See Full Show: bowerpowerhour.com/june-29-2015-bower-power-hour-show
See New Version: www.bowerpowerhour.com/december-3-2015-bower-power-hour
Bower Media Adventures Bantam Jeep Fest – with Charlene Bower
The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is something that I had the opportunity to go to with BFGoodrich Tires. BFG has a program going on right now that I have been able to help them out with. It is where you get to drive a Jeep JK Rubicon with nothing done to it, with the exception of putting on brand new BFG KO2 All-Terrain Tires. At the beginning of the year BFGoodrich said, “Hey Charlene, we would really like for you to come out to these events and be a right seat.”
I wasn’t really sure about this opportunity since it’s kind of outside my line of doing the media work. But, I will admit, I have had so much fun doing it. Sitting in the Jeep and teaching people how to drive, teaching people about the tires, teaching people new terminology (like cleaning a tire, which is where you get the mud to pop out of the tire while you are still in the mud), and teaching people new techniques (like how to 2-foot it through the rock section), it’s all been a really fun and enjoyable experience.
Recently, I spent three days in a Jeep at Bantam, going around in circles, and meeting all kinds of people. There’s a lot more to that event though. So here are some cool facts that I learned while in Pennsylvania.
There was a lot of history around us at Bantam, and really along the entire East Coast. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is based around the first Jeep ever made, but as I really dug into the history, I learned that that wasn’t the 100% complete story.
Here’s is what I learned: We were in Butler, Pennsylvania where the original story started with the company known as the American Bantam Car Company. In the 1940s World War II era, the military needed a sturdy vehicle built for war-time transportation. The American Bantam Car Company was already building cars, so they said, “we can bid on this”, and they did. They drafted drawings and ended up building a really cool production vehicle. I actually got to see the building where all this original brainwork took place.
Then, Bantam sent their bid and prototype to the American military. They were the first to submit an idea, which allowed other companies to see Bantam’s inventions and the route they had chosen to go for a four-wheel drive vehicle. Willy’s and Ford submitted their prototypes soon afterwards.
At the end, Willy’s won the military contract, though the design was close to the Bantam. Willy’s won the contract because of the improved design and their ability to mass produced the quantity of vehicles needed by the military; Bantam had a much smaller facility. Ford ended up getting involved when Willy’s was flooded by orders and unable to keep up with the demand.
So interestingly enough, when we were at the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival there was the 1940 Bantam, the Willy in the 1941 zone, and then some Fords thrown into the mix. It was interesting to see all the guys out there claiming their titles, “No, I have a Ford! No, I have a Bantam.”
At the show, the Omix-ADA Jeep Collection had a portion of their HUGE selection on display. If you ever have a chance and you’re a Jeep lover, make sure that you make time to find the collection when it travels, or head to Georgia where it resides.
Back to the Schedule of Events:
Friday night was the Guinness World Record Attempt for the Longest Jeep Parade. Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival had held this record for quite awhile, then the folks down at Jeep Beach got together and attempted to beat it. As many of you know I was actually in the head Jeep at that attempt, which was another really cool adventure, (click here for that adventure!) and we beat it! So, Bantam Jeep Festival decided that the record needed to come back to Bantam, and after organizing everyone together for the parade, they unofficially beat Jeep Beach’s record with 2,420 Jeeps in the Parade. It was pretty impressive to have that many Jeeps in one place, let alone in a parade. Plus, I know there were quite a few Jeeps not participating in the parade. That’s a whole lot of Jeeps!
In addition to the Parade, there were trail rides, ride alongs, give aways, vendors, and even a selfie-contest to find the ultimate Jeeper.