passion,One love..Jeep

Allison and I met on a singles Jeep page on Facebook. It was based out of Florida. I was looking one day and saw Allison make a post saying she was from Louisiana. I messaged her and we just started talking. She lived 4-5 hours away (depending on how you drive lol). I was in Shreveport and she was just south of Baton Rouge Louisiana. After a little while of back and forth texts we decided to meet half way in Alexandria at a Buffalo Wild Wings. From that point I knew she was going to be mine. (Even if I was playing a little hard to get)

Our first weekend together was at the Louisiana Club Challenge at the Catahoula ORV Park. After that it was a lot of driving to see each other, mainly her btw. I met her daughters and immediately took them in as my own. We got married only about 7-8 months after meeting. We have our ups and downs and Lord knows we’ve been tested by life a few times but we always find a way and realize our love for each other is the glue that holds us together, not to mention a late evening Jeep ride to nowhere. (We may be long overdue for that one) There’s one thing that we can always relate to is our love for Jeeps. She’s working on hers as I type this. I look forward to many more years together with my jeep queen. The picture of all the jeeps was our wedding. White JK is mine. Black JKU is hers. (In the middle). Even had a Jeeper friend get ordained to marry us.

Photo & Story from Larry Lafitte 

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JustJeeps.com

The Faces of Jeep interview with Adrian Collison, General Manager at JustJeeps

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep and how has it influenced your life?”

Adrian: “I chose Jeep as a lifestyle when I was looking for a vehicle for college. I always lived an outdoor lifestyle and had recently moved to Barrie. With the 4×4 drive system for the winter and the convertible factor for the summer it was a no brainer. I had also recently lost a family member who taught me to live each day to the fullest and the Jeep fit right in with that mantra.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have your been wheeling?”

Adrian: “I have been off roading for 16 years.”

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

Adrian: “One, My 1995 YJ. It’s been through many different versions but I just love the simplicity and basicness of it. I also can be frequently spotted in the Just Jeeps 2007 4DR JK.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all how you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Adrian: “I have taken my Jeep all the way to Florida and back but primarily use it in Ontario. Our trail system here is quite large and somewhat local as well. The main areas I wheel in are Bobcaygeon, Minden and Haliburton with the occasional trip to North Bay. Southwind Motel (Ray’s Place) is home base almost every weekend from May til October.  He has private trails on property and it also provides a central place to be able to access the crown land trails in Bobcaygeon and Minden.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What place would you recommend to other for a great wheeling experience?”

Adrian: “I always recommend getting involved with the OF4WD.  They are a non-profit organization that fights on off roaders’ behalf to keep public lands accessible to recreational 4×4 vehicles. They are primarily based out of Southern Ontario and provide an excellent service through their newbie runs on educating new wheelers.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “When did your personal Jeep journey/business journey with JustJeeps begin?”

Adrian: “My journey with Just Jeeps began 11 years ago.  I was laid off as a structural ironworker and hung around the shop after attending my union hall. This became almost a daily occurrence and eventually the owner here asked if I wanted to start getting paid. It may have been a joke at the time but it lead to me working here..lol”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Your roll as general manager, what all does that entail and how has it changed your life?”

Adrian: “Literally everything…lol. I do a little bit of everything and oversee the day-to-day operations of our parts, online and service department. I will assist in the department that requires assistance. I help manage our social media accounts along with providing support to events through attending.We are a relatively small family owned business run by Jeepers that cater to the Jeep community. I always try to separate work from pleasure but it frequently gets blinded together. That is what happens when your passion becomes a hobby and then becomes a job. I love the Jeep community especially when a new Wrangler model comes out. It brings all kinds of new people in and I love providing them with entry into the community through initial modifying of their Jeeps. On the personal side of things there is nothing more rewarding then seeing someone you have assisted in building their Jeep out enjoying it on the trails.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Adrian for sharing your JustJeeps journey with us. Check out their website http://www.justjeeps.com.

Photo from Adrian Collison, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Adrian Collison

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The Jeep Mafia

The Faces of Jeep interview with Leigh Ann Lane co-founder of The Jeep Mafia

 

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

Leigh Ann: “I guess you could say the Jeep chose me. One day, on the way home from the grocery store, my husband pulled into a bank parking lot where a red JK was sitting. I asked what he was doing and he said, “you told me you wanted to look at this Jeep.” I had never seen the Jeep sitting there and had said no such thing. But I was intrigued and we called the owner and drove it. It was love at first sight! I decided the JK was too small so I went to the dealer the next day and ordered a JKU.”

