One of the best parts about being a part of Bronco Nation is the opportunities we have had to connect with the existing Bronco clubs and communities and discovering the ways they celebrate this vehicle. The Bronco community, although perhaps small compared to Jeep or other off-road vehicle communities, is a vibrant, welcoming community that has much to be proud of. From keeping classic Broncos fit for the outdoor adventures they were built for, to preserving iconic and historic Broncos, respecting the trails and nature that Bronco was made to help us enjoy, and welcoming new adventurers and the next generation of Bronco enthusiasts, The Bronco community continues to actively define what this brand has always stood for.
We had the fantastic opportunity this week to meet up with Lonestar Early Bronco Club (LEBC) in Leadville, CO for their 3rd annual Mountain Ride. Once a year, the members of LEBC and friends and fellow enthusiasts from all over the country get together to take on the tough terrain of the Rocky Mountains and prove what these classic vehicles are still capable of.
We rode along with them as they journeyed through Halfmoon Gulch, Birdseye Gulch, and Mosquito Pass. The scenery of each trail was spectacular, and the stretches of trail presented their own unique terrain (stay tuned for more detail on each adventure).
Some stretches were rocky and put each Bronco’s axle articulation to the test as they rolled over the bumpy earth. At one point, the rocks damaged the axle of one of the drivers, but the other members quickly rallied to pitch a hand (or a winch) and get the Bronco rolling again. Even at 12,000+ ft., the terrain could only slow this Bronco crew down but could not stop them.
Other trail moments such as fording mountain streams or cruising above the tree and even cloud line, sometimes in wet, slippery weather, were a reminder of what the Bronco is built for and just how capable it has always been. Reaching the incredible heights of 13,000+ ft. and taking in the spectacular scenery provided opportunities to make long-lasting memories together. At one particularly scenic point in the trail (on a ridge just across from Champion Mill), Bronco Nation had the opportunity to bear witness to a wedding as two of the club members decided there was no better spot to tie the knot.
Back at basecamp, the comradery continued. While this year may have looked a little different due to social distancing practices, the warmth and bond of this community remained unchanged. There were stories to be traded of past adventures, descriptions of Broncos owned in the past and ones hoped to be owned in the future, and tips and instructions to be shared to make sure everyone enjoyed the time safely, with responsibility for the trail’s flora and fauna. Many families were present with their children to give them the opportunity to learn from a passionate community how to enjoy the outdoors and prepare for when they are old enough to cruise the trails themselves.
As spectacular as the views were, and as thrilling as each stretch of trail was, by far the best part of the whole experience was getting to know the members of LEBC. As the members love to point out, theses Bronco are built, not bought, and each owner had many stories to share about their builds and adventures they are built for. And while each member takes pride in their build, many were excited to discuss the new Bronco they will buy and the possibilities for new adventure and community members.
The Bronco may have been out of production for nearly 25 years, but its fans and owners have never stopped building. Whether they were building Broncos, communities, or adventures, they have worked hard to keep the spirit of this brand alive. LEBC is one of these communities, with quite a few more around the country, and even the world. Now the Bronco is returning and for those whose 2021 Bronco will be the first Bronco they have ever owned; they will discover owning a Bronco is much more than just owning a vehicle. It is being a part of a community built around this vehicle’s legacy and the opportunity to ride out into the wild together.
Are you looking for or planning an upcoming excursion that you want to let others know about? Are you a part of a club and want to invite others to join the events? Check out Bronco Nation’s Roundup feature and the Events section of the forum to connect with other community members to take on the wild!