Thank you BRBoudreaux for the write up..Everybody let us know what you think...Dan BLAZERFEST 3 HOLLISTER HILLS, CA The hollowed hills of Hollister conjure up images of terrain uglier than a Tommy Lee marriage. Rocks the size of Geo Metros and mud holes with more depth than a eco-nazi's argument; the challenges of Hollister Hills OHVRA range from "Yuppie SUV capable" to the "if you ain't running 1-tons, stay home." BlazerFest 3 kicked off on Thursday, June 27th and ended on Sunday. Participants from the NorCal Big Dawgs and SoCal Big Dawgs traveled from far away and in the case of organizer Dan Allemand, right down the road in Hollister. Don't let the name fool you though. Although the event is dominated by the original SUV, other makes are welcomed. Case in point, Steve Matthews rolled in from Southern California with his big beast Ford pickup and semi. Chris Bozish came from Lodi ready to tackle the terrain in his sweet-built '70 Bronco. According to event organizer Dan Allemand, the president of the NOR-CAL Big Dawgs 4 Wheel Drive Club, approximately 42 rigs; 36 Chevys, 5 Jeeps and 2 Fords came out for the adventure. A New Adventure This was the first time ever I had attended a 4x4 event and the only person I knew was Chris Brewer from Clovis. I pulled in Friday evening, parked my K5 and made my way over to the NorCal campsite. I was just in time to watch Greg Blanchette from Milpitas appear on the television that was set up. Greg, possessor of a great sense of humor, was able to record on film the modifications he had done to his 72 K5. Greg was original in approach by putting his truck on the passenger side so he could stand up and give the camera a better angle to show off the beef of the 1-ton drive train. This unfortunate incident had happened earlier in the day before my arrival, so Greg related to me the circumstances of his roll. Greg had been running the trails of Hollister with some of the SoCal Big Dawgs Club when he went into a crevice at slow speed and the truck decided to tip on it's side. The only damage done was to the right front fender and Greg had to fill the transmission up with fluid. A side note on Greg's incident, Greg stated that the Pucker Finder gauge that is sold by Steve Fox of ColoradoK5.com fame has a design flaw. Greg feels that the gauge, which was topped out at 45 degrees should be more accurate and be able to reflect the 92 degrees of angle that was achieved. On Saturday morning, drivers began wrenching and testing for the Poker Run that started at 1100. Unfortunately for Chris Bozish, he wrecked the ear stub and the passenger side axle of his Bronco while preparing for the Poker Run. After some heavy repair work and assistance from Chaz Murray and others, he finally had to stick a towel in the axle to prevent leakage and call it a run. Chris had met breakage misfortune at last year's event also. I'm sure he will be back next year to prove there is no "Hollister Curse." The story making the rounds of camp was that of Bob Knight. Bob made his way to Hollister from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Bob arrived in his stock yellow 71K5. After some observations and questions, Bob returned to his truck, took the top and sway bar off. Spectators were amazed at the skill that Bob tackled the trails since this was the first time ever Bob had matriculated himself into this sort of recreation. I took off in my stock '87 K5 following Joe Rollins in his '76K5. The only mods that Joe has done so far have included a 14-bolt open rear end and 4 inch Rancho lift. We hit the station at Bonanza Gulch Road and received directions from Dan. Joe took off first to tackle the trail, while I pulled up beside him on the flat stuff. Joe went into the holes and at that moment, Joe flat out walked the dawg. Joe quickly made up for the lack of lockers with an application of rocking and go pedal pressure. It was then my turn to be the hero. Whereas Joe made it easy, my 208 wasn't in hero mode. After a couple colorful adjectives and several retries at the 4lo range, I was free. After this little adventure, I got the feeling my chances at glory were somewhere along the lines of a finding an honest Sierra Club member. Joe quickly lost me and ended the run with 4 cards. After I picked up my second card and some body work and mirror decapitation I quickly realized that with a 5 and a deuce, Kenny Rogers was right about knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. The run was setup so the slightly modified rigs had a chance at 5 cards, but it would be the big boys who could pick up 7 cards with the Mini-Rubicon and the Mud Pit. The Mud Pit was slow. Keith Panza, president of the southern crowd said only 4 trucks had attempted the pit before my arrival. No one had made it though. Brad Burrell (1FNHIK5) from Lodi was the distance winner on his 44-inch tires. Unfornately for Brad, he cracked the tranny case. I made my way over