New AOAA director has busy first week with Jeep Jamboree
BURNSIDE - Hosting an event for 300 Jeep enthusiasts traveling from across the United States might sound like a tall order for your first's week of work.
But is Dave Porzi, the first operations director at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, worried?
"Absolutely not," he said Wednesday.
He then added with a laugh, "I'm just trying to get the day-to-day stuff down."
Porzi officially went to work for the AOAA Wednesday and will spend his first weekend at the park ensuring the Coal Mountain Jeep Jamboree runs smoothly, while also keeping the regular, pass-holding riders happy.
The event, which is run by Jeep Jamboree USA, will bring together 151 Jeeps from at least 15 states.
Steve Risk, a volunteer organizer, said he saw a drastic increase in interest for this year's event. Last year approximately 240 people brought a total of 103 Jeeps to the AOAA to trail ride.
He said on average 2 1/2 people come with every Jeep, and he thinks the total could top 300 this year with participants from as far as Arkansas and Alabama.
Registration at AOAA
Although the AOAA just opened in May, Coal Mountain Jeep Jamboree is in its third year at the park. Bringing the group event to the park prior to its official opening helped spread the word of the riding available in the region and brought in a small amount of revenue, AOAA officials have said.
The AOAA will receive $30 per registered Jeep this year, for an expected total of $4,530.
Last year the AOAA earned $2,370 from the event.
Previous Jamborees have featured trail rides on both the east and west ends of the park. Risk said the Jamboree will still include rides in the west as part of the program, despite it not being opened yet to the general public.
Last year, registration for the Jamboree was held at Claude Kehler Community Park in Shamokin, in part because of space but also to bring the Jeeps to the downtown. With the opening of the trailhead along Route 125 south of Shamokin, Risk said registration will take place on AOAA property this year.
He noted several local businesses will still host events, including breakfast and dinners at Masser's Restaurant, Paxinos, and an opening night celebration at the Wayside Inn, Weigh Scales.
Pepe's Famous Italian Ice, Mount Carmel, will supply on-site treats from its ice cream truck.
Risk said some attendees arrived in town as early as Wednesday to take advantage of other area attractions, but most would arrive beginning at about 2 p.m. today in advance of the 5 p.m. registration.
Trail-riding will take place all day Friday and Saturday, and a concluding event will be held Sunday.
Porzi said he will be eyeing up the Jamboree this weekend from his new office.
"I have a Jeep - well it's my wife's Jeep, but she won't let us four wheel with it," he said, looking a bit disheartened.
Porzi will have his hands full helping the regular passholders. He said the office staff has reported a sharp increase in phone calls from people interested in visiting the AOAA since Sunday, when the park was featured on "Fisher's ATV World" on Discovery's Destination America channel.
"I think we're going to be very busy," said Porzi.