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Jeep® Jamborees are off-road adventure weekends that bring together the outdoors, down-to-earth people, and their Jeep 4x4s. These off-road treks have a long tradition dating back to 1953 when 4×4 pioneer Mark A. Smith organized the firstever Jeep Jamboree and voyaged across the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the old Rubicon Trail. In 1954, Willys Motors — then manufacturer of Jeep vehicles — became involved with the adventure, and Jeep Jamborees have been an off-road tradition ever since.

Off-Road Hall of Fame and the Explorers Club member, Mark A. Smith also led the 1978-79 Expedicion de las Americas — a 20,000-mile odyssey from the bottom of South America to the top of North America, crossing the infamous Darien Gap — and headed the 1987 Camel Trophy expedition in Madagascar. Since founding Jeep Jamboree USA in 1982, Mark has become a Jeep brand consultant and has conducted intensive training for the U.S. Army Special Forces and law-enforcement agencies. The Smiths’ Jeep Jamboree USA conducts over 30 family oriented Jeep 4×4 trips nationwide and is truly a family business. Daughter Jill, President and CEO, brings camaraderie and excitement to thousands of Jeep 4×4 owners annually, while son-in-law Pearse Umlauf, Vice President and General Manager, is focused on expanding Jeep Jamboree USA, which is the world’s largest Jeep adventure company.

People who make us Jeep Jamboree USA.

mark smith

Mark A. Smith Founder

In 1953 Mark A. Smith and a small group of Rotarians and friends figured out a way to boost the economy of Georgetown, California: stage an annual Jeep® vehicle trek across the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the old Rubicon Trail. The first Jeep Jamboree saw 155 people take on the Rubicon Trail. And in 1954, Willys Motors – then manufacturer of Jeep vehicles – became involved with the adventure.

A member of the Off-Road Hall of Fame and the Explorers Club of New York, Mark A. Smith led the 1978-79 Expedicion de las Americas – a 20,000-mile, 120-day odyssey from the bottom of South America to the top of North America, crossing the infamous Darien Gap – and headed the 1987 Camel Trophy in Madagascar. Since founding Jeep Jamboree USA (JJUSA) in 1982, he’s become a Jeep brand consultant and conducts intensive training for U.S. Army Special Forces and other agencies.

jill smith

Jill Smith
President & CEO

Adventure runs in the Smith family. No doubt inspired by her father’s history making expeditions and by her own youthful trips on the legendary Rubicon Trail, it was perhaps inevitable that Jill Smith would develop her own spirit of adventure. A visitor to six of the seven continents, Jill regularly continues her travels to the planet’s most remote regions, most often performing volunteer and service work for humanitarian and animal conservation organizations. As President & CEO of JJUSA, Jill ensures that each Jamboree trip embodies the same sense of adventure and camaraderie she finds in her explorations of exotic lands and cultures.

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Pearse Umlauf
Vice President

Pearse Umlauf grew up in the small town of Williamstown, Massachusetts, an academic enclave in the Berkshire Mountains which offered boundless opportunities for intellectual growth and wilderness awareness. His first exposure to four wheeling and the Jeep Jamboree USA experience came as an assistant to prominent adventure and off-road photographer Sue Mead. As Special Events Coordinator for JJUSA, Pearse headed up the company’s involvement in Camp Jeep as the design and construction of a number of off-road test tracks including the U.S. Government’s (SORT) Severe Off-Road Track at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, and initiated new programs such as the Mark A. Smith Rubicon Trail Adventure Series and Advanced Off-Road Training Program. In his new role as Vice President and General Manager of JJUSA, Pearse is focused on expanding and refining the offerings of the world’s largest Jeep adventure company.

erin lara

Erin Helms
General Manager / Adventure Consultant

Whether Erin speaks to you on the phone, via email or if you meet her in person at an event, you can be assured that you will always be greeted enthusiastically and taken care of pleasantly and professionally. This comes as a result of over 20 years of customer service experience.

While at the office, Erin is busy working with her awesome coordinators on the 15 trips she manages. Her personal goal is to make sure that your Jamboree experience is extraordinary.

When she is not at work, Erin keeps busy with her family and two Labradors, which are a daily source of joy and entertainment. She also loves to spend time gardening, baking, quilting, reading and involving herself with her church.

