After a 15-year absence, the Jeepers Expo returned to Main Street, Georgetown last week for a full day of fun and a great send-off for four-day Jamboree participants.
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“We decided to bring it back to Main Street and perk it up,” said Lacey Stiles, office manager of the Jeepers Jamboree Georgetown location and organizer of the event. For the past several years the expo has been held inside Rubicon Springs, where Jamboree participants could explore a variety of possible upgrades for their vehicles or any number of other products. More than 70 booths were set up on Main Street by organizations from the East Coast, West Coast and as far away as Australia. Fabricators and manufacturers were onsite to display their wares and abilities to improve the ride on any trail much less the “granddaddy” of them all, the Rubicon Trail. While some local residents may express dismay over the amount of traffic and the day’s road closure of Main Street, Stiles said the Jamboree committee and staff appreciate the support of the community.
“The event is open to the public, and we decided to bring it back to town to bring in more revenue, locally,” she said. “We cleaned the entire street, helped get all the lights lit on Main Street, and cleaned up four lots in town for extra parking.”
Even so, local business parking lots and side streets were crowded with cars. Non-profit organizations such as the ECV Clampers, Georgetown Rotary and Divide Recreation Association had fundraising booths, while other booths provided the necessities for the trail or four-wheel drive vehicle. Still others, such as Whitewater Connection, were there to promote their own interests, in this case rafting trips. This year a very interesting item flying throughout the crowd was a radio-controlled drone. The company, Mike G and Big Easy Productions out of Camino and Sacramento, expects to video the Jamboree next year. Owners Mike Golub and Kelvin Stallings operate the new company, which they broke into through the use of radio-controlled helicopters. Stallings, or Big Easy as he is called, said the done will fly as high as 1,000 feet and farther away than he can see it. The drones were expected to be at the Springs during the weekend. Golub, who also owns Crickett’s Computer Repair, with his wife, Crickett, in Camino, added that there are gray areas about commercial use of the drones, at this time, because of privacy laws.
“For $1,500-$1,600 anybody can order this equipment and have it delivered to their home,” he said, explaining why there is so much controversy over their use. Live music by Brad and the Phil-Billys entertained the crowd at the expo during the later hours of the day.
The event began at 9 a.m. and continued until 8 p.m., when most of the vendors packed up and the crowd dispersed to a variety of local restaurants.
“It was definitely bigger than before,” said Stiles, who recognized a variety of groups and individuals for their help. “From Georgetown Fire Department and Georgetown Rotary to Dave Smoot, Terry Hall, Randy Turney and Greg Stiles, if not for them we wouldn’t have been able to make it happen.” While Lacey spearheads the Jamboree activity, she also has a group of valuable helpers that she thanks, including Terry Ward, Iras Taylor, Kaitlyn Fly, Shelly King, Lindsay DeWolf, Jenna Spillers, Becky Vezina, Courtney Owens, Dee Spillers and Erin Tompkins. Each year at Jamboree time, Stiles is provided help in the office for registering guests, and selling T-shirts and other accessories. Stiles added that lunches for Jamboree participants were made by Mar-Val Food Store in Georgetown and distributed at the trailhead by the Native Sons of the Golden West, Georgetown Parlor. And, as always, the American Legion Post No. 119 of Placerville cooks all of the meals in camp for the four-day trip.
The four-day, three-day events last weekend had a total of 385 vehicles, including 43 vendors, with a total participation of 1,004 people. “It was just enough people to make it a fun trip,” said Stiles, adding that seven of her crew members had to leave the springs early. “They live in the Sand Ridge area, where the fire is.”
This week, the smaller, three-day Jeep Jamboree hits the trail with a little less fanfare. Committee members’ families do the cooking in camp for that trip which runs from Friday through Sunday. There will be 135 Jeeps with 279 people and 35 children participating in Camp Rubicon.