to the Mini Rubicon to watch Chaz Murray from Lodi was on the rocks. Chaz, with his 37-inch beadlocked MTRs and 1-ton driveline was making a mockery of the rocks until he found the rear shaft from High Angle Driveline on a rock the size of a Metro. After a couple of attempts, the front drive shaft twisted up and divorced itself. After some winch repositioning from David Renschler and John Clemans from Stockton in his '95 Wrangler, Chaz finally rolled off the rocks in 2wd. Asked for any quotes, the only thing John said that is fit to print is that he will be rebuilding Chaz's drive shaft. After towing Brad Burrell home, Chaz found that he had more damage than he thought, but the rig will be fixed in no time. The following list is a partial collection of the carnage that occurred in the hills. Chaz Murray, broken front drive shaft, 2 bent toybox rock sliders, 2 dented front and rear diff covers, 1 bent tie rod, 1 bent front bumper, broken driver side shackle bolt, and 1 crushed exhaust cross over pipe. Steve Burt ripped up his soft top on the way to the event due to the "Oklahoma, where the winds come whipping down the plains" weather. Mike Fair broke the left side-locking hub. Keith Panza is currently in death wobble mode and has a kinked winch cable. Dan Barcroft suffered a blown tranny input seal requiring 24 quarts of the red stuff to make it home. Evan Decourt bent the engine fan and fried his started. Evan wants to thank Ken Dodds for giving him another starter. Steve Roberts from Camp Pendleton wrecked the front differential of his '89 K1500 IFS rig. Mike Sia fried the oil pump on the transmission of his big block 74 K5. David Renschler blew the TruTrac in his front diff. THE LOST BOYZ OF LUPINE After checking out the carnage on the rocks and Joe Rollins asking, "who needs 37's and lockers?" while attempting to conquer the mud, I sauntered back into camp for a cool down. Not too long after, the CB radios were abuzz with traffic from the Clan of Panza on Lupine. They were in the middle of a rescue and needed more help. So I hopped into the co-pilots seat with Chris Brewer, (like he'll trust me to read a map again) with Steve Burt falling in behind in his rig. We arrived not too long after the initial call, pulling in behind the Ford of Steve Matthews. What we saw next wasn't a sight for the faint of heart. Keith Panza had his rig's winch hooked up to a highly unmodified, brand spanking new Chevy ½ ton extended cab with brand new BFG A/Ts and fancy aluminum rims that was off the trail. The truck was at such an angle, that Greg Blanchette's redesign ideas for the Pucker Factor gauge could have been used for measurement. If a roll of duct tape, a couple booster rockets and a NASA engineer had been on hand, this thing could have been lost in space with the trajectory angle. The scene was complete with a driver in the P/U with a look of sheer fear or "I need to get out of here fast so I can clean my shorts." There were also several passengers walking around, more than willing to tell the tale of that fateful trip. The lost boyz were out and about getting their wheel awn when the driver decided to have a knee slapping good time on a trail that didn't appear on the maps. Keith Panza stated that they came across a group of lost souls that looked like they were in shock, but the rig was nowhere to be seen. The particular trail the boyz had ventured on was a stocker death trap with loose dirt and rock sporting a grade percentage between Laz-E-Boy reclined position and vertical. The story continued something along these lines. The driver, after having lost forward momentum, shifted the transmission into the "N" position; and ladies and gentlemen of the gallery, w'all know what kinds of mayhem and chaos ensues. The truck then began a rapid vertical descent finally coming to a stop on the other side of Lupine Loop in the brush and vegetation right before they reached Grandma's house. With Keith's truck as the puller, with an assist from the Ford and anchor duty pulled by Chris, the Lost Boyz climbed back into the bent rear bumper and side panel P/U and followed us down the hill. Keith suffered a kinked winch cable for his efforts. I wonder how the "northern" lost boyz realized that a bunch of "southerners" had saved their bacon. But to this day, it remains a mystery if the spectator that was parked down on the road in the white SUV with fancy lights on top talked to the boyz about "destruction of vegetation" and "driving off trail." After this round of fun and excitement, it was time to return to camp and filled our stomachs with good food and cold liquid refreshments and prepare for the final event of the evening, the raffle drawing. THE DRAWING The list of winners was long, and for the most part, distinguished; while the list of people who went home empty handed was very short; but I refuse to divulge their names since they were so kind as to make sure I could