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Bantam Boot Camp highlights versatility of Jeeps, off-road safety

Bantam Boot Camp will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the Bantam Quarry at Kildoo, 989 Kildoo Road, Portersville. The property is located just 4 miles away from Cooper’s Lake Campground in Worth Township. Submitted photo

Off-roading isn’t for everyone — but if you like being in nature, challenging your driving skills and don’t mind a little dirt, you might want to give it a try.

By day, Janine Mickey is a teacher. She takes her Jeep to and from work. On the weekend, Mickey, who is also the manager of Bantam Boot Camp, drives her vehicle off-road.

Essentials and safety precautions will be taught in this introductory session designed for those who have not been off-road before.

“Jeeps are more than things to run on the road,” Mickey said.

“It can go anywhere. It enables people to do what they need to do,” said Patti Jo Lambert, Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival director.

The Bantam Boot Camp will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the Bantam Quarry at Kildoo, 989 Kildoo Road, Portersville. The property is located just 4 miles away from Cooper’s Lake Campground.

Those joining Bantam Boot Camp can expect to learn hand signaling basics as well as how to navigate a dirt trail.

“It’s important when you’re going over an obstacle that you know what the spotter is telling you. They can see things you can’t,” said Janine Mickey, Bantam Boot Camp manager.

Participants will learn how to interpret hand signals from spotters, how to use Jeep terminology and what to do in different off-road situations.

Whether they drive a Wrangler, Compass or Grand Cherokee, Jeepers of all sorts know that versatility was built into the vehicle’s design from its inception as a military vehicle. Each activity in Bantam Boot Camp highlights what a Jeep can do.

“You can modify it, you can personalize it, and it has the capability to be a normal car,” Lambert said. “People love that Jeeps give them that freedom.”

The boot camp also is an opportunity for Jeep festival-goers to accomplish something “not everyone else can do,” she said.

Obstacles will include a log bridge, tire playground, articulation course and blind hill. Participants also will watch a winching demonstration.

More details can be found on the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival’s website at bantamjeepfestival.com.

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