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

Leigh Ann: “It may sound cliché, but my Jeep completely changed my life. It made me feel young, free, and life became unbelievably fun. Even though that Jeep had only a small lift, I loved the power I felt when I got behind the wheel. Owning a jeep lead to creating a Twitter account, which led to a world of great friends whom I would never have met otherwise. Ultimately, the jeep influenced a dream, which resulted in the writing of a novel…something I’d never aspired to do. The Jeep social media world has become a big part of my life.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Could you tell us more about the novel you wrote? What it’s about and how one may get a copy of it?”

Leigh Ann: “My novel, Nine Million Minutes, follows the journey of Kricket Taylor as she strives to overcome shyness. And of course a Jeep is the catalyst for her journey. The novel will make you laugh, cry, and sprinkled through it is a little mystery to keep you guessing. Jeep girls seem to love it, and surprisingly to me, Jeep guys do as well! I’m thrilled that it has received such great reviews on Amazon, where it’s available in Kindle and print versions. Autographed books are available on my website leighannlane.com.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How did the Jeep Mafia begin and what was the inspiration behind it?”

Leigh Ann: “The Jeep Mafia was actually just a lark! A Twitter friend, “Jeep Boss” contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a part of something he was calling The Jeep Mafia. It wasn’t a club, it wasn’t a Twitter page, it was just a group of Jeep friends on Twitter. He picked six people and asked them to choose one other person each to be in the initial Jeep Mafia “Dirty Dozen.” I picked Troy, “Jeep Coach.” A bit later, each of the 12 was asked to select one more person, which led to the “Core 24.” The group began to grow and one day I just decided to start a Jeep Mafia Twitter page. It quickly grew in popularity, and four of the initial dirty dozen who really took an interest and made a solid effort during the launch phase became the “Founding Four.” The Founding Four are Jeep Boss (Chris Stockmar), KricketJeeper (Leigh Ann Lane), JeepCheck (Jerry Checkster), and JeepCoach (Troy Martin). We moderated the account and as it grew, we added additional moderators, reaching a total of 21.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Does the Jeep Mafia have meet and greets or host events?”

Leigh Ann: “We have hosted one event in Moab, but most of our meet-ups occur at local or large events, such as Bantam, plus many Mafia members meet up as they travel. It makes traveling that much more fun when you get to meet someone you’ve “known” for years on the Jeep Mafia social media pages.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “I see the Jeep Mafia has a koozie nation, could you tell us more about that and how it started?”

Leigh Ann: “Koozying wasn’t planned; it just happened. Troy Martin’s (JeepCoach) wife ordered some koozies for the moderators. At the time we had business cards to leave on Jeeps, so one day on a whim, Jerry Checkster (JeepCheck) stuck a koozie on a Jeep windshield. It was funny because he told us in our Moderator group DM that he was waiting for the owner to come out and find it. He’s really not a creeper. Lol. Anyway, she came out, took it off the windshield and got in her Jeep. Then she got back out, put it back on the windshield and took a selfie. That made us realize how much fun it could be making people’s day with our Koozies. At first only the moderators had koozies, but it caught on so we started selling them so everyone could join in. We go through about 1500 koozies a month. We named our Facebook page “Jeep Mafia Koozie Nation” because people who were koozied kept finding the wrong Jeep Mafia Facebook group. Joseph Pallotta was the brainchild of the term “Koozie Nation.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are the future goals for the Jeep Mafia?”

Leigh Ann: “We really have no set goals. We never have. We just keep doing what we’ve always done because it works. If we have an idea, we discuss it as a group and either move forward with it or toss it. Some ideas work, some bomb, but we laugh about it regardless. We have a great Moderator team who is committed to keeping it fun and positive for all Jeepers, and a large group of Jeepers who make it fun for us.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Leigh Ann for sharing your Jeep Mafia journey with us. You have a fabulous team on Moderators and we enjoy watching the Jeep Mafia community grow. It’s had a positive influence on the jeeping community and our hats off to you all for a job well done. Keep up the great job guys!”

Photo from Leigh Ann Lane, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers by Leigh Ann Lane

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Live Life To The Fullest

The Faces of Jeep interview with Tyler Ruby, Brand Director at Black Forest Gear

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep and how has it influenced your life?”

