Credit Due

Jp Magazine - - Mailbag -

Should trail badges rep­re­sent the ex­ploits of the ve­hi­cle or the driver? I had a built ’98 Wran­gler that I wheeled ex­ten­sively on the top trails in Colorado and Utah. It was well dec­o­rated with badges for the trails we ran. Be­cause of my age and phys­i­cal is­sues, I re­placed it with a ’11 Rubicon Un­lim­ited. My Jeep­ing bud­dies say it is un­eth­i­cal to put badges on it un­less the Jeep has run the trails. I don’t have the time, and in some in­stances may not have the skills to re­run all of those trails, although I think my mod­i­fied Rubicon can do them all. I re­cently ran Iron Chest twice with­out ever kiss­ing a rock with steel.

I am proud of my wheel­ing over a pe­riod of many decades and would like to ad­ver­tise the trails I have run with­out ver­bally toot­ing my own horn. What is stan­dard prac­tice?

Terry J. Peavler

Buena Vista, CO

Well, you’ve ac­tu­ally brought up quite the dilemma. We can cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate the de­sire to openly ad­ver­tise the trails you have ac­com­plished, but if done im­prop­erly, it could surely be con­sid­ered mis­lead­ing. Per­haps it’s the same as WWII mark­ings on the side of a fighter plane, which were used to iden­tify the num­ber of en­emy planes the pilot had shot down. Should an ace pilot lose all of his vic­to­ries when put into a new plane? That hardly seems fair, right? Although, if you were to put badges of ex­tremely dif­fi­cult trails on a nearly stock Jeep that clearly never would have tra­versed them, you’ll likely be con­sid­ered a fraud by those in the know, re­gard­less of how many other Jeeps you have owned and mod­i­fied or where you have driven them. You’d prob­a­bly find your­self con­stantly de­fend­ing and ex­plain­ing the cir­cum­stances of each of the badges, de­pend­ing on where you travel and who you travel with. It would seem eas­ier to as­so­ciate each badge of honor with the Jeep that made the ac­com­plish­ment. How­ever, clearly the Jeep couldn’t have com­pleted the trails with­out some­one be­hind the wheel. Maybe you could mod­ify the badges to in­di­cate the year you ac­com­plished the trail. Or could you mod­ify the badge to in­clude the model of the Jeep that tra­versed the trail? Ei­ther of these op­tions could help avoid any con­fu­sion, es­pe­cially if the Wran­gler Un­lim­ited is far newer than when the trails were orig­i­nally tra­versed. If you de­cide that only trails tra­versed in the Jeep should be in­di­cated by badges on that Jeep, you could have a jacket made up with sewn-on badges of the trails you per­son­ally have ac­com­plished. This way both your Jeep and you as a driver re­ceive proper credit for all trail ac­com­plish­ments.

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