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Mile-Hi Jeep Club of Colorado
Uniting adventure loving people in worthwhile 4-wheel drive activities while preserving and protecting the land for all generations to enjoy.
EST. 1956
HomeAll-4-Fun History: The First 19 Years

All-4-Fun History: The First 19 Years (1985)

By Jerry Cronk
Patrol 7
Mile-Hi Jeep Club


Mile-Hi Jeep Club was formed by Jeep owners who were notified both by word of mouth and by a letter sent out by Kurland motors, a Denver Jeep dealer, of an informational meeting to be held in August, 1956. The meeting was scheduled, and between 500-700 Jeep owners appeared and filled the shop and showroom areas until there was standing room only. It was decided to form the first four-wheel drive club in the State of Colorado, and Mile-Hi Jeep Club was officially born.


By the time the first newspaper for the new club was published, compliments of Kurland motors, the club had over 500 members in 10 Patrols. The "Jeep Club News", published in December, 1956, told of the first official club trip to Boulder Canyon and Jasper Lake. On July 2, 1957, Mile-Hi Jeep Club of Colorado, Inc., was officially chartered by the State of Colorado and an emblem depicting a Jeep climbing Mt. Evans with Mt. Elbert in the background and incorporating the colors red, white, and blue was registered as the official emblem of Mile-Hi Jeep Club. Mile-Hi Jeep Club is currently the largest and the oldest four-wheel drive club in the State of Colorado, and quite possibly, one of the oldest in the United States.


Mile-Hi Jeep Club

Following the formation of Mile-Hi Jeep Club in 1956, the idea of an organized gathering of Jeeps for competitive fun began to take shape in the minds of several members of the club. An organizational meeting was held sometime in 1960 to lay the plans for the first "National Jeep-O-Rama" to be held during the summer of 1961. "Jeep-O-Rama" was not officially associated with Mile-Hi Jeep Club but most of the planners and organizers were active in the club. The first "Jeep-O-Rama" was held in 1961 and by 1966 had become a very popular event among Mile-Hi Jeep Club members as well as an increasing number of out of state four wheel drive owners. In 1966, Dan Bass or Jim Schanefelt (depending on your source) suggested that it might be a nice idea to schedule outings for the out-of-state participants prior to the start of the seventh "Jeep-O-Rama" which had evolved into a full-blown off road race and hill climb competition that attracted four-wheel enthusiasts to the Denver area from all over the United States and Canada.


First

In February, 1967 a formal proposal "to give out-of-state Jeepers here during 'Jeep-O-Rama' a chance to see some of our mountain country" was presented to the Jeep club's board of directors by Jim Schanefelt and the idea of an "All-4-Fun" for interested out-of-state four wheelers was officially declared. Numerous meetings were scheduled and plans were laid to hold the first "All-4-Fun" in Golden at the campground. Due to a limit of fifty vehicles, some consideration was given to using the new state recreation center in golden gate canyon. Since there were only twelve registrants, the campground at Golden became the site of the first official "All-4-Fun" week in 1967.


The original organizers of the "All-4-Fun" week planned that it be held near the Denver area because they felt that once settled, participants would object if they were required to change their camping site in mid-week. The committee scheduled tours of the local brewery, shopping trips for the ladies to the local shops, an old fashioned country dance, a genuine western barbecue, and four trips in the front range area. The four trips were centered around the themes of Continental Divide hopping (a trip over Red Cone and Webster Pass), mine country (a trip through the Yankee Hill area), railroad chasing (specifically the Switzerland Trail), and finally a trip over Rollins Pass. The response to "All-4-Fun" and associated trips was so positive from the twelve families from Arizona, Calgary, Canada, California, and Minnesota that plans were made to schedule a second "All-4-Fun" in 1968.


In 1968 the second annual "All-4-Fun" was advertised conjunction with the eighth annual "Jeep-O-Rama" but a dispute with the landowner, an accident the year before, and some serious questions concerning insurance and liabilities forced the cancellation and the end of "Jeep-O-Rama" and for the first time "All-4-Fun" was scheduled for an entire week. Gone with "Jeep-O-Rama" was the only reason to hold the event close to the Denver area. The second annual "All-4-Fun" was held in the Bergen Park area on land complete with water, electricity, and sanolets. Numerous trips to long abandoned towns, mines, and beautiful scenery along the front range were planned as well as an events day that was held near Georgetown. The event day featured family fun events such as blindfold navigation and obstacle courses. The event day was geared toward the entire family and did not involve the level competition prevalent in the earlier "Jeep-O-Rama" event. On Thursday of "All-4-Fun" week the ladies of Mile-Hi Jeep Club again invited the out-of-state ladies to join them in a "shopping spree" in the Denver area while the fellows went four-wheeling. A total of 32 out-of-state vehicles were registered and attended the second "All-4-Fun".


