Toledo-born Jeep has followers worldwide - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo-born Jeep has followers worldwide

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

When Toledo held its first Jeep Fest two years ago, it joined a growing club of places around the nation and the world that have given the Toledo-born car its own special holiday.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, Jeep Beach weekend has been celebrated for years The same thing happens on the Jersey Shore in Wildwood every summer, and on the south coast of Texas where Jeeps and Jeepers roam free and easy.

The celebrations are a chance for Jeep people, or "Jeeple," to enjoy a little sun, good times, or go topless and get dirty. Some people do it in the mud, while others do it on the rocks.

And not just any rocks, but people clamor to be at the Jeep Jamboree Rally at the Rubicon trail every year.  

The Rubicon is the grand daddy of all Jeep trails. South of Lake Tahoe, it's the ultimate crucible for Jeep owners who are daring enough to take on an 18-mile course of the biggest rocks, boulders and inclines that look impassable, if not impossible.

The late Mark Smith was the pioneer of the Rubicon and a legend in Jeep's off-roading legacy. 
This challenge started back in the 1950s with the early Willys Jeep owners who wanted to subject their their feisty post-war CJ models to the grueling test.
"Most people who start the trail for the first time want to turn around and go back ... but they see the person in front of them and then they follow through," Smith had said about the course.
And this is not just an American thing. Off-road Jeep competition is popular around the world.

In Japan, the Jeep is the most popular American car on and off the road. It's probably harder to name a country where the Jeep lifestyle is NOT a thing these days.

Even our anchor Viviana Hurtado on her travels found the pride of Toledo everywhere from Germany to Jordan.

And whether you're in the deserts of the Middle East or the streets of the Midwest, you're likely to find this sturdy American icon and the people who love them. And in Toledo, the people who build them.

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