Tyler: “I probably can’t pinpoint when I became a Jeep enthusiast. It probably started before I was too young to remember with Hot Wheel cars. My friend in high school had a Suzuki Samarai and my brother-in-law had an Isuzu. In college, I went to Moab to go hiking and exploring and I remember drooling every time we passed a Jeep rental shop. I had gone to Moab with the intention to hike but my heart was set on going wheeling. It’s been almost 20 years now and I still remember wanting to get my friends to rent a Jeep and go wheeling. I wanted that so badly and was super disappointed and kept thinking about it during the hike and the entire trip. I can still feel those memories to this day.”

“Fast forward a number of years and a few industries (consulting, medical, internet marketing) later, I needed up in the automotive industry. I started with Jeep Brand as the launch manager and launched the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Renegade. Both were fun to work on and hold a special place in my heart. As the Wrangler Brand Manager I had some of the most memorable experiences and met some of my best friends. I miss a lot of that job. It really tugged at my heart strings to leave the coolest job in the building.”

Wheeling a Jeep Renegade…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwvHAnztH-k

“As the Wrangler Brand Manager, I worked on future programs and the Easter Jeep Safari concepts. The Jeep Chief was my favorite and reminds me of my Southern California upbringing. The Jeep Chief concept was wildly well received and after attending multiple events where people would swarm the vehicle, I knew we had to create a production version of the concept. Once the production Wrangler was planned, I knew I had to have one. I wanted the build to be as true to form to the Jeep Chief concept as possible. Fun fact… the blue is very close to the color of my first Nissan pickup when I was 16. The Chief and reminds me of my childhood, going to the beach, hanging with my friends, and taking a drive just for fun. Here’s a fun look back at the Chief concept.” https://www.facebook.com/poisonspyder/videos/10152905963254353/

“The details were so important to this build—the interior wood accents and Hawaiian stickers, the exterior silver accents to tie together the white and blue, etc. As for tires, there was no other option than the KO2. I love that tire and this is my daily driver, yes, 45minutes commute. The KO2 tire gives me the needed on-road manners and aggressive tread to do everything I need off-road. For the bumpers, suspension, roof rack and other components, we went all in with Teraflex—the quality is excellent, the design is straight forward and clean, and nicely compliments the vehicle. Everything just works and looks good together. It’s really an extension of my personality and makes the commute a lot more fun.” https://www.facebook.com/TeraFlex/videos/10154656040722620/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBkIrpaOgPM

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Tyler: “I’ve been wheeling since I was 9. I started on a Honda Odyssey – the precursor to the modern sand rail. It was rad, I would haul down the riverbed and jump the burms. When I turned 16, I bought a 1989 Nissan Hardbody pickup. I would find places to climb and explore. I remember driving through an overgrown field in Southern California by my house and telling my friend in the passenger seat… “Watch for rocks”… then, not even a minute later… BAM! I nailed a rock on my transmission. I looked over, then he paused and said “uh, rock?” We both laughed. I jumped that truck in the river bed too, and on the way to school on backroads. It was a blast. Wish I still had it.”

“I’ve wheeling almost every vehicle I have owned. After that Nissan pickup I bought a 1999 Dodge Durango. I found out within the first few weeks of owning it that the rock rails were more for appearance than function. I went wheeling and teetered on a dirt breakover. I didn’t realize then but when I got home I couldn’t open my driver door because the rail was smashed up past the door line. After the Durango I bought an Escalade. I was flipping cars for side money. The local Land Rover dealership went out of business and I had always wanted to drive the rock course they have on display out front. With the dealership now abandoned, I had to give it a try. Needless to say, the Escalade didn’t make it very far. I have enjoyed wheeling in every form but must say that hands down, Jeep Wrangler wins the cake.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Tyler: “Boy that’s a tough question. It’s like choosing a favorite child. I have been wheeling in some incredible places. I’ve driven 300 miles in Baja with Rod Hall. That’s like having Mozart tune your piano. Wow! The stars have aligned on numerous occasions for me. I was able to drive Lion’s Back in 2016. I’m the only 4 door Wrangler to ever drive Lion’s Back–it’s been closed for many years. On that once-in-a-lifetime experience, Mark Allen, Design Chief for Jeep drove the only 2door Wrangler JK and Jim Repp drove the only WK Grand Cherokee to ever drive Lion’s Back. It was an incredible experience.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N7pqLRpUB4U

http://www.fourwheeler.com/features/1702-up-lions-back/

“I love the Rubicon Trail and have driven that twice. The trail is relentless, breathtaking and awe-inspiring. The obstacles are challenging but the most trying part of the trail is that you just don’t get a break in between obstacles. It’s non-stop and a must do. I’ve spent many days wheeling in Moab and my favorite trails are Hell’s Revenge, Moab Rim, and Cliff Hanger. Moab is amazing with tons more to explore and the trails never get old. I can’t even guess the number of times I’ve run Hell’s Revenge.” https://twitter.com/Jeep/status/590866747021922304

