This Memorial Day weekend, we took advantage of an event hosted at Choccolocco Mountain ORV Park in Jacksonville, Alabama to go wheeling.
Driving into Choccolocco was a different experience than driving into just any off-road park. The wheelers here had a different vibe than your typical off-roader. You can just FEEL that everyone here was family. It was a very tight knit group of attendees at Choccolocco for this event, and perhaps some of the most humble and generous people I have ever met.
Being at Choccolocco with this tight group of friends, I felt like an honorary family member, too. Typically, at an off-road park, you will feel a more competitive vibe from the others, but not at Wheelin for Warriors. Many of the Jeeps here were fully built TJs and XJs, and a lot of really beefy buggys. I have never seen so many buggys at once, and learned a ton about them on this trip!
Choccolocco is a park full of steep uphill rock climbs, and sketchy spots. We had an awesome time at this park, thankfully, since we were all well-equipped Jeeps on 40s and 42s. At Choccolocco, even the buggys have a hard time with some obstacles, like the infamous boat ramp. Boat ramp is an uphill climb drenched in water, since a stream runs through it. The wet rock makes everything more slippery and harder to grip with even the stickiest and biggest tires. Not to mention, a wrong move on Boat Ramp could cause a big roll down the climb.
Some other awesome obstacles were “Playground” and “Hell’s Revenge”. Sami let me take the wheel on Playground, and I had more fun than I would have expected. In fact, I had so much fun that Sami also decided to do it again for himself, and chose a different line. Hell’s Revenge was in a lower valley style area of the park, and had some really gnarly rocks like this enormous V-notch, a spot where you’re pretty much guaranteed to inflict some body damage.
The Wheelin’ 4 Warriors Rock Ride event is held every year on Memorial Day Weekend to raise funds to support the recovery of wounded warriors and their families. It is a huge charity event that used to take place at Morris Mountain ORV, but this is the first year it is at Choccolocco. The proceeds from this year’s event are being donated to the Fisher House Foundation.
The entrance for veterans and active duty military was free. Raceline Wheels was a pretty large sponsor of the event, and all the vets/military were asked to sign a t-shirt that will be framed and hung in the Raceline office. I got to sign and put NAVY under my name.
The donations that came into this event were COUNTLESS. The raffle was chock full of awesome prizes, and an auction was held on Saturday night. All the raffle prizes and auction items had been donated to the event in order to help raise funds. Remember when I said that this was the most generous and humble group of people I’ve ever met? Imagine paying $400 for a pound cake. The auction racked up cash donations quickly, and a beautifully hand made American flag quilt was sold for $1,300. Nobody in the crowd was shy to bid, bringing up the donation amounts higher and higher with each raised hand. It was amazing even just to watch the sheer generosity of these off-road enthusiasts. How many people get to participate in a hobby they love while also raising money for a good cause.
I have never been to an event where they’ve had an auction before, but the idea is genius. Raffles are great, but the auction showcased the pure goodness of the people in attendance, and motivated others to donate as well.
All money raised, regardless of origin, are donated to the selected charity. Regardless of the charity selected, the primary intent of the weekend is to honor all those who have served and raise money to help the recovery of those injured because of it. This Memorial Day, the Wheelin 4 Warriors Rock Ride raised over $30,000 for the Fisher House.
Hopefully, this event will continue to grow as well as the donations, so the off roading community can continue to make impacts on the lives of those in need.