We really enjoyed our trip last year to meet Big Brutus, so I thought we would go back this year. We were excited to attend this year's Big Iron Overland Rally. We invited some friends to join us. Here is the cast of characters.
Kristi and Brad are friends of ours from right here in Bella Vista. They are relatively new to the Jeep scene and definitely new to the overland thing. We kept talking about the rally and finally, they decided to go by a tent and join us. We are glad they did.
We were also joined by Annette & Brad. They live close by in Rogers and have a fantastic set up including a Jeep Gladiator and a very nice overland trailer. They were new to Big Brutus, but are seasoned campers. They will also be joining us for the RITO later this year as well.
We had an amazing time and really hope we can do it again real soon. The group got along great and we had hours of laughs. We have a few stories to tell from the event, so it was a success!
Jamie and I got the JK loaded up and on the road early Friday morning. As most of you know, we have a 2-door Jeep JK so packing for these excursions has to be a well-thought-out operation.
We dropped off our beloved Bella at her sleepover, grabbed a Sonic breakfast burrito, and headed toward Big Brutus. The roads were a little wet from some early morning showers, but the skies cleared the closer we got to Big Brutus.
Our goal was to arrive early enough to stake out some prime real estate for the weekend. We wanted to be close to the stage and the restrooms. Brad & Annette would be arriving around 11 and Brad & Kristi would roll in around 1pm. The pressure was on to secure a nice site.
We got a good site with a nice view of the stage and large enough for all three of our rigs. In the process we got to meet our new friends, Bob and Kim from BKXplorations. They were so gracious and went out of their way to ensure we had enough space. When everyone arrived, they also helped our friends set up their new tent. The overland community never ceases to amaze me, when it comes to folks going above and beyond to help each other out. We hope our paths cross soon. Bob and Kim were awesome and later in the evening, we got to meet their daughter who was also amazing! What a great group!
Everyone arrived safely. The camps were set up by 3PM and the weekend had officially begun. We had a few adult beverages and walked around the grounds to explore. Lots of cool rigs and we caught up with some folks we had not seen in a while. These events always bring a smile to our faces.
It was really warm walking around checking out all of the rigs and visiting the vendor area. Later that evening we made it back to camp, so we could cook dinner, have a few more beverages, listen to some music, and just enjoy everyone’s company. It was warm and humid, but when the sun went down and the breeze picked up, it was very comfortable.
Did I mention that it was hot during the day? The sun was beating down and for some strange reason, I did not think I needed sunscreen, boy was I wrong? Check out my new hat!
Kristi was going to judge the food competition on Saturday, so after a few more adult beverages, Jamie made her a sash so she would be prepared for the judging. What a fun evening. We all had a wonderful time, eating, drinking and taking in some awesome music.
These events always make Jamie and I feel so grateful that we get to spend time with good friends, while also spending time together doing what we love to do. We never take these trips for granted. Life is short and we were so glad to be camping alongside Big Brutus. We headed to bed, looking forward to seeing what tomorrow had to offer.
We awoke to a nice morning with cooler temperatures and a beautiful sunrise. We took our time drinking coffee and taking in the glorious morning. We cooked up some breakfast and made a plan for the day. Kristi had to judge her contest in the morning and after that Brad, Kristi, Jamie, and I were headed into town to catch the Arkansas Razorback baseball game. The girls would pass the time, with a little slot play. Jamie never turns down a chance to play with the one-armed bandit.
Brad and Annette would stay at camp, as they were going to have visitors for the afternoon and evening. Annette's sister and her husband were coming down from Wichita. (sorry I am horrible with names)
The good news is the Hogs won and would follow that up on Sunday with another win and an invitation to Omaha! Go Hogs!
We got back to camp on Saturday afternoon and tried to relax and avoid the extreme heat. The temps hung out in the mid-90s with 60% humidity. It was toasty outside. We walked around the vendor area again and the girls took a tour of Big Brutus.
We listened to music, chatted with our visitors and just took in the rest of the afternoon. After the auction, we walked back to camp and made some dinner.
It really started to cool down, as a front moved in. The weather reports were stating that the area could get some severe storms. The good news was the storms missed us, but it sure felt good when the breeze and cooler temps reached us. The reality set in that the Big Iron Overland Rally was almost over. We really enjoyed the event and we will be back next year. We finished the evening off, listening to music and chillin in the grass. Not a bad way to end a Saturday.
Sunday arrived and we all thought it was best to get things packed up and hit the road before it got too hot! We all broke down camp and said our goodbyes. As Jamie and I drove home we discussed how cool this event a become and we were so happy that we got to share it with our new friends. If you would like to see all of the pictures from this event, visit our online gallery here. So until next year everyone, be safe and have fun exploring!
I would be remiss in not mentioning Nathan Anderson of Nathan Anderson Photography. He was walking around and the girls attacked/approached him to take their picture. He was gracious as always and took an amazing picture. Thank you, Nathan.
I also came across these beautiful pictures of the event that were taken by Justin Coleman.