What fuels the heartbeat of America’s heartland? If the 36th Annual Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals were of any indication, our guess would be motor oil and massive tires with a side of good ol’ Midwestern hospitality. We hit the highway last week and headed to Indianapolis for some fun in the sun at the Indiana State Fair.
Eager for what was to come, we were all smiles at the fairgrounds come Friday morning. The show kicked-off at 10 am and we arrived a little early to setup our trailer and check things out. If you’re used to car shows, the amount of rubber that the majority of the trucks and Jeeps were sitting on at this event is immediately impressive. If we were to guess, we’d conservatively say that the average tire size mounted on rigs at this show was more than likely a cool 40 inches tall.
It takes a strong axle to handle all of that rolling mass and the Dana 60’s, 70’s, 14-bolts and Rockwells bolted beneath many of these polished pavement punishers were geared, locked, and up to the task. Upgraded axles are only part of the recipe for fitting monster tires underneath anything and the suspension systems seen at the Jamboree reflected that. Jack ’em up high was a sentiment found on bumper stickers sold by a few of the vendors in attendance and a motto followed by the vast majority of those that registered their vehicles for the event. It wasn’t uncommon to find a Chevy truck with 15+” of lift rolling through the aisles of the show.
Attention-grabbing paint schemes, powdercoats, and chrome finishes were the norm at this event. Unless your sway bars are disconnected, don’t get it twisted. The trucks, Jeeps and buggies at the Jamboree were built and beat off-road and used as workhorses on the weekdays, but they sure polish up nicely when show time rolls around.
Aside from the show and shine, there was a lot going on at this year’s Jamboree. Between the cruising, mud bogging, mud drags, monster truck freestyle, tough truck challenges, dyno pulls, burnout contest, UTV shootout, bikini contest, giveaways and RC dirt track racing, our plate was full. Better yet, it was overflowing all weekend long. Although it was hard to keep up, we managed to take pretty much all of it in and man our trailer on the north side of the vendor showcase section at the fairgrounds while we were at it.
The food was good, the folks were friendly and the majority of exhaust systems we found were Flowmaster-equipped. Right behind Chicago, Indy is the second most populous city in the Midwest, but it’s definitely at the top of the built truck and Jeep game and our list of places to make a return visit. Thanks for the good times, Indianapolis. We’ll see you again soon.
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