Joelle Seibel
Registration Manager / Adventure Consultant

For all of your registration needs and questions, Joelle is the person who can help you! She has been part of the Jeep Jamboree USA family for over 25 years, and has worked with the Smith family ever since moving to Georgetown. Her attention to detail will ensure that your registration experience is a great one. You can always count on her to cheerfully greet you on the phone and assist you however she can. In addition to her daily Registration tasks, she is also the Coordinator and Adventure Consultant for the Canyon de Chelly Jeep Jamboree. This is one of her favorite trips because of the beauty of the canyon and the culture that surrounds you while you are there.

When she has time, she enjoys one of her many interests. Such as walking, hiking, listening to many types of music and wine tasting with family and friends are just a few. She has 3 cats and 2 black labs which certainly keep her busy and constantly amused.

glenda gau

Glenda Gau
Adventure Consultant

Glenda Gau is one of three Adventure Consultants for Jeep Jamboree USA.

Her favorite part about the Jamborees are the hours of laughter and good natured fun shared at each event. She is convinced that until you’ve been on a Jeep Jamboree, there’s no way to understand the camaraderie and lasting friendships that take place between Jamboree participants, trail guides, and staff representatives. Whether you talk to her over the phone or meet her at an event, you will quickly see that she loves people and working for Jeep Jamboree. Not many can say, “I Love My Job!” Glenda and the other Jamboree Adventure Consultants truly do love what they do and it shows!

Outside of the office she enjoys hiking, kayaking, music festivals, dancing, reading, spending time with friends and family and traveling when time permits and a great glass of wine.

Will Morgan

Will Morgan
Special Events / 4×4 Instructor

Will has been wheeling and covering trails and areas from the Rubicon, Moab, and Camp 5 in the Black Hills of South Dakota, areas around and outside of Denver Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Being an avid outdoor enthusiast and sportsman Will has enjoyed time with friends skiing, kayaking, skydiving, and trying out most any adventure he can find time to be involved in. His favorite pastime is to be able to spend time with close friends and family whenever and wherever time will allow.

Will is an Event Staff team member attending many of the Jamborees held around the country each year and has also been involved in the press releases of the 4 Dr. Jeep Wrangler JK, the Jeep Patriot, 2008 new model Jeep Liberty and recently the 2011 Grand Cherokee.

A Contributing Editor for JPFreek.com Adventure Magazine writing articles related to various outdoor adventures and Jeep events, reviews and other related Jeep news Will is always living the Jeep lifestyle.

Ron Stewart

Ron Stewart
Rubicon Trail Events

Ron Stewart is a Southern California native who after 20 years of surfing, fishing and hiking moved to the northern end of the state to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. Ron is instrumental in our Rubicon Trail events where his expertise in carpentry and friendly bartending skills are only a few of the things that make Ron a valued member of the JJUSA staff. He has a wealth of information ranging from South American travels to the more technical aspects of helicopter operations and safety. Ron and his wife Melanie raise their four children in beautiful Garden Valley. Ronís passion is big game fishing. He and his family enjoy camping, hiking, off-roading and exploring remote places. Given the opportunity, take some time to visit with Ron next time you see him on the trail.

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JJ (Jeep Junior)

JJ (Jeep Junior) is a full-bred Syberian Husky who is faithfully beside Mark wherever he is – in his 2nd-story JJUSA office, in the Jeep, at home and most of his travels. JJ is the proud papa of four Husky-wolves. The squeaky steak toy and rawhide bone are his favorite toys. JJ dines on only the finest grilled steaks and sometimes shares his leftovers with the JJUSA staff.



Bosnia guards the JJUSA store, providing 24/7 security. She
is the only staff member with a flat-screen LCD TV with satellite
service (Oprah is her favorite show). If you want to be her friend,
be sure to give her a good dose of petting with the special rubber
petting glove – be careful though – she drools!



The newest feline in the Jeep Jamboree family, Banjaar lives in the gym with Bosnia. When the weather is sunny and warm, you will find her outside sunning herself and on the colder days perched way up high on her fluffy pad in the gym. She is a playful and talkative young kitty.