I’m often asked, “Why would you pay $265.00 per person, NOT PER JEEP, Per PERSON, to attend a Jeep Jamboree USA® event when you can wheel at thousands of other venues and events around the country for less money?” Thankfully, there are a few hundred thousand people, with combined memories from a number of successful Jeep Jamboree events going back 50 years, feel the same way that I do.
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Moreover, my own wife of over 16 years has considered institutionalizing me on a number of occasions for much the same reason. She asks, “Why would you pay $30,000.00 plus for a new 2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon only to risk tearing it up on the rocks? Are you crazy?!”
The answer to both of theses questions can be found in the historic Texas Hill Country, just outside the tiny riverfront town of Llano where off-highway enthusiasts from all over the United States gathered for two weekends of “Wheeling Nirvana” in 2007. The place we gravitated to is 1,100 acres known as the Inks Ranch. For a more precise location, the coordinates are: 30º32’53.10”N by 98º48’07.66”W, and about 1,356 feet above sea level according to the Google Earth ™ website.
For those of us who have been to the ranch, we simply call this location “Roy’s House.” It’s a gorgeous Ranch-Style home comprised of several buildings and covered patios, backing up to a spectacular freshwater pond and flanked by an enormous granite dome. From the hilltop, the views looking down on this tiny slice of heaven make the discomfort of the 7-mile dusty dirt road ride into the ranch fade away as simply the necessary price of admission.
The Inks Ranch (formerly the Moss Ranch), and the Inks Family name, have had a long and colorful account in more than one chapter of Texas History, extending back to the original Texas Land Grants of 1837. The land was given as partial repayment to family members who fought for independence from Mexico during the Texas Revolution (A more detailed history of the ranch can be heard by listening to the podcast with Roy Inks on the JeepTales.com website entitled “Inks Ranch History”).
In December of 2004, JJUSA decided to part company from the former host venue to the South Texas Jeep Jamboree, the YO Ranch. The decision not to return to the YO Ranch could not have happened at a more inopportune time. The 22-page, 5-color Jeep Jamboree Guide book for 2005 was about to go to press with a circulation of 50,000, and JJUSA and Tony & Nancy Winkler (The South Texas Jeep Jamboree Coordinators) were faced with the decision to cancel the event all together, or roll the dice on a risky plan “B.”