Sheriff office staff Kris Stancil, Sheriff Donnie Craig and Wayne Cooley at the new JeepFest venue in Marble Hill. Organizers wanted an event where they could leave structures in place for several years.
The annual Sheriff’s JeepFest got into high gear immediately for 2015 with 364 Jeep owners registering in the first 24 hours after web registration was activated.
Total registrations, t-shirt/hat sales, camping reservations and other online commerce for the September 4-6 event generated $24,100 in the first day of business at their website.
This is almost double the traffic on the first day last year. One incentive for the early registration is a “challenge coin” given to the first 300 registrants.
Lt. Kris Stancil said when he first made the registration page active, he thought there was an error as it seemed to immediately show several thousand dollars in commerce.
“I thought there is no way that could be right and then I checked it again it was up to $8,000,” he said. It was for real.
There is no cap for the number of Jeep owners who can register to ride trails, try the obstacles and generally enjoy the Jeep action.
Last year around 1,400 Jeep were given registration stickers including vendor vehicles.
The JeepFest crowd here closely mirrors a Jeep Beach event held in Florida and they reported an increase in participation this year, which indicates we may see a larger crowd as well, Sheriff Donnie Craig said.
The event is free for spectators who do not need to register. Pre-registration runs through the end of July. The pre-registration price is $60 per Jeep. Registration is also available on site.
The money raised by the event is used by the Sheriff’s Foundation to benefit local groups that help youth as well as the Sheriff Youth Homes.
The fifth annual JeepFest will move to a new location in Marble Hill this year with more space and a six-year lease [the property is owned by the Pool family, who also owns this newspaper.].
“It will be a new location, new obstacles but the same event,” said Sheriff Craig.
Craig said the move from Jasper to Marble Hill was needed as he wanted to establish a homebase, gates, stages and obstacles that can remain in place for several years. In Jasper, the property was a highly desirable commercial parcel, and everything, including stages and the registration building had to be set up and broken down each year.
“All we’ll have to do this year is clean up and lock the gates,” he said.
To register and for more information, see http://www.sheriffsjeepfest.com.