The Ultimate Adventure takes time, planning, and, without question, dollars. We’re not exactly rolling in the dough here in magazineland so to help fund our incredible wheeling trip we look to sponsors. Our sponsors are more than just wallets, but rather companies immersed deeply in the wheeling sport. Historically, many of our gracious sponsors have used the UA as a testbed for new products like tires, portable welders, and full production suspension systems. We are grateful for all the help and aid they bring to the trip, and ultimately we all benefit from their participation.
Presenting Sponsor & Official Truck: Ford
By now you’ve read about and watched as our Ultimate F-150 led the pack on this year’s Adventure. Though many people and companies stepped in to make the forward-thinking UA F-150 a reality, it was Ford Motor Company who stepped up to the plate as this year’s title sponsor. Part of being the title sponsor meant handing over the keys to one of the new ’11 Ford F-150 EcoBoost V-6 pickups. Though we doubt you’ll see any UA edition F-150s rolling off of the showroom floors (how cool would that be), we do know that our torture testing and Raptoresque rendition of the ’11 F-150 did not go unnoticed by the boys in blue (Blue Oval, that is.) Thanks again to Ford for continuing to show support for our sport. By the way, is our truck still covered under warranty?
Ford Motor Co.
Official Suspension: Zone Offroad Products
Creating affordable, good-quality products is what the Zone Offroad Products brand is all about, and now that Zone survived the weeklong thrashfest that is the Ultimate Adventure, we think the company can add “durable” to that list. As a growing suspension company, Zone is constantly working on new suspension ideas and vehicle platforms. Using its heavily modified ’90 Zone Green Comanche as a testbed for some of its soon-to-be-released products, it’s obvious that the company is serious about off-roading.
Zone Offroad Products
Official Tire: Nitto Tire
If we had to pick one part on each rig that sees the most abuse over the course of the Ultimate Adventure it would likely be the tires. Coming on as this year’s official tire sponsor, Nitto Tire was ready to let its Grappler cleats speak for themselves. The UA F-150 ran 40-inch Mud Grapplers, and so did a few other UA rigs. The tire continued to impress and proved to be extremely versatile. Beyond its versatility, the Nitto’s heavy-duty sidewalls held up great. Every Nitto-equipped rig managed to complete the trip without a sidewall gash or tire failure, no small feat.
Official Transfer Case: Offroad Design
Offroad Design has championed the fullsize GM wheeler for decades. No stranger to the Ultimate Adventure, Offroad Design continues to push the boundaries of the fullsize platform. Known for its NP203/205 Doubler and a full line of classic and late-model GM parts, the company really does make big look good. Big thanks go out to the Offroad Design crew for keeping the fullsize torch burning and always being there to lend a hand.
Official Winch: Warn
When it comes to winches no other name comes to mind faster than Warn. For years Warn has shown its support for our premier event, and 2011 was no different. With a wide range of winches, accessories, and topnotch recovery gear, Warn continues to sustain its legendary quality along with an ever-growing product line. Using a 9.5CTI strapped to the front of this year’s UA F-150, we pushed, spooled, and dragged our way over some of the most difficult trails the Midwest had to offer. Special thanks to Warn for helping to recover vehicles in need and keeping the trip moving along smoothly.
Official Host 4x4 Shop: Sam’s Off-Road
When you’ve run an off-road business for 28 years, four-wheeling is more than a hobby. It’s a way of life. Sam’s Off-Road in Tulsa, owned by Sam Patton, builds everything from mall crawlers to turnkey competition machines. Sam’s Off-Road even has its own line of heavy-duty traction bars to keep high-horse, leaf-sprung wheelers suspensions in check. A special thanks to Sam and his co-driver, Mark Abbot, for all their UA support.
Official Recovery Rope: Bubba Rope
When mud was on the docket for the day, everyone knew to have Bubba Rope handy. Using kinetic energy, the braided nylon core and nylon jacket of the Bubba Rope was a safe, quick, and effective way to pull rigs out of the muck. And with each rope receiving a special polymeric base coating, the week of dirt, water, and abuse didn’t faze the next-generation mudder’s rope. We were glad to have the Bubba Rope Floridians back onboard for the second year in a row and have no doubt that the product is a perfect fit for adventures big and small.
Official Fabricator: Randy Ellis Design
Building the official Ultimate Adventure rig is no easy task. When you combine crazy deadlines, never-before-seen ideas, and a truck that’s been in production less than a year, you’re putting a lot on your plate. Fortunately this year’s official fabricator, Randy Ellis Design, was no newbie to the off-road world. With decades of fabrication and four-wheeling knowledge, the RED crew was more than up to the challenge. Turning out the F-150 in record time, Randy Ellis went on to complete the UA in the same merit as the truck, smooth and virtually trouble-free.
Randy Ellis Design
Sometimes help comes from where you least expect it. On the way out to the start of the Ultimate Adventure, the Bubba Rope–sponsored Nissan Xterra chewed through a rear ring-and-pinion. Since there wasn’t enough time to ship out a new gearset, Bubba Rope’s Ricardo Olavarrieta got on the phone and began to quickly assemble Plan B. Luckily his sister was willing to make the drive all the way from Miami to hand-deliver the correct parts in Nevada, Missouri.
With parts in hand, the Bubba Rope team had every intention of tearing down the rear axle in the scorching hotel parking lot. Luckily, Beth Burlingame from Country Inn & Suites made some calls and got the guys some working space at her father’s shop. With her parents’ anniversary coming up, the guys at Bubba Rope sent her a little present to say thank you for her help and thoughtfulness. The world’s best wheeling community just got a little bigger.