GILMER — Hundreds of off-road enthusiasts from near and far are gathering this weekend at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area in Gilmer with one thing in common: their love for Toyota vehicles, new and old.
Barnwell Mountain is hosting the 15th annual Lone Star Toyota Jamboree, which benefits the park and the nonprofit Women Rock. The vision of Women Rock is to spread breast cancer awareness and education, according to the organization’s website.
“We had a record number of pre-registered participants and will probably have over 500 vehicles for the weekend and between 800 to 900 people in attendance,” said jamboree board member Chris Gray. “This is an off-road park, and we wanted people to have a safe and legal place for people to off road.”
Trails are marked, and the event offers guided rides, a rock crawling event, vendors and educational opportunities.
“A lot of people own Toyota 4x4s and don’t know how to use them,” Gray said. “This is a way for them to learn about their vehicles and learn how to off road while meeting other people with similar vehicles and passions.”
Virgil Cole of Tatum drove his black and lime green 2016 Tacoma in the Blind’s Man Bluff event Friday afternoon. The event requires drivers to be blindfolded while navigating a marked course being verbally guided by a co-pilot.
“I love this — this is my fourth year coming to the Lone Star Jamboree,” Cole said. “I just did the Blind’s Man Bluff, and it is ridiculous. It’s crazy being behind the wheel and having just a man in the passenger seat telling you where to go, and it’s just black as night. It is just a crazy thing, a crazy feeling. My nerves are still wound up.”
The Jamboree continues through Sunday at Barnwell Mountain. For information, visit www.lonestartoyotajamboree.com .