Way back in 1953, Mark A. Smith organized the first ever Jeep Jamboree voyage across the Sierra, Nevada mountains and through the Rubicon Trail. The event was designed to bring together the world’s most passionate off-roaders and thrill seeking adventurers. Highly impressed by the success and impact of the event, Willy Motors (the precursor to the Jeep name brand) immediately signed up to become involved in 1954.
But Smith wasn’t finished there. He always had the highest of ambitions, and he wanted to make history.
The Jeep Jamboree Team Blazes from the Top to the Bottom
For years, as if they were the direct ancestors of Lewis and Clark, Mark Smith and his legion of Jeep Jamboree drivers continued to blaze trails across the United States. But there was more that needed to be done in Smith’s mind. So, in 1978, Smith and a select group of about 20 other explorers went on a mission to travel from the very bottom of the civilized world to the very top of it.
It would become the longest and one of the most testing expeditions in the history of the world.
Smith says of the challenge, “We took 5 Jeeps from the tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay. It was one of the greatest trips ever.”
The team ended up traveling for 30 days and approximately 21,000 miles. Things got so thick during the trip that many men were delegated to cutting the trail by hand with machetes. It was the kind of grueling trip that would have made Christopher Columbus or even Tarzan proud. And it solidified Mark Smith as an off-roading legend, pushing him into the hall of fame and giving him the respect to become a major consultant for Jeep’s styling and engineering processes.
Jeep Jamboree Today
Fortunately for ANY off-roaders across the country, Smith has kept his tradition alive, making it his mission to share his off-roading passions on the annual Jeep Jamboree voyage. Yesterday, for the 51st time, Smith released his schedule for this year’s Jeep Jamboree tour (see bottom of the page).
And guess what?
Even now that he is in his late 70s, Smith does not spend his trips pussyfooting around. In fact, he continues to lead his groups through some of the thickest and wildest terrain imaginable, including the world famous Rubicon Trail.
Ride Through the Rubicon Trail
The Rubicon Trail, of course, is an ancient Indian trail that winds through the southwestern United States and is considered the most famous off-road trail in the country. On top of that, it has served as the final test for all Jeep vehicles for the past few decades.
Mark Smith says, “Of all trails and trail ratings, we rate trails on a 1-10 basis. The Rubicon is a true 10.” And on August 7th of this year, Mark Smith will be leading his group through the Rubicon wild again, keeping his Jeep Jamboree tradition alive for now the 51st year! It’s definitely a trip worth taking.