LIMA — The Lucas Oil 4-Wheel Jamboree, at the Allen County Fairgrounds for the 28th consecutive year, is an attraction unlike any other to visit Lima.
Everyone knows it is a weekend designed to attract thousands to the area, and that means offering a variety of thrills.
Emily Boden, marketing manager for family events and Jamboree promoter, believes the event is a great atmosphere for the entire family.
“I have worked with the Jamboree for three years, and each year we try to create an environment for the whole family to enjoy,” Boden said. “Every year, the event attracts different kinds of people looking to enjoy the many aspects we have to offer.”
Steve Mullins and his wife traveled six hours from Kentucky. A longtime Jamboree fan, he has no plans of stopping.
“I have been coming to the Jamboree for 10 years, and they always put on a great event for us to enjoy,” Mullins said. “We always make sure to leave room on our calendar to be here and leave waiting for next year’s event to come.”
The main attraction of the weekend is the 4-wheelers and the entertaining shows they put on. The national event provides mud drags involving different types of classes for 4-wheelers. They compete in either individual head-to-head competition, where the trucks race around the track over placed obstacles, or freestyle competition designed more for providing an entertaining show for the audience.
Stevie Snellan, driver of the RiverRat and a first-year competitor at the Jamboree, knows what the fans like and said they are what the weekend is all about.
“I have always been a motorsports guy and know what it is like being a fan,” Snellan said. “We are here this weekend to provide a show the fans will enjoy and hope they have as much fun as I do driving the truck.”
Along with the regular 4-wheelers is a team known as “Team Kid KJ." But these aren’t your typical monster truck drivers.
The team is composed of children, all younger than 16, who compete on the main stage before the adult drivers.
Kid KJ, whose real name is Kade Jarrett, is only 9 years old and is accompanied by his cousin, brother and family friend Macey Nichter, the only girl in the field. Macey was excited for the weekend and ready to get out on the track and race for the first time.
“I have been training for this race for a year, and I am ready to go out and kill it,” she said. “I have my Dad as my inspiration and hope to win my race this weekend.”
And regardless of age, the Jamboree aims to provide a safe and fun environment.
“Each year, the Jamboree event and its staff provide a great show,” Boden said. “We take the necessary steps to assure the safety of the audience and hope everyone leaves the show happier than when they arrived.”