Mar 2024

Last year Bestop hosted the Run the Rubicon Giveaway – a chance to win an all-expenses-paid adventure to wheel on California’s celebrated Rubicon Trail with the famous (and infamous) Fred Williams at the 2024 Jeep Jamboree USA Rubicon Trail Run. All you had to do was purchase a qualifying Bestop product and you were automatically entered to win. We’re thrilled to announce the winner of the Run the Rubicon sweepstakes is Pennsylvania’s Chris Quade!

Chris Quade and his TJ Wrangler.

What is the Rubicon Trail?

For the uninitiated, the Rubicon Trail (sometimes known as the Rubicon Springs Trail) is perhaps the most notorious and renowned off-road track in North America. Situated East and North of Sacramento, California, it runs for 22 tortured miles through the high Sierra Nevada from near the small town of Georgetown to the shores of Lake Tahoe. Cresting at over 7,000 feet in elevation, the Rubicon is characterized by Jeep-swallowing mud holes, extremely narrow passageways through walls of unforgiving granite, and puckering cross-axle boulder hopping. So venerable is the trail, that Jeep gives the Rubicon moniker to its most trail-capable Wranglers.

California’s Rubicon Trail

What does it take to run the Rubicon Trail? Front and rear lockers, 37-inch tires, and comprehensive underbody protection are a must, but more importantly, a calm head, good communication with your trusted trail mates, and confidence in your skills behind the wheel will get you through. Short-wheel base 4x4s do best on this famed track, but wheelers of all stripes try their luck on the Rubicon, from side-by-sides to motorbikes, and even on foot.

Every year Jeep Jamboree USA hosts its Rubicon Trail Run for a select number of participants, and Bestop is a proud sponsor of this bucket-list event. This year, one of the most recognizable names and faces in the 4×4 community, Fred Williams, will be joining the Bestop team and Chris for the trail run of a lifetime.

A Jeep Guy’s Jeep Guy

I had the pleasure to chat with Chris Quade recently to find out more about how he got into four-wheel drives and exploring off-road, as well as what the Rubicon Trail means to him. From central Pennsylvania, Chris is a genial guy with an undeniable passion for Jeeps. Like many of us, his Jeep projects start out modestly, but spiral into more and more modifications as we search added capability and durability. His unique WJ model Grand Cherokee now sports a winch-equipped ARB front bumper, and a long-arm suspension upgrade to complement its 3-inch lift. Chris says it gets all kinds of attention, since the WJ is not a common platform for big mods like those, but he loves the comfort of the larger truck as well as the V8 power.

Chris Quade’s WJ Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Also like many Jeep enthusiasts, Chris can’t have just one – he also runs two TJ Wranglers in addition to his Grand Cherokee. One, a 2003 model, is currently a project car, the other is a 2001 model and sports some thoughtful upgrades, including a Bestop OEM factory-replacement top. Chris does most of his wheeling at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA), a trail network near Allentown, Pennsylvania. At AOAA, he works with other off-roaders and team members to offer 4WD education, maintain the current trail network, and build new trails on the property. Chris grew up exploring the backwoods and river valleys of Pennsylvania on quads and motorbikes, so the evolution to Jeeps was a natural one. Tread Lightly! principles (an organization that AOAA is closely connected with) play a central role in how Chris travels in the backcountry, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge with other off-road enthusiasts, both rookies and veterans

The Rubicon is naturally one of the true brass ring trail destinations for Chris. He says it really symbolizes the best of the Jeeping world – tackling off-road challenges that push your abilities, all with the support of the Jeep community. He’s not sure yet if he’ll bring one of his Jeeps to California, or borrow a rig from Bestop, but either way he can’t wait for July. We can’t wait to see him there.

Chris Quade’s Best Bets from Bestop

It’s no surprise that Chris is also a long-time Bestop customer. He has several different tops for his TJs, including the OEM-style replacement top with our rugged sailcloth material and tinted windows. He also rocks a couple of bikini tops, in the safari and targa styles for warm weather adventures. Chris says the Bestop all-weather cover is, “a great addition also for quick cover ups when I don’t feel like throwing the doors and top back on.” He’s looking at purchasing a set of our soft doors and windows for even more summer enjoyment. Chris also points out that, “It all comes down to quality. Bestop designs and produces a great product, so you get lifelong customers. [There are] plenty of other cheaper options but personally, but when something wears out [Bestop] builds it better than when it was when new.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Join Chris and Fred Williams at the Jeep Jamboree USA Rubicon Trail Run July 11-14, 2024 in Georgetown, California. Keep your eyes peeled also for more great giveaways and promotions from Bestop.

Images: Chris Quade, Fred Williams, Bestop, Jeep Jamboree USA, Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area