When I first heard about the 4-Wheel Jamboree, all I could think about was mud trucks. I had never been to one and just assumed. Well, I wasn’t entirely wrong but there was more to it than that. My colleague Micah and I were asked by the event organizers to come out and check out what they had to offer. Well, we both were excited as we’ve both wondered about this for years, and this was our year. The 4-Wheel Jamboree was held in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.
Now, having never been in PA before, I was shocked at how pretty it was there. All that was left was the sound of thousands of people in trucks to just top it off. Friday morning rolled around and sure enough, they started to squeeze into the grounds. When I mean there was everything, I literally mean everything. I have never seen such a spread of different four-wheel-drive vehicles. Gas, diesel, big, small, jeeps, mini trucks, military trucks, you name it, it was there.
If you’re an enthusiast of anything four-wheel-drive, the 4-wheel jamboree is the place to be no questions asked. The show had quite a bit to offer. The majority of it was the actual truck show. This portion of the event awarded prizes for everything from best in show all the way to awards of excellence for those who didn’t quite win it all but deserved some recognition.
Believe it or not, 4-Wheel Jamboree allowed us to have our very own “Editor’s Choice” award but we’ll get to that a little bit later. Our weekend consisted of stomping the fairgrounds in hopes to find some of the most unique diesel-powered builds the east coast had to offer. After all, we rarely get on this side of the country and that was what we wanted to find. Unique vehicles. Trucks we all haven’t seen before. Let me assure you, it didn’t disappoint.
The Cruise Lane
They came from far and as if that wasn’t enough driving, they drove most of the weekend too. Piling friends in and on the trucks, the cruise lane was completely full most of the weekend. For those who wanted to see what trucks were in attendance, you didn’t have to move if you chose not to. The cruise lane allowed the show to be mobile.
Once the gates open, the bumper-to-bumper traffic starting forming. Any and all types of 4 wheel drive vehicles lined up. It was sensory overload. For a second, you’ve got a bigfoot-style Ford truck with open headers going by, then, following right behind it, a lowered diesel truck with a healthy powerplant under the hood. Although there weren’t supposed to be burnouts within this part of the show, let’s just say not everyone listened.
We saw everything from brand new trucks to seventy-year-old trucks. A few to highlight from the cruise lane was a lifted up short bus on American Force wheels. Although it probably didn’t have enough power to get out of its own way, it sure looked good. Seems the showgoers liked it too as it was usually full of people dancing with the music so loud it was testing the durability of those JL speakers.
Continuing on, there was a sharp original body style Ford dually out there that was creeping through the show and it really just had a nasty stance. Seemed a lot of phones were pointed at it this weekend. Also, being our first time out east, there are just a ton of Fords. Whether you like it or not, usually the Dodges take over shows like this but out here, it was not the case. There were also many brand new Ford pickup trucks rolling through as well which was a sight to see. Those new trucks are about as nice as they get.
I went by the dyno time and time again and never saw anyone on it until the end of the show. I was also told by the locals that there was a huge dyno day event going on not too far away. That tells me that the typical 4-Wheel Jamboree dyno crowd all went to another location. That being said, there ended up being some action on the dyno and there were awards handed out too.
I was also told that the dyno they had was not a loaded dyno therefore the diesel trucks that would dyno wouldn’t make nearly the power they actually make. With no load on the engine, how can they get into boost and make near the real power output, right?
The top spot on Saturday went to a Turbotville, PA native with a truck called “White Widow”. It was a ’06 Ram 2500 and it cranked out 505-horsepower. No name was listed for him. On Sunday, Robert Farley took home the win for most horsepower with his 2015 Ford F-250 when it made 455-horsepower. Congratulations to the winners.
As a motorsports enthusiast, I was excited for the burnout competition because it took all of these vehicles that have been spiffed up all weekend and put them to the test. Yeah, they look pretty but let’s hold them on the floor and make some noise. There were 10 or 15 brave souls that wheeled their rigs out in front of the grandstands but only two made a real impression.