The third "All-4-Fun" week was scheduled for the Telluride area in July, 1969 in conjunction with the Telluride Jeep club because they were well acquainted with the area. The decision was made to leave the Denver area because there was no longer a need to hold it there. In 1969 there was a minor attempt, though, to schedule a road race to be held north of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal on Saturday and Sunday following "All-4-Fun" – from all accounts the attempt to resurrect the intent of "Jeep-O-Rama" failed.


"All-4-Fun" activities and trips were planned to utilize the assets of the telluride area such as the famous San Juan Mountains and their variety of mountain passes like Imogene and Black Bear. Trips to Bridal Veil and Ingram Falls as well as the Power Station were among the week's planned events. Non four wheeling activities such as the barbecue, the event day for the family, and time for shopping were incorporated into the week's schedule of events. Over 50 vehicles representing ten states were registered and participated in the first legitimate "All-4-Fun" week.


The fourth "All-4-Fun" was held in July, 1970 near the Crested butte area along cement creek and had twenty vehicles registered for the week's slate of activities. Each "All-4-Fun" was faced with new and different problems and as each problem was solved, new things were learned.


In July, 1971 "All-4-Fun" was held in Lake City and over 100 vehicles were registered and participated in the week of activities that included trips over Engineer, Stony, and Cinnamon Passes. The ghost towns of Animas Forks, Carson, Howardsville, and others were on the list of trips. The 1971 "All-4-Fun" was the first one planned entirely by one of the Jeep Patrols making up Mile-Hi Jeep Club. All previous events had been planned by one or more interested individuals. As the event grew, however, so did the complexity of site selection, trip planning, logistics, and the numerous loose ends that were too much for a single person to handle.


The sixth "All-4-Fun" was held at Thornton's guest ranch near Ohio City in July, 1972 and was planned and hosted by Patrol 14. Trips in the area included visits to the ruins of the famed Alpine Tunnel, St. Elmo, Tincup, and others. Over 100 vehicles representing 23 states and Canada were in attendance.


Fifth
Movie

In July, 1973 Patrol 6 made up of Mile-Hi members from the Longmont area planned and hosted the seventh "All-4-Fun" in the Leadville area. Approximately 200 vehicles participated in the week's activities that included trips over Mosquito Pass and one of the roughest trips in the state: Holy Cross City.


By July, 1974 "All-4-Fun" had achieved national recognition and Jeep Corporation planned to attend the eighth "All-4-Fun" and make a movie to be distributed nationwide on the positive aspects of four-wheeling as a family activity. Part of the movie was filmed at the Ponderosa Guest Ranch near Salida. The week's activities were planned by Jack and Jackie Stevens and Patrol 8. Featured in later segments of the film were members of Patrols 1,7,13, and 14. The film was made available nationwide, free of charge, through Jeep Corporation and Modern Talking Pictures. Over 200 vehicles representing in excess of 30 states and Canada were in attendance.


"All-4-Fun" continued to grow and attract more visitors to the magnificent mountains that many natives of Colorado take for granted. The ninth through the seventeenth "All-4-Fun" weeks were held in the following respective areas: 1976 was in Creede; 1977 was in Fairplay; 1978 was in Eagle; 1979 was in Montrose; 1980 was held at Camp Hale the home of the famous 10th Mountain Division; 1981 was held near the old townsite of Montezuma at the base of Loveland Pass; 1982 was held at Pitkin which was near the Ohio City site of the 1972 "All-4-Fun"; 1983 saw a return to the Fairplay area to again try the infamous Wheeler Lake, to follow the Old Stage Road over Mosquito Pass to Leadville, or to take in the panorama from the tops of Mt. Bross and Mt. Lincoln, two of the state's fourteeners.


In 1984, Mile-Hi was selected to host the United 4 Wheel Drive Association convention in conjunction with the eighteenth "All-4-Fun" in the beautiful San Juans near the town of Ouray. Over 300 vehicles were in attendance with participants from nearly every state and some coming from as far away as Great Britain, France, and New Zealand. Ten to fifteen trips were scheduled each day to provide ample opportunity for the visitors to see the mountains of Colorado. Engineer, Cinnamon, Stony, Ophir, and Imogene Passes were on the schedule as were trips up into Yankee Boy Basin, Imogene Basin, Telluride, Animas Forks, Lake City, and many others. The most famous or perhaps infamous Black Bear was still snowed shut and was not open for all to enjoy.


This coming nineteenth "All-4-Fun" in July, 1985 is scheduled to be held in the town of El Jebel which is south of Glenwood Springs. Numerous trips to the old marble quarry above Marble, the town of Crystal with its picturesque mill, Lead King Basin, Pearl Pass, and many others are being planned.


~The author wishes to thank all of the "oldtimers" from Mile-Hi Jeep Club who helped separate fact from fiction in the compilation of the history of "All-4-Fun".


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