“Here’s a fun completion of Moab wheeling.” https://twitter.com/Jeep/status/591700806459531266

“Here’s another…”

https://www.facebook.com/jeep/videos/vb.7037526514/10155805382991515/?type=2&theater

“I go wheeling a couple times a year with some close friends in the backwoods in Canada and love it. It’s really just a casual trail ride. That’s always a fun time.
Snow wheeling isn’t my first choice because traction is such an unknown and I don’t like sliding down hills. It’s a clencher! That said, I had a blast shredding the powder with Olympic Gold Medalist Torah Bright in Aspen during Xgames, with the doors off in the middle of winter. We were grinning from ear to ear and ripping through the powder. It was freezing out and we didn’t care.”

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1104072839611704&id=206531062699224

“Here’s a fun memory… I almost floated away crossing a river.”

https://www.facebook.com/jeepjamboreeusa/videos/10153825849918765/?permPage=1

“Stretching myself past my comfort zone is always a wild ride. The more I wheel, the less I have the element of surprise. I really enjoy the surprise aspect, the challenge, and the triumph over an obstacle. Larry McRae and Lance Clifford guided me over the entrance to Upper Heldorado in my JKU with a 2″ lift and 35″ tires. I give all the credit on that one to the spotter, not the driver. What makes wheeling the most fun is spending time with friends and family. My best memories are of the people more than the location. Do I have a favorite place to go wheeling? Nope. I have a lot of places I enjoy to go wheeling with people I enjoy spending time with.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What places would you recommend to others for a great wheeling experience?”

Tyler: “Don’t delay, go to Moab and sign up for the Jeep Jamboree Rubicon Trail. If you’ve gone wheeling a few times, you’re ready for both. Get there! Next on my list is Black Bear Pass and Imogene Pass in Colorado. I hear the scenery is stunning.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments both in wheeling and in business?”

Tyler: “My entire career I’ve found ways to do something unique. I really enjoy blazing new trails and finding ways to make things better. I live by the mantra “Work Hard, Play Hard.” I live life at full speed every day and I do my best to soak up the most I can out of every experience. Some fun and unique things about me… I summited Mt. Whitney–they highest mountain peak in the continental United States, I promoted a book to the best seller list on Amazon–beating out Bill Clinton’s book My Life and Dan Brown’s book Da Vinci Code, I won the Adobe Web Analytics competition in college, I have a blast wheeling at 2mph and equally enjoy driving fast on flat pavement (we can go into those details in person), I went skydiving, and have long wanted to attend race driver school. I’ll stop rambling. Needless to say, life is full of experiences and it’s up to us to go out and make them.”

“At Black Forest Gear, I continue my passion for wheeling and so far we’ve come out with a handful of great products. Our Throwback Soft Top replaces the bulky freedom panels and give people a convenient way to soak up open-air freedom on the go. Our fridge is nice and compact. Our cargo system keeps things organized. Next up is our Trail Oven to warm up burritos, tomales, and cookies on the trail–it’s manifold cooking at it’s finest. We have more products coming so stay tuned. The guys running Black Forest are authentic wheelers. We wheel as a hobby and it’s a blast to come out with new products for our wheeling friends. Check us out on Facebook, on Instagram, or at BlackForestGear.com.  See you out on the trail!”

“Webasto interview from SEMA.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vtqggu9dbmw

http://www.offroadxtreme.com/features/sema-coverage/sema-2016-webasto-dropping-the-top-and-keeping-it-cool-for-jeeps/

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Tyler for sharing your incredible jeep journey with us. It’s been fun and informative. Moab is on my jeep bucket list, after hearing your awesome story I look forward to experiencing it for myself one day. We wish you and Black Forest Gear all the best in the future.”

Photo from Tyler Ruby,Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers by Tyler Ruby

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