For decades, four-wheeling enthusiasts from across the globe have come to take part in Moab’s annual Easter Jeep Safari, both on and off the trails.
In addition to the Safari’s numerous offroad events, an exposition will take place for both buyers and sellers to share their passion for recreational four-wheeling.
On Thursday, April 17 and Friday, April 18, the Old Spanish Trail Arena will serve as a hub for 180 vendors to display and sell items of interest at the Moab Jeep Safari Expo.
Hosted by Red Rock 4-Wheelers (RR4W), the exhibition will see manufacturing and sales organizations such as 4-Wheel Parts, Currie Enterprises, Rebel Off Road and Superwinch.
“These vendors dedicate a lot of time and money to come here and support us,” said Doug McElhaney, vice president of RR4W. “We like to invite the public to come out and see all the new toys.”
McElhaney said this year’s expo will feature vendors from every U.S. state, as well as companies from Canada and China.
“The majority of the companies that will be there have been attending the expo for quite a few years,” he said. “There are even a handful of companies that have been there every year since 1984.”
A longtime Moab resident, McElhaney has been involved in the town’s Jeeping scene since RR4W formed in the early ’80s as a family-based club.
“My first four-wheel drive experience really sparked my interest,” he said. “And I’ve gotten to watch the industry grow tremendously since then.”
Last year, the Moab Jeep Safari Expo featured 167 vendors.
“The number has gone up every year since we first started,” McElhaney said. “If you can imagine, this event was once being held inside what is now Eddie McStiff’s. It has definitely grown over the years.”
Each vendor was required to submit an application to rent a space at the expo. This year’s event will use 40 acres of indoor and outdoor area.
“From tires and suspension kits to T-shirts and vintage collectibles, just about anything you can imagine in the four-wheel drive industry will be there,” said Eric Brewer, president of RR4W.
Brewer, who joined RR4W in 1985, remembers when there were less than 10 trails open for Jeeping.
“All the trails that we now use for Easter Jeep Safari started out as old roads for uranium mining and mineral exploration,” he said. “People would go out and connect the roads together to make a full trail. Then we would submit a request to the Bureau of Land Management to see if they would agree to let us add it to our permit for the Safari.”
There are now 38 Safari trails.
“It takes a lot of time and a lot of people to run that many trails,” he said.
Through RR4W, Brewer oversees a number of committees that serve to promote responsible four-wheeling. He is excited to be a part of the town’s growing industry.
“The expo is going to be a fun time – not just for Jeep lovers, but for anyone passing through who wants to stop by and look around,” Brewer said.
The event will wrap things up on Friday evening with the customary Boy Scout barbecue dinner and Safari raffle.
“People always like to win something,” McElhaney said. “The raffle will add to the excitement of the event and hopefully bring together more people interested in four-wheeling.”
Nearly $200,000 worth of prizes, including suspension lift kits and other four-wheel drive parts, will be given away to Easter Jeep Safari participants only.
Donations will also be made to nonprofit groups such as the BlueRibbon Coalition, a national company dedicated to promoting and expanding responsible recreational use of public lands.
Vendors gather at arena Thursday and Friday
“The number has gone up every year since we first started. If you can imagine, this event was once being held inside what is now Eddie McStiff’s. It has definitely grown over the years.”
When: Thursday, April 17, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. & Friday, April 18, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. Hwy 191
More info: www.rr4w.com