Bloomsburg-area resident Jason Starr has fond memories of watching his uncle build trucks out of his grandfather’s shop. It was the 1980s, and he was one of the first in the area to put 44-inch tires on a truck. It was the beginning of Starr becoming what he calls a “motorhead."
He was 10 years old when the 4-Wheel Jamboree event first came to town. His mom took him to the event, he said, “and I never missed one since.”
At 16, he redid a Ford Ranger truck, and has shown a truck every subsequent year. Three years ago, when the event added UTV racing, he also entered that and won first place. He placed last year.
This year, he plans to show the work he’s done on his 2018 Ford Super Duty.
The A&A Auto Stores 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals, in its 32nd year in Bloomsburg this year, is presented by the Indianapolis-based Bonnier Events, which also hosts annual 4x4 events in Indianapolis and Ohio.
This weekend’s event is part of the Lucas Oil 4-Wheel Nationals Jamboree Series, “America’s Largest 4x4 Series,” which has as a main feature the popular General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags and Freestyle Competition.
The series events are known by many as “State Fairs for 4-Wheel Gear-Heads.”
Tony Veneziano, public relations and communications manager for Bonnier Events, said the Bloomsburg location is ideal for 4x4 and off-road enthusiasts in the northeast, the fairgrounds providing the space needed for the many competitions, displays, and vendors.
The three-day event is expected to draw 3,000 participants and a crowd of more than 45,000 spectators, Veneziano said.
Some of the participants come to display their vehicles, while some take part in the racing and Tough Trucks Challenge. Others visit the event simply to watch the racing and visit the many different vendors of off-road vehicle and truck products at the Performance Marketplace.
“It’s really family-friendly,” said Veneziano. “It’s something great to bring kids to, who love looking at trucks, especially monster trucks.”
There will also be games to play, with prizes, on the Main Stage.
After a season full of wet weather, Veneziano said this weekend’s forecast is looking good, making the event a good time to “Get outside and spend time with family and friends.
Many who come each year, he said, see it as a reunion with others all over the country that they may only see once a year: “They get to share their love of off-road and 4-wheel drive vehicles.”
One of the newer activities for the event is a NEXT GEN Battle Build-Off for vehicle builders under the age of 27. Veneziano said people will be able to vote online for their favorite, and the winner will be given the chance to attend a large trade show in Las Vegas. The build-off, he said, “keeps the passion for 4-wheel drive and off-road vehicles going for a new generation.”
Other features at the Jamboree Nationals include a Mud Bog Challenge, SideXSide Shootout (UTV racing), General Tire Burnout Competition, pro-judged Show-N-Shine competition and awards, Miss 4-Wheel Contest, Mountain Man Beard Contest, 4x4 Cruising in the Cruise Lane, Monster Truck rides ($10 cash only), and an A&A Truck and Off-Road Pavilion with more than 60 manufacturers.
A fireworks display will also be part of Saturday’s activities.
The Monster Trucks to be featured this weekend include Bigfoot, Raminator, Black Stallion, General Tire Monster Truck, Overkill Evenulation, and Xtreme Diesel Monster Truck.
The event is sponsored by A&A Auto Stores, Jack Williams Tire, Lucas Oil, General Tire, National Tire and Wheel, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Quaker Steak & Lube.
Starr said he’s looking forward to just having fun and meeting together with 20 to 25 of his friends who all share the same love for trucks and off-roading.
“It’s like a big family thing,” he said. That statement takes on even more meaning when it comes to his own blood. His 15-year-old daughter is already becoming a motorhead herself.
“All she wants to do is go to truck shows,” he said with a laugh.