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 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.
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.
Pearse Umlauf has been an integral part of Jeep Jamboree USA for more than 16 years, currently as vice-president, overseeing the business and day-to-day operations of more than 600 staff and 50+ annual events domestic and internationally. Having begun his off-roading career with Jeep Jamboree USA (JJUSA) as a special events coordinator, Pearse’s experience with Camp Jeep events led to his leadership in their company and the growth and offerings.
Throughout his tenure with MASOR and JJUSA, Pearse has overseen the logistical coordination of the Rubicon Trail operations annually, moving 65,000 lbs of supplies via helicopter each season to set up complete camp accommodations. He oversaw the construction of the Quantico Marine Base Severe Off-Road Track, and vehicle testing on the Rubicon Trail aiding in product development for Jeep products for the past 11 years. Pearse and his team recently spent 45-days in Brazil installing a permanent off-road test / demonstration course for Jeep’s South American plant in Pernambuco.
In addition to the day-to-day operations, Pearse has overseen the development of a worldwide database of trails around the world and traveled to some of the most remote off-roading areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Argentina, Chile, Peru and many parts of Europe, in addition to thousands of trails in North America. This extensive database has enabled MASOR and JJUSA to facilitate events for brand/owner loyalty, product launches with automotive media, corporate incentive trips and marketing, advertising, video and photography shoots.
General Manager & Director of Registration
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.
Special Events Coordinator / Adventure Consultant
After an introduction to the off-roading industry by working in a four-wheel drive shop directly after high school, Shawn Gulling has spent his nearly 20-year career guiding expeditions on the famed Rubicon Trail, designing and building trails around the country and off-roading on three continents. (North and South America, and Australia.)
Shawn has worked on more than 70 Jeep Jamboree events around the country, in addition to dozens of domestic and international media events where he was an integral part of leading the team, developing and guiding the trails, and assisting photo and video crews throughout the programs. In addition to his career, as an avid off-road enthusiast, Shawn also participated in a two-month, 7,000-mile expedition in South American from Lima, Peru to Ushuaia, Argentina (the southernmost city in the world) as part of the 20th Anniversary of Mark A. Smith’s expedition.
Shawn most recently spent 6-months in Australia consulting to Leo Chrysler/Jeep assisting them with off-road events and laying the ground work to build the Global Jamboree brand.
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.
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. Ron’s 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.