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JeepFest drives traffic to Jasper businesses


More than $50,000 raised at weekend event


            If you were in town last weekend, it would have been difficult not to notice the droves of mud splattered Jeeps buzzing around.

            That’s because the Sheriff’s JeepFest 2012 Crawl for the Kids “went above and beyond our expectations,” said organizer Greg Baker. Baker said while the sheriff’s office was shooting for around 250 Jeeps, more than 400 of the off-road vehicles registered for the event. Over the three-day period $50,000 was raised for the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes and the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, around $20,000 more than their goal.

            “As far as some of the feedback, we’ve been hearing that this was the best organized Jeep event people have been to,” Baker said. “People who participated said they loved the variety of things going on and we’ve got all our sponsors coming back next year, and some of those national sponsors will be back with a bigger presence.”

            Baker said at the peak, there were approximately 2,000 spectators at the “homebase” field behind Ingles, but with all the activity Baker reported no injuries or arrests, and only minor issues with the event itself.

            “Next year we will have more spotters at the obstacle course,” he said, “and down at the trail rides some of the riders wished we had water and hot dogs because many of them just stayed out there all day. But overall everything went very smoothly.”

            Businesses in town also saw increased foot traffic over the weekend. Many of the restaurants were jammed packed and “even Walmart sold out of those folding chairs,” Baker said.

            Quiznos owner John Walters, who had a booth at homebase, said he saw a 40 percent increase in in-store sales over this weekend last year.

            “Saturday was very busy,” he said. “And it was the first time we had a booth at any event. Lunch sales went very well at the booth, and now I wished we would have stayed through Saturday night because we heard it was packed. But, yeah, gas stations were packed and selling out of things, and all the restaurants did very well.”

            JeepFest 2012 was the single largest fundraising event in the history of Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes, a statewide organization that provides housing for at-risk youths.

            Video and photos of the event will be posted on the JeepFest website at

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