, Corbin, KY


October 23, 2013

Jeep Jamboree this weekend

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Jeep lovers and owners will roar their way into Whitley County and the city of Williamsburg this weekend for the 20th Annual Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree USA.

According to Don Ford, Gateway to the Cumberlands coordinator, the event is completely geared for family entertainment.

“This is a family-oriented trail ride,” Ford said. “A lot of people think it’s rocky climbing…but it’s not like that at all.”

He explained the “trail ride” takes Jeep owners, lovers, riders and aficionados through the woods of Whitley County.

“There are several trails,” Ford explained, adding that the trails for Jeep Jamboree during these events are usually rated on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the most difficult for Jeep riders to traverse.

“For this area, there are no firsts,” Ford said. “The trails are ranked four (through) nine.”

He explained that those participating in the Jeep Jamboree will have their vehicle evaluated, as well as themselves, to see which trail would work best to their abilities.

“We put them on the trails,” Ford said. “Each trail has guides familiar with the area.”

Riders will leave in tandem from the Kentucky Splashpark, he said.

“We’ve got this down to a science,” he said, adding weather is out of his control. “Barring rain or snow or other bad weather, we should return to Williamsburg by 5 p.m.”

He said 12 trails have been mapped out for this year’s event.

For those who feel “apprehensive,” Ford says there are several options they can take, particularly a lower, or easier ranked, trail.

He said it was “amazing” to watch the “newbies” (those who recently came into Jeep ownership and appreciation) see what the event has to offer and they can experience what they and their Jeep can do.”

Of course, there are some more challenging trails, and Ford said those are for the more experienced driver, “who knows what the blank is going on.”

Preparations for the weekend are already well under way.

“They’re starting to arrive — some are rolling in (Tuesday),” Ford said. “They’re preparing the trails.”

He said organizers check the trails “several times a year.”

“Right now they’re double-checking the shape of the trails,” Ford said. “They’ll go out and run the trails…and make sure they’re okay.”

Registration is at the tourism center at 5 p.m. Thursday night, Ford said, explaining that is where the driver and vehicle review will be conducted.

Some of the things to be asked include who would drive, what experience they have, and what kind of modifications have been completed, Ford explained.

From there, Jeep Jamboree participants learn the type of trail would be be suited for their experience.

“We kind of help them pick out the trails,” he said.

The alcohol-free event has the assistance of several medical professionals and law enforcement officers who will work as the Jamboree’s trail guides.

Those who are caught drinking will be forced to leave the event, Ford said.

Friday morning, those who have registered will get a “driver’s meeting,” where several local officials will welcome the crowds.

Right now Ford said more than 180 Jeeps have been registered for this weekend’s jamboree.

“We’ve got 180-plus Jeeps this weekend, and that represents about 315 people,” Ford said, adding once those Jeeps get lined up, police escorts provide “tremendous help” in ensuring the safety of the participants.

“When we leave the Splashpark we’ve got a good caravan of Jeeps,” Ford said, explaining there will be two parade groups. About 80-100 of them will head toward Jellico, Tenn., and the remaining Jeeps will head toward Red Bird and Jellico Creek. “We almost need the police escort.”

Ford’s been involved in this for nearly 25 years and is the coordinator for the state of Kentucky. He said he’s been across the United States at different Jamborees in various capacities.

“I can say clearly, without hesitation,” Ford said. “(That) we’ve never been to a facility or a city that’s any better, anywhere — you can tell they want us there.”

These Jeep events occur at several places across the country, he added.

“This is the biggest Jamboree in the country this year,” Ford said.

And he said the season descending on the area makes the Jamboree’s location “unusual.”

“There’s no other area in the world that’s more beautiful than in the fall of the year,” he said.

He also offered much appreciation for the area’s hospitality.

Ford was especially thankful for the hard work of local officials, including Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison, Judge/Executive Pat White Jr., and Alvin Sharpe, director of Williamsburg Tourism.

“They have been a great asset to our location and (help to see) that everything is as smooth as possible,” Ford said. “You know how it’s said in the south ‘it feels like home?’ — well it feels like home for us.”

He also wanted to thank the landowners who allow the Jeep Jamboree to cross their properties.

For those wanting to ride the trails, Ford only has one request.

“No Nissans, no Toyotas, and no trucks,” Ford laughed.

The Jeep Jamboree runs Thursday through Saturday. For more information or for the schedule of events for the three days, visit the website at

Text Only
  • 0424 Bville pump track.jpg Ribbon cutting held for Skill Park

    Bicycling enthusiasts are tailwhipping. They’re front flipping. And they’re getting airborne.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Floss, Pyatt to perform at Corbin High

    Promising “An Evening of Fun and Entertainment,” humorist, comedian and storyteller Howard Floss will join multi-award winning singer and songwriter Dale Pyatt on stage in Corbin on Saturday, May 17.

    April 16, 2014

  • Arena home to circus two nights in May

    It’s been said everyone loves a circus. With that being said, “The Greatest Show on Earth” is coming to Corbin next month.

    April 16, 2014

  • 0413 Redbud Festival.jpg Redbud Fest kicks off Friday

    The Redbud Festival is right around the corner for Barbourville.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0404 empty bowls.jpg Hunger Paints

    As she dipped a paint brush in a container of bright purple paint, Sarah Pedersen announced her design plans for a clay bowl she held.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0401 Ride for PRIDE logo.jpg Gates open Wednesday for Ride for PRIDE event

    Ride for PRIDE begins Wednesday and continues through Sunday, with trail rides taking place through the Daniel Boone National Forest and festivities taking place at the London Drag Way at 3385 White Oak Road in London.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storyteller at Corbin Library next week

    Calling himself “an unsung ambassador for Eastern Kentucky, professional Appalachian storyteller, author, poet and humorist Stephen Hollen steps in to Corbin for an event next Tuesday, April 8.

    April 1, 2014

  • Native American Weekend kicks off Friday

    Native American culture is coming to Cumberland Falls this weekend.

    March 27, 2014

  • Grills Gone Wild BBQ .jpg Grills Gone Wild BBQ Festival begins Friday in London

    Get ready for some serious weekend grilling! The Grills Gone Wild Barbecue Festival, organized by the Inferno Group of Harrogate, Tenn., is finally here and will begin its festivities Friday.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0325 Brian Theodore.jpg A well of hope for a dry village

    Four years after a horrific earthquake shook the Caribbean nation of Haiti, a Corbin artist hopes a picture he painted will help get a simple water well built in one Haitian village.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter