Strong as an OX

Jeepin’ spoke with Allen Wiseman, the owner of OX Off-Road, about the company, its products and the thrills of off-roading.

Allen, where are you from, and how long have you been a Jeeper?

I grew up in Small Town, U.S.A, a place called Wilmington, Ohio. Although an aircraft mechanic by trade, I have done a few different things before OX. I was an aircraft mechanic, DC9 aircraft instructor, dabbled in real estate — buy, fix up and sell — a classic car dealer, and managed a machine shop, just to name a few. As you can see, nothing has kept me captive too long. I guess I jumped around a bit because I have a passion for learning new things.

As far as my hobbies go, I have always had a vehicle in the garage to fix up or restore, and for the last 15 years I have played poker semiprofessionally.

I’ve been a car guy since I was a little kid. My dad fixed up and raced cars as a hobby the whole time I was growing up. He was a bit of a workaholic and always had us kids helping. I can remember block-sanding cars for him in the fifth grade. I had some 4x4s when I was younger but never a Jeep until I owned OX. Some of the best times I can remember as a teenager were spent off-roading in the woods with my best friend’s CJ that we had put a 304 in and gave a spray can camo paint job to. Now, one of my favorite times of the year is my workcation at Easter Jeep Safari out in Moab, Utah.

What inspired you to start OX Lockers?

I didn’t personally start OX Lockers, but was lucky to get involved with it early on and was hooked on the concept from the beginning. I worked with the company that produced them, along with many other unrelated products, and I had always felt it didn’t get the attention it deserved. Around 2008, the OX product line was sold to a company, and because OX lockers was not the company’s first priority, things started going poorly.

In late 2009, the opportunity came about for me purchase the company. It was in the red and bleeding badly. From my involvement, I knew it was due to lack of attention, poor management and absentee owners. I was certain it would be a quick turnaround if I could purchase the company. It was a great product and all it needed was someone to give it the attention it deserved.

I purchased the company and started giving the product line the love it needed in 2010. Things got turned around almost immediately with the ousting of the old management. We shortly after introduced the new shifting systems, electric, air and the manual backup device. We have seen fantastic growth annually ever since.

What are your biggest sellers?

Currently our main products are the selectable locking differentials and axle shaft U-joints. We sell ring and pinions and axle shafts to complement our products; however, we do not manufacture them.

What makes your products stand out from others in the Jeepin’ community?

Our products are designed to make the customers’ vehicles more capable and durable, so our bling factor is not quite the same as a cool-looking bumper or grille. People don’t always notice our products until they see their performance on the trails. Additionally, we are made in the U.S.A., using the best materials and processes to make them as tough as we can.

As far as what makes us stand out from others in the same category, I would have to say it would be our durability and versatility. Using the same mechanically selectable locker, it can be shifted manually with a cable and shift lever, electrically or pneumatically, by switch.
What’s the best part of your work?

The designing and building is the fun stuff. Figuring out ways to make things better — and stronger — is what I enjoy.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

First, I would like to thank our customers for their support. It means a lot to me, personally, when I hear a customer talk about how much they like our products. Second, I would like to apologize to all our hopefully soon-to-be GM corporate 14-bolt locker customers. We announced it was coming and then got involved with the Mahindra Roxor OE locker project, and unfortunately, the 14-bolt got set on the back burner due to lack of resources. We hope to get back on that soon. Additionally I will drop a teaser, we are working on a new product line that is in testing right now and we should be able to let the cat out of the bag later in 2019!

Nuts and Bolts

Allen Wiseman is the owner of OX Off-Road, a manufacturer of selectable locking differentials, axle shaft U-joints and other parts and components for Jeeps and other off-road vehicles.

February 2019 Winner

Hey Jeepers,

Please join us in congratulating Scott A. Kistner.

Scott is the February winner of the Jeepin’ United Selfie Contest, and he will receive the Metal Art of Wisconsin Carbon Fiber Freedom Cabinet with Invisible RFID Lock and Key Card.

Scott will also be automatically entered in the Grand Prize Contest for An All Expenses Paid Trip for Two to Moab.

Congratulations Scott, and Good Luck in the Moab Drawing.

The Jeepin’ Magazine Team

January 2019 Winner

Hey Jeepers,

Please join us in congratulating Flex Wheeler from the Sunset Krawlers 4×4.

Flex is the January winner of the Jeepin’ United Selfie Contest, and he will receive the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster Twin Sensor Men’s Sports Watch.

Flex will also be automatically entered in the Grand Prize Contest for An All Expenses Paid Trip for Two to Moab.

Congratulations Flex, and Good Luck in the Moab drawing.

The Jeepin’ Magazine Team

December 2018 Winner

Hey Jeepers,

Please join us in congratulating Crystal Norris from the South Carolina Jeep Addicts.

Crystal is the December winner of the Jeepin’ United Selfie Contest, and she will receive the All-new Echo Show.

Crystal will also be automatically entered in the Grand Prize Contest in the Summer of 2019 for An All Expenses Paid Trip for Two to Moab.

Congratulations Crystal, and Good Luck in the Moab drawing.

The Jeepin’ Magazine Team!

November 2018 Winner

Hey Jeepers,

Please join us in congratulating Danny Shea from the Legendary 1941 Jeep Group.

Danny is the November winner of the Jeepin’ United Selfie Contest, and he will receive a 7/8″ x 30′ Bubba Rope.

Danny will also be automatically entered in the Grand Prize Contest in the Summer of 2019 for An All Expenses Paid Trip for Two to Moab.

Congratulations Danny, and Good Luck in the Moab drawing.

The Jeepin’ Magazine Team!

Brush Hero Rejects Shark Tank Deal, Spins Into SEMA

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The inventors of Brush Hero announced the water-powered cleaning tool is now available in Walmart, Costco, and Canadian Tire and will make its SEMA debut in Las Vegas in November. The tool is designed to connect with an ordinary garden hose to scrub mud and grime from tires, rims, engine bays, and more — all without scratching chrome and other sensitive surfaces.

The company’s founders, Jeep owner and extreme athlete Kevin Williams and former F-16 pilot and Ironman enthusiast Glenn Archer, appeared on NBC’s “Shark Tank” and have been featured in Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Cyclocross Magazine, Washington Business Journal and Popular Mechanics.

“Brush Hero is a perfect tool for off-roaders, because it’s lightweight, it’s durable, and it blasts away mud and grime without displacing grease or scratching chrome,” Williams said. “We want every Jeeper to have one.”

Floor It: CFOR Is Off and Running

Central Florida Off Road was founded by four friends who share three common interests: family fun, community service and off-road adventure.

Founded in early 2017 at their “clubhouse,” North 30th Sports Pub & Grille in Tampa, CFOR’s four charter members now comprise the group’s board: John Crabb, Robert Dumaine, Jason Sparkman and Dana Tibbets. Two secretaries, Melissa Carter and Shelley Sparkman, help organize events, coordinate with other clubs, and welcome new members, among many other tasks. The club currently counts 35 bannered members (and growing) in and around Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Hernando Counties.

CFOR welcomes riders of every experience level and requires participation in events and group trail rides to earn a banner. Activities include flag and wreath placement on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, volunteering and participating in such events as Jeepin’ With Judd, Krawl’n for the Fallen, Jeepin’ 4 Justice and Jeeps vs. Harleys. Members joined last year’s Hurricane Harvey relief effort and recently registered a two-mile section of Highway 301 as part of Florida’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

Jeepin’ Central Florida caught up with John Crabb to learn more about the genesis of CFOR and the group’s activities and goals.

John, how long have you been off-roading?

Since the early days with my high school buddies. I grew up in Seffner, a little suburb between Tampa and Plant City, and we started off-roading at Lakeland Mudhole in 1995. Back then, it was mostly mud trucks, just any kind of four-wheeler. I only recently got into Jeeps, about three or four years ago.

What got you into Jeeps?

I just started seeing more and more around and I thought maybe that was the way to go. And I haven’t looked back since. Buying that Jeep was the best decision I ever made.

What are you working with?

It’s a 2006 Wrangler TJ. It had been a little customized when I bought it, but it looked nothing like it does today.

It’s amazing how quickly a new hobby can become a lifestyle.

It definitely is a lifestyle. When they say “Jeep life,” that’s what it is.

How long has Central Florida Off Road been around?

Only about a year and a half. We were originally in a different club, Trail Monkeys, and I was actually the vice president. But we decided to take a different path and do our own thing. They were a great group, very family-oriented, but we wanted to do more trail-riding and off-roading. That’s why I bought a Jeep. But there are no hard feelings.

CFOR started with four members — myself, Robert Dumaine, Jason Sparkman and Dana Tibbets — then grew to five or six, and now we’re up to 35 or 40. All four of the main members have the same role. We don’t have titles. We vote if there’s something we need to vote on.

Sounds like you are growing fast.

We are constantly growing. I think people see us having a great time and doing good things for the community. We have fun and we enjoy being around each other, and that speaks for itself. We are very family-friendly and family-oriented. Kids are always welcome. Jeeping is a great way to bond with your kids. It’s like one big family.

Do you have kids yourself?

I have an 18-year-old son and a 15-year-old son. My oldest joins up with us when he can, but his Jeep’s motor blew. My youngest still rides with me.

A lot of parents would give anything to share an activity like that with their kids.

That’s true. And Jeeps have that “Wow” factor. It’s always something different. The trails are never the same. And it’s not just the Jeepin’ thing. My youngest enjoys going up to the national cemetery to raise the flags and lay the wreaths. He’s into Fortnite and Minecraft, like a lot of kids. But I tell him you have to make time for other activities, especially outdoor activities. It’s part of our family now. I always tell them, if something happens to me, keep the Jeep.

You mentioned community service. What charities do you support?

We don’t have a specific charity picked out for our club yet. We always try to give back and help the community, and that means being involved in as many charities as we can. I think that says something about your group and the character of your group. And we try to get with other Jeep clubs, and that’s the biggest thing: the Jeep community coming together to support a great cause.

What charitable effort have you been most proud of?

Probably being part of the events like Krawl’n for the Fallen and Jeepin 4 Justice, that help the families of fallen police. They do great things in this community.

Where do you ride?

All over. Hard Rock at Ocala is a popular spot. The Jeep Ranch in Sumterville tries to do one event a month. They just had one for prom. Everyone went and bought a bunch of old prom dresses and tuxedo T-shirts. It was pretty cool.

How does a prospective member join your club?

We don’t have any procedure set in stone. We just want everyone to ride along and hang out, just get to know everybody. We want to make sure the club is a good fit for you and you’re a good fit for us. Not everybody has the same interests or goals.

But I get the sense CFOR is a good choice for those who want to do a lot of wheeling.

That’s exactly what we try to do. It’s in our name: “Off Road.” We will spend as much time as we can off-road, not in the parking lots. We have one meet-and-greet a month — or we try to, and if we don’t, it’s not a big deal. Most people get to see us out on the trails. That’s a good way to get members. If you’re on your own, you can ride with us.

CFOR Spotlight

JCF mixes it up with Robert Dumaine and Jason Sparkman, two of the four charter members of Central Florida Off Road.

Tell us about your rig. 

Dumaine: I own a 2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ.

Sparkman: My Jeep is a 1997 Cherokee with a 6.5-inch lift, 33×12.50×15 tires, front lockers, custom-built bumpers and a Smittybilt 9500 winch.

What’s the best part of the Jeep lifestyle? 

Dumaine: The friendly and familiar environment — meeting new people, wheeling with them, and always learning.

Sparkman: The friends that become family.

Why should Central Florida Jeepers join CFOR? 

Dumaine: Because we are a family-friendly group that loves to wheel, have fun, get to know new people, and give back to the community.

Sparkman: You can’t find a better group of people to be around. CFOR is a new type of club. We don’t judge you by your vehicle or the banner across your windshield. If you want to hang out and wheel your rig, come on out and have some fun!


The Rematch: Jeeps Vs. Harleys is Ready to Roll

On Saturday, Oct. 6, at 7 a.m., Jeep and Harley-Davidson enthusiasts from Central Florida and beyond will begin to convene at East Lake Center on Bay Center Drive in Tampa, Fla., the starting point for the second annual Jeeps vs. Harleys charity convoy. The proceeds will benefit a number of local causes, including Ferrell Cares and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).

The assembled vehicles will line up at 9 a.m. and roll out at 9:30 sharp, beginning a 30-mile, police-escorted journey to the Sun ’n’ Fun Expo campus at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, where they will join a massive event that will include food and refreshments, live music and vendors selling Jeep and Harley parts, accessories, equipment and merchandise, and at least two big raffle prizes: a highly modified, customized and off-road-ready 2005 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and a 2003 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.

It costs $15 per vehicle to participate in the convoy, and participation could easily double from 2017. Last year’s convoy included a total of more than 500 Jeeps and motorcycles, with Jeeps narrowly outnumbering Harleys. Organizer Al Feliz said Central Florida Jeepers will have to step up to maintain bragging rights.

“The word got out to the Harley community last year that the Jeeps took home the trophy, so word has it the Harleys are organizing and coming back strong,” says Feliz, who serves as vice president of Blackwater Jeepers, which has joined with Off-Road Alliance, Trail Monkeys 4×4 and Tri-County Jeepers to support the event.

The Stage Is Set

The inaugural Jeeps vs. Harleys was staged after only three months of planning. It was nevertheless a runaway success, attracting more than 1,000 participants and spectators, raising $16,000 in charitable donations, and setting the stage for 2018.

Although the convoy and the party went off without a hitch, JCF Publisher David Gesualdo identified a missing component: a “big” raffle prize; specifically, an off-road-ready Wrangler. He approached the groups with a proposition: The magazine would buy a used Jeep if the groups would build it into a trail-blasting beast.

They agreed, with Tri-County installing the suspension, lift, wheels and tires, Off-Road Alliance adding fenders and skid plates, Trail Monkeys responsible for the bumpers, a tire carrier, winch and Hi-Lift, and Blackwater is installing a snorkel and relocating the battery, installing lights, and handling all the finishing touches. Ferman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of New Port Richey helped manage all four phases, sourcing parts, conducting routine maintenance and inspections, and providing leadership throughout the process. Proceeds from the Jeep raffle will be distributed to local charities in partnership with the four participating groups and Farrell Cares.

“I wanted to do something big for the charity — not just a donation,” Gesualdo says. “Thanks to the four groups and Ferman, we have a raffle prize for the ages and one that will undoubtedly sell tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of tickets.”

Don’t Forget the Bikers

With the Jeep build underway, Gesualdo says, it occurred to organizers that one vehicle might not be enough. “Some Jeepers are also Harley riders, just as some Harley riders are also Jeepers, and both groups will be out in force. We wanted both groups to be represented with a big-ticket item.”

Enter the 2003 Fat Boy, donated by the magazine and purchased from Harley-Davidson of New Port Richey, where a number of upgrades were performed. The bike is ready to be handed over to a lucky Jeeps vs. Harleys attendee. Proceeds from the Harley-Davidson raffle will go to the West Central Florida chapter of COPS.

“We are anticipating a lot more Harley vendors and sponsors this year,” Feliz says. “But sponsorships and exhibit space are open to anyone who wants to reach a fantastic, fun-loving, civic-minded crowd at what promises to be a massive event.”

Speaking on behalf of the JCF staff, Gesualdo says he is proud that the magazine is associated with the event and inspired by the blood, sweat and tears organizers have poured into it. He encourages anyone in possession of a Jeep or a Harley to join the convoy, enjoy the party that follows, and enter to win the high-dollar items — including the vehicles as well as a long list of upgrades, accessories, merchandise and toys set to be raffled off — in support of our local charities.

“If you have never been in a convoy, you don’t know how cool it is,” says Gesualdo, who, along with his young son, Peter, was nominated to lead last year’s ride. “To see all those people, in all those vehicles, with the police escort — and to hear and feel all those engines revving — was one of the greatest moments of my life.”