find my way home on Sunday. When the cards were laid on the table, Chaz Murray smiled as he let everyone know that a four-of-a-kind was the hand to beat. NOR-CAL BIG DAWG members Kevin and Stacy Blevins of Sierra Off-Road donated a set of differential guards to Poker Run and Chaz walked away feeling a little better after the carnage on the Mini-Rubicon. Bob Knight received a Skyjacker steering stabilizer for traveling to the event all the way from Ontario, Canada. The list of winners and the prizes they won reads like this: 10 % DISCOUNT FROM PAINLESS WIRING TORI MILLER $250 DISCOUNT KLUNEV GEARBOX TOM PURVIS KLUNEV AIRDOWN VALVE TORI MILLER SIERRA OFFROAD WINDSHIELD STICKER KEITH PANZA (2) STANLEY HARPER J.J. GOMES (2) MATT RESTELLI ROBB MUMMERT CHAZ MURRAY STEVE MATTHEWS AUTOMETER TRANSMISSION TEMPATURE GUAGE TOM PURVIS PREMIERE WELDER AND PULL PAL DISCOUNT J.J. GOMES HOWLIN OFFROAD REAR SHOCK MOUNT KIT ANDY FAIR $50 DISCOUNT HOWLIN OFFROAD RYAN BURKE $70 DISCOUNT HUSKY LINER DAN BARCROFT $200 CERTIFICATE 4X4 POSILOCK NATHAN NETHERS FIRE EXT. RYAN BURKE KLUNE T-SHIRT BRAD BURRELL HOLLISTER HAT CHAZ MURRAY CHRIS BURGESS TYLER BURT PRESTON PANZA MARSHA ROSE BULLDOG TRUCK T-SHIRT DAKOTA KEFFER ROBB MUMMERT CHRIS BURGESS TUFF COUNTRY T-SHIRT CHAROLOTTE LASSITER STEVE MATTHEWS STUART POST CHERLYE WEATHERLY MARSHA ROSE CHEVROLET LICENSE PLATE BOB KNIGHT STEVE MATTHEWS ONE GALLON OF HERCULINER PRESTON PANZA FOUR SKYJACKER SHOCKS CHAZ MURRAY B.F. GOODRICH STICKER TORI MILLER ALLEN AUTOMOTIVE FREE OIL CHANGE RYAN BURKE MATT RESTELLI GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR EDLEBROCK T-SHIRT DAN ALLEMAND KEITH PANZA MSD DISTRIBUTOR COIL NATHAN NETHERS LEATHERMAN MULTI TOOL J.J. GOMES %50 DISCOUNT WEST COAST DIFF KEITH PANZA ACME TRUCK CENTER $10 DISCOUNT GREG BLANCHETTE DAN BARCROFT TOM PURVIS TUFF COUNTRY WINDSHIELD STICKER CHAZ MURRAY TORI MILLER BOB KNIGHT DON THIESSEN TYLER BURT HERCULINER HAT TYLER BURT ERIC BAEZ EDELBROCK HAT J.J. GOMES (2) STEPHANIE MATTHEWS BOB KNIGHT ANDY FAIR PRESTON PANZA CRANE CAM VALVE TRAIN ORGANIZER JOSH ASBURY %50 DISCOUNT BORLA EXHAUST TAMRA ROBERTS UNIDEN CB RADIO WITH ANTANNAE STUART POST J.J. GOMES TODD BAKER SKYJACKER BRAKE LINES LELAND HYDE TUBELESS TIRE REPAIR LELAND HYDE TIRE GUAGE MIKE FAIR TIRE DEFLATORS JOE ROLLINS PRESTON PANZA DAN ALLEMAND RANCHO T-SHIRT CHERYLE WEATHERLY PREMIERE WELDER HAT CHRIS BURGESS TUFFY CUP KRIS COENEN STACY BLEVINS J.J. GOMES MIKE FAIR TUFFY CAN WRAP DAVID RENSCHLER GREG BLANCHETTE STEPHANIE MATTHEWS BRAD BURRELL STUART POST DON THIESSEN RANCHO HAT BOB KNIGHT HOLLISTER BALADO T-SHIRT TOM PURVIS DAN BARCROFT TODD BAKER HOLLISTER 50TH ANNIVERSARY RALLY T-SHIRT KEN DODDS DAKOTA KEFFER ANDY FAIR MIKE FAIR J.J. GOMES CAMPFIRE NEWS AND RUMORS When not out on the wilds of Hollister Hills, the clubs made their on entertainment back at camp during the night, with a little assistance from the local pig population. One of the more interesting participants I met was the "Unofficial Armorer of BlazerFest." Due to the classified nature of his work, I am not able to divulge his name in this article. He was test firing the dreaded potato gun. Being the soldier of misfortune that I was in my younger days, I was allowed by UAB to give the gun a spin. All I got to say is that the potato gun is the cat's meow. The pigs of Hollister were well fed during our stay with such scrumptious offerings as chips, cookies and donuts. They may need Jenny Craig after all the food they got. Tales were spun about the Phantom Blazer, the Lost Boyz, and of the dreaded Mud Pit. Now one thing I noticed was the separation between the southerners and northerners. For heat, the SoCal was testing a new government satellite, using their fire to not only calibrate the photography equipment on the satellite, but due to the size, the NorCal group didn't have to keep theirs as big due to the heat output. For audio/visual stimulation, the NorCal group had a TV on tap with the latest videos of rock crawling, while the SoCal group had the likes of Willie, C.W. and Bocephus belting out the tunes. EPILOGUE All had a great time and event organizer Dan Allemand, not to mention a lot of the previous attendees were impressed and gratified with the large turnout. Blazerfest is a place for not only the hardcore, extreme wheelers to wheel around, but also stockers and all rigs in between are welcome. Last, but not least, Dan and the participants would thank the following vendors who donated to the event; Skyjacker Suspension, Rancho Suspension, Sierra Off-Road, Borla Exhaust Systems, KC Hilites, West Coast Differentials, Herculiner, Painless Wiring, Crane Cams, Dakota Digital, MSD Ignition, Tuff Country Suspension, 4x4 Posilock, Husky Liners, Bulldog Trucks, Premiere Power, Radio Shack, Four Wheel Parts Wholesalers, Howlin Offroad, Tuffy, Edlebrock, Jegs, KluneV, Acme Trucks, B & M Transmission, and to the SoCal Big Dawgs for the RTI ramp.