Remember “White Widow” from the dyno competition? Well, he led the burnout competition early with a monster burnout that literally smoked the crowd out so bad that the show was put on hold. I think someone had a little too much fuel and not enough turbo. What do you think?
Anyway, once the show continued, it was clear that the crowd loved that diesel truck and the mess it made but the final participant stole the show. Lehigton, PA native Kyle Ahner in his 1961 Jeep FC170 melted his tires for the entire session and left with the top prize. A new set of tires.
Show And Shine
Since this was the “4-Wheel Jamboree”, the show wasn’t limited to diesel trucks like you’re used to seeing here. That made winning any award at all even more challenging because now you’ve got the entire gas scene involved too. There were literally hundreds of vehicles that covered the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. It took days to really go through and delicately look at all of the workmanship and details.
The awards that were up for grabs were Best 4×4 Up To ’97, Best 4×4 98 To Present, Awards Of Excellence, Best Ford, Best GM, and Best Mopar to name a few. There were different classes and tiers of each category but the bottom line is there were a ton of awards and yet the judges had their work cut out for them.
My colleague Micah Anderson and I were selected to make an editor’s choice for each of our publications. For Micah, it was Off-Road Xtreme. For me, obviously, it was for Diesel Army. We scowled the grounds all weekend and never really could find our pick. That go-to pick that separates itself from the rest. That was until late into the last day.
In the far back corner (from where I entered the property) I stumbled onto a pretty simple looking Ford Excursion. I don’t know why but I’ve always been infatuated with these trucks. Is it a truck? Is it a suburban? Is it a bus? I don’t know but they are damn cool and I liked it. Before I go on, what is my criteria for the award?
Before the event, I looked through the comment section of 4 Wheel Jamboree’s posts and noticed a lot of upset about the show scene because no matter what event they attend, it seems the same people always win. Well, with my criteria, I was going in a different direction. Call me crazy, but not everyone can afford to get a brand new Ford and slap some monster wheels and tires on it, a monster lift kit with the powder-coated suspension. It just isn’t in the books for the majority of people. Me. I’m like that. I can’t do that and that is why I wanted to look at the more realistic side of things.
Winning a show award from us isn’t about how much money you throw at something. It is about the story. How did you get to this point and how passionate are you about this, right? Moving on to the Excursion, Kathy Groft, the owner, was impatiently waiting as I looked the truck over. She looked like a nervous wreck. As we started talking, she began loosening up and starting to tell me about this truck and how she’s done everything herself.
How she bought the truck, what all she has had to do to get it to this point, and the endless labor of love to make it what it is. Kathy was awarded the Diesel Army Editor’s Choice award and it was well deserved. I’ve decided to do a full feature on that truck in the very near future. Stay tuned here for the full story on her rig because it is a work of art.
Mega Trucks Fly High
I would say the highlight of the weekend for all showgoers was the high-horsepower Mega Trucks the show had. These trucks are built to jump very high, land with the throttle wide open, and then make it through the mud pit as fast as possible. Some are very pretty, some are very rough, but one thing is for sure, they are all very, very powerful.
The racing was merely for bragging rights within their group and for entertainment for us but they didn’t disappoint. It seems like some of them didn’t understand what “FINISH LINE” means. They really like to stay in the throttle way past the line and nearly crash. In fact, one guy stayed in the throttle for so long, he did end up hitting the turn one wall and nuking some front suspension parts and a high-dollar wheel and tire combo. I guess next time he’ll not be in throttle that long.
The “Dirty 30” truck stole the show with his Freestyle run when he hit a jump in the wrong direction. What started as a two wheel drive trick ended with a rollover accident. Not to worry, though. The roll continued back onto all fours where he just kept going. Savage. The Mega Trucks were a nice touch and offered some sweet sounds for us all.
Check out the full event gallery here!
The 4-Wheel Jamboree was definitely one to see. If you didn’t get to go, you should really consider putting this on your calendar for years to come. The event in Bloomsburg has been going on for over 34 years! They have multiple shows in different areas throughout the country, so head over to their website and see which show is closest to you here! For more event coverage, truck features, and part reviews, stay tuned right here at Diesel Army.