Nuts and Bolts

Billed as “The Rematch,” the second annual Jeeps vs. Harleys charity convoy and family-friendly event is set for Saturday, Oct. 6. The convoy will assemble starting at 7 a.m. at East Lake Center in Tampa and start the 30-mile journey to the Sun ’n’ Fun Expo campus at Lakeland Linder Airport at 9:30 a.m. Register by finding the event on Facebook. To sponsor or join the event as a vendor, contact organizers at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Jeeps Are Social Creatures

Jeeps are social creatures in that they tend to be found in groups. If you happened to drive down A1A in Daytona Beach, Fla., the last week of April this year, you saw them in mega-sized herds. Being out there amongst so many other Jeep enthusiasts really got me thinking about why Jeeps are so much more than transportation.

More than a mere vehicle, Jeeps are like a membership card to a very special club. They not only make a statement outwardly about your enthusiasm for venturing down the path less taken, ownership also changes one’s own behavior. As a Jeep owner, we don’t just drive it to and from where we need to be, we purposely go looking for new and remote places we really need to be. “Have Jeep, will wander,” you could say.

My Jeep Is Calling

This desire to not just drive but explore is nurtured by the Jeep itself. It whispers, “Take me on an adventure” every time you start the engine. It develops its own personality over time, and because of this, Jeep owners have a habit of naming their Jeeps. Giving them a name makes them the core member of your adventure team. It’s a member of your family, not just another vehicle in your driveway.

As a family member, you trust your Jeep to get you out into the greater unknown places on Earth and to get you back home again at the end of the day. Regardless of how many Jeeps have been produced, no two remain alike as each is customized and modified.

As you and your friends and family pile into the Jeep each weekend to go out and explore new trails, you start planning your time off around trips to places to explore. Your spouse starts to buy you Jeep-related gifts for Christmas and birthdays. In short order, owning a Jeep transforms from something you bought into something you do — and you don’t do it alone. You do it with your family!

Jeepin’ is a way of life. We’ve all heard that saying, and we all know how true it is. The spirit of adventure, exploration, conquering difficult challenges, and recovering from disappointing failures is not only a reflection of the American spirit, it’s a reflection of the human spirit that moves through all of us and brings us together for enormous events.

Nuts and Bolts

Craig Simons is a member of the Ocala (Fla.) Jeep Crew and proud owner of “Black Widow,” a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. He believes Jeepin’ builds communities and families through off-road adventure, events and club membership.

But the most influential gathering of likeminded individuals (and their loved ones) is the Jeep club. Some are organized like traditional clubs of other hobbies and interests within a specific geographic area, and others are just an informal association of fellow Jeep enthusiasts that want to celebrate Jeep culture together. Those are the Jeep Crews we see popping up all over the world, often made possible by social media, and it is wonderful!

A Daughter’s Love

I know that, in my own personal experience, Jeep life was always part of my spirit. I didn’t own a Jeep until my mid-40s, but I’ve always taken any vehicle I’ve ever owned off-road, whether it was meant to do so or not. I just wanted to get off the beaten path and make my own trail.

A few years ago, I tried to get the family into the outdoor adventure sport of ATVs and UTVs. My oldest daughter has special needs and was not impressed. She did not like the rough ride as we went bouncing down the trails in my side-by-side. I was heartbroken. My dream of building family memories off-road seemed to be doomed.

Then I traded my pickup truck for a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. To my delight, my daughter loves Jeepin’! My youngest daughter then bought her very own new Wrangler JK, and now our family’s love for adventure and exploration into the wilderness just keeps growing, much like the membership numbers of our very own Ocala Jeep Crew.

We have met so many amazing people through Jeepin’ and have made so many new friends. I’m a computer systems engineer by profession, so as you probably correctly assumed, I’m quite introverted. Meeting new people is not my strong suit, but after being shackled to my office computer all week, I need to unplug and recharge my soul batteries.

Jeepin’ does that for me. It does that for my whole family. It’s pushed me out of my dark computer lab and out into the forest to adventure with new friends I never would have met on my own. I never thought a vehicle could change my life in such a profound way. Jeepin’ is family!