“over 300 competitors for fun filled racing”
The IOK Four Wheelers Jeep Club was formed in 1964 by a group of 5 Jeep enthusiasts. They would meet at Western Hills Jeep Dealership. They adopted their club by-laws from the Smokey Mountain Jeep Club. Eventually, they found the grounds that now hold the event Gravelrama – it was a 69-acre dump / gravel pit in Cleves, Ohio that was owned by Penn Central Railroad. They leased the property for several years and had a great desire to buy the property. They were told the railroad never sells anything but they wrote them a letter requesting the first right of refusal in the case they would ever consider selling. Low and behold, the railroad was suffering and battling bankruptcy. Someone from the railroad called Sugar Fields and offered two weeks for them to come up with the money to buy the grounds. The members were ecstatic. Jerry Schwarz signed the bank note for the property and Charlie Nelson and Terry Glacken were Co-signers. It was purchased for $125,000 in 1970. A group of members later went to a race in Lisbon, OH and decided that’s how they would work to pay off the note – they had great grounds to have a race. They went to their first East Coast 4 Wheel drive Association meeting in March of 1971, and decided they would have their first event in August. They came up with their logo, their slogan “America’s Annual 4-wheel drive Happening”, and the name of their event. They were going to call it Gravel Expo because there was already a Sandorama “but everything back then was a rama, so we went with it”. And “Gravelrama” was born. Sugar Fields went to the home of the President of the East Coast 4 Wheel Drive Association in Pennsylvania. She has audio tapes and about 30 pages of handwritten notes from planning out the first Gravelrama. The first Gravelrama had only 57 competitors but drew a crowd of around 4000.
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IOK Four Wheelers Gravelrama
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