The‘‘OG’’Expo

In its 10th year, the Over­land Expo held in north­ern Ari­zona proved to be a place of pil­grim­age for off-road trekkers

Jp Magazine - - News - By Chris Col­lard jped­i­tor@jp­magazine.com Pho­tog­ra­phy: Chris Col­lard

A decade ago, the Ari­zona high coun­try played host to an up­start event that promised a

life of ad­ven­ture. It was called Over­land Expo. That in­au­gu­ral gala, the brain­child of world trav­el­ers and con­ser­va­tion ad­vo­cates Roseanne and Jonathan Han­son, was a small and ca­sual get-to­gether with less than 300 par­tic­i­pants and few dozen ven­dors. How­ever quiet that first expo was, it had ob­vi­ous po­ten­tial. There were work­shops on ve­hi­cle re­cov­ery, tech­ni­cal driv­ing, nav­i­ga­tion, and out­door liv­ing—all de­signed to sharpen these nec­es­sary skills.

The over­land­ing craze has since swept the coun­try like a bush fire in the Kala­hari, and dur­ing the past 10 years Over­land Expo has ex­pe­ri­enced ex­po­nen­tial growth and added a venue on the East Coast. In May of 2018, we joined about 15,000 over­lan­ders in Flagstaff to en­joy what has be­come the spring gath­er­ing for those who long to pack up the Jeep and hit the road—with no re­turn date.

We at­tended sem­i­nars with folks that had crossed the Amer­i­cas, Africa, and Asia, and watched some Camel Tro­phy team mem­bers and train­ers high-line a mo­tor­cy­cle across a deep chasm and re­cover a Land Rover from near death. Through­out the weekend, BFGoodrich let par­tic­i­pants take their new KM3 Mud-Ter­rain for a spin on one of the off-road cour­ses, and oth­ers could vet their tal­ents with their own ve­hi­cles on an­other. Af­ter­noons were spent walk­ing miles of aisles through the ven­dor show. This year there were more than 400 man­u­fac­tur­ers in at­ten­dance with good­ies rang­ing from super-light­weight din­ner­ware to rooftop tents and teardrop trail­ers, and a sur­pris­ingly large num­ber of items were di­rected at the over­land Jeeper.

Need a good ad­ven­ture yarn? Some of the world’s lead­ing ex­pe­di­tion au­thors were on hand to pro­vide au­to­graphed copies of their lat­est books. When the sun went down we found our­selves at the Over­land Film Fes­ti­val, fol­lowed by an evening at the Tepui Tents booth sip­ping coldies and en­joy­ing some live mu­sic. The “OG” Expo has come a long way since its early days, and the

East Coast Expo launched a few years ago is grow­ing too. If you’re look­ing to im­merse your­self in the off-road trekking cul­ture, there is no bet­ter place than Over­land Expo. For more in­for­ma­tion, check out over­lan­d­expo.com.

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