PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
Rock rollers help Jeepers participants through boulders. Courtesy photos

ROCK ROLLERS help Jeepers get through boulders on the trail. Stationed at key points along the way, Rock Rollers not only guide drivers, they often help lift and maneuver stuck vehicles and help prevent rollovers. Courtesy photo

Rubicon Tab 2012 (Jeepers Jamboree)

Rock Rollers essential to Jeeps navigating trail

An annual event like the Jeepers Jamboree would not continue to be a success year after year without dedicated and hard-working crews working together to make the event, as a whole, something worth celebrating.

“Our crews are what make the Jamboree tick,” Dan DeWolf, president of Jeepers Jamboree, said.

One such crew is the Rock Rollers. Its role as trail guides requires them to know every rock and bend of the Rubicon Trail.

“We guide and assist people through the trail,” Jeepers Jamboree Director Bob Sweeney said. “We are out there stacking rocks and letting participants know where to place their tires.”

With as many participants as the Jamboree has every year, and this year especially, the Rock Rollers’ role is essential. Most of the work is moving rocks and pushing Jeeps, which requires “a strong back and a good pair of gloves,” Sweeney said.

While participants who are new to the Rubicon Trail may require more assistance from the Rock Rollers, especially if they show up with a Jeep that is not ready for a trail ranked No. 10 out of 10 in difficulty for off-road driving, veteran participants can still find themselves in situations warranting Rock Roller help.

“Some of the veteran drivers get into trouble by pushing their vehicles too far,” Sweeney said. “The best thing for veterans and first timers both is to listen to the Rock Rollers; they know the best way through a hard spot.”

Rock Rollers, volunteers, guide Jeeps over giant rocks and up and down steep grades, occasionally winching a stuck Jeep back on the trail and getting parts for stranded vehicles.

It is also important for drivers to remember that the Rubicon Trail is one of the oldest and toughest trails in the world, creating many opportunities for vehicle dents and damage; even a breakdown every once in a while.

“We had a participant break everything one year,” Sweeney said. “Rear end, axles, transmission; we were fortunate enough to have one of our sponsors, WFO out of Auburn, lend a hand to get this vehicle off the trail and repaired.”

High Sierra weather causes changes to the trail every year and the Rock Rollers are there every step of the way to make sure that anyone who gets hung up on rocks or gets stalled on the trail gets back up and running safely.

“In 60 years we have never left anyone stranded on the trail,” Sweeney said. “If they go on our trip, we get them out.”

The Rock Rollers play an integral role in the Jeepers Jamboree and will continue to make the event a success as long as Jeepers stay hungry for the rush of rocks, four-wheeling and good old fashioned fun on the Rubicon Trail.

Rachael A. McCoy

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