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 first-ever 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. After founding Jeep Jamboree USA in 1982, Mark became a Jeep brand consultant and has conducted intensive training for the U.S. Army Special Forces and law-enforcement agencies.
Mark’s passing in 2014 was a loss felt deeply by the off-roading community worldwide, and he was honored with tributes both locally and even from the corporate headquarters of the Jeep brand itself. His legacy, however, is carried on by his beloved wife Irene, still an active member of the board of directors; his daughter Jill who recently moved into a more philanthropic role to fulfill the families long time commitment to causes close to their hearts. 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. President and CEO Pearse Umlauf, who has run the day-to-day operations for 12 years and worked side-by-side with the Smith family to ensure every part of Mark’s vision was fulfilled. Umlauf at the helm of the operation is committed to not only seeing Mark’s vision for the off-roading community fulfilled in every event they do, but he is devoted to a business that is family run and continues to seize opportunities for growth and expansion that align with the company’s core values.
President & CEO
Pearse Umlauf has been an integral part of Jeep Jamboree USA for more than 19 years, currently as President and CEO, overseeing the business and day-to-day operations of more than 700 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 13 years. Most notably in the past couple of years, Pearse led the JJUSA team that 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 oversees 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.
Vice President, Operations/Events
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 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.) In 2014 he spent 6-months in Australia consulting to Leo Chrysler/Jeep assisting them with off-road events and laying the groundwork to build the Global Jamboree brand.
Shawn has worked on more than 100 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.
Director of Finance
Nancy’s 30 years of experience in financial and administrative work for family owned and small businesses makes her a perfect fit for the JJUSA team. She not only tracks and manages all financial elements concerning Jamboree programs, but she also manages the budgets for media and corporate programs. Her attention to detail enables the rest of the team to handle the logistics and number of moving pieces, without the fear that financial concerns can bring. Nancy is sharp, quick and wise in her financial work, and a ‘newbie’ when it comes to off-roading, but she’s quickly getting wheel time and enjoying new adventures on trails like Pete’s Revenge during the Parker Arizona Jeep Jamboree. At home, she’s had plenty of adventure raising twins with her husband Michael, and in her spare time enjoys performing in local choral and theatre groups, and recently took up ballet.
Adventure Consultant / Off-Road Specialist
Ty came to JJUSA with a background deeply rooted in the off-road community having co-owned Central 4-Wheel Drive, a company he worked with for 25 years in all manner of roles throughout their California, Oregon and Washington locations. An avid outdoorsman, Ty owns a 2000 Jeep Wrangler (TJ,) and spends his time camping, hiking, and fishing in addition to off-roading. One of his most memorable off-road experiences was re-tracing a portion of the fame “Expedicion de las Americas” in South America with JJUSA vice president, Shawn Gulling.
Director of Registration
Savannah is a Georgetown native who came to work with JJUSA through her role as a hospitality vendor for the Rubicon trail. Having worked for eight years previously in food and beverage management, Savannah’s friendly and outgoing personality was a natural fit for the Jamboree staff. In her registration role, Savannah assists with all the details that make our events go smoothly and happily answers the many questions many attendees have. Her favorite off-road locations include Sand Mountain and the Rubicon trail.
Shipping & Receiving Manager
Rhiannon is based in our Georgetown headquarters and manages the large job of overseeing all of our shipping and receiving. With 30+ of Jamborees around the country taking place week after week, her attention to detail is crucial to ensure all of the materials we need are constantly replenished at events and all the stock is kept up to date so we can offer our Jamboree attendees the best variety. Rhiannon had a passion for off-roading instilled in her from a young age when she was given her first driving lesson at age nine in her uncle’s Jeep, which was the same Jeep she had been brought home from the hospital in as an infant. Her longtime love of wheeling has carried into her family and their outdoor activities, which include time at their cabin, camping, boating off-roading and connecting to nature as much as possible.
Director of Special Operations / Senior Trail Guide
Jim’s passion for off-roading began in the 70s when he would watch his father and uncles race Jeeps, and he took that passion and turned it into a career that has led him to his current position as a core team member of Jeep Jamboree USA. He began his early career in the Air Force as a hydraulic specialist on C-5 aircraft, which helped fuel his love for travel in addition to off-roading. After his stint in the Air Force, Jim and his wife moved to Moab, Utah and opened Outlaw Jeep Tours in one of the most famous off-road destinations in the world. Averaging close to 240 trail days every year, Jim guided every trail in Moab from the easiest to most difficult with everything from stock Jeeps to buggies and racecars. In addition to guiding trails and gathering the experience in off-roading, Jim also competed in World Extreme Rock series, raced Dirt Riot, the Ultra4 Western series, and King of the Hammers. His expertise and name in the industry led to work over the years with television channels such as Discovery, History and TLC, as well as multiple episodes of Top Gear. As a major testing ground for vehicles and product, Moab naturally led Jim to associations with some of the top off-road companies in the business, including Jeep Jamboree USA. Beginning in 2009 Jim began working with JJUSA by renting Jeeps and guiding corporate events, and eventually began working with JJUSA full time years later. In his role with JJUSA Jim has become a cornerstone in the team which led to him going to New Zealand to build one the most significant launch programs – the media introduction of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler (JL).
Married to his wife Barb for 27 years, Jim enjoys the spare time he has with his family including his kids, Jake (23) and Kenzie (20), as well as building his own Jeeps and wheeling.
Nick Van Ness
Senior Trail Guide / Logistics Coordinator
Nick started working with Jeep Jamboree USA perhaps the earliest out of anyone currently on staff as he began as a staff member on the Rubicon Trail during summers in high school, and now has been with the organization for over 10 years. He is fully certified as a Senior Trail Guide and been an integral part of the most significant domestic and international media programs and product launches for the Jeep brand in the past five years. His experience includes trail development and program logistics for launches of the Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Cherokee Trail Hawk and Renegade around the world. He works annually at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, has done validation testing for OEMs on the Rubicon Trail, and was part of the hand-picked team that went to New Zealand to find, develop and see through the media introduction of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. A true utility player in every sense of the word, Nick has taken on every role possible in a program and has grown to become a relied manager for some of the largest logistical undertakings the organization manages, including the thousands of pounds of supplies, materials and equipment brought into Rubicon Base Camp annually via helicopter. He oversees programs for brands beyond Jeep, including Continental Tires and BFGoodrich, and has done vehicle validation on the Rubicon Trail for recent FCA products.
Nick’s talents extend beyond his work with JJUSA. He owned a jerky business, has built a house from the ground up using raw materials and his own construction skills, and having grown up in the Georgetown/Auburn area has spent a lifetime enjoying hiking and backpacking.