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Ken Brubaker Is The New Editor Of Off Road Xtreme

Hello all, I’m Ken Brubaker, the new Editor of Off Road Xtreme. I’m excited to be here!

A Ford Highboy Launched My Interest In Four-Wheel Drive

I vividly recall the first time I saw a 4×4 doing 4×4 things. It was in the early 1970s and the young me was standing outside our northern Illinois home following a massive blizzard. Our neighborhood’s roads were clogged with deep snow, and it was eerily quiet. Off in the distance I heard a grumble. It was getting closer. Suddenly, what I now know was a F-250 Ford Highboy went by at warp speed, throwing snow in the air as it passed. And then it was gone, leaving only a pair of ruts and a curtain of snow settling back to earth. I recall that my attention was riveted to the ruts. The young me was astounded at how easily the big Ford plowed through the deep snow. I wanted to know more about 4x4s. Fortunately, it wouldn’t be long before I would get to experience off-roading.

This is my uncle’s 1972 K5 Blazer that lit my 4×4 fire. I took this photo in front of my grandfather’s Citgo station in Rockford, Illinois, shortly after my uncle took delivery of the brand-new K5.

Off-Roading In A K5 Blazer

A year or so later I was belted in the back seat of my uncle’s 1972 K5 Blazer (similar to this one, sorta), off-roading in the hills near Oscoda, Michigan. The young me was speechless, eyes wide, grip tight, as he piloted the K5 over and through obstacles. I remember being a tad scared as the big Chevy tilted side to side and the nose of the Blazer rose and fell. That coolness didn’t happen when riding in my dad’s Rambler Ambassador. The K5 had a manual transmission and I recall watching as my uncle jockeyed the clutch and toggled the gearshift lever. The Blazer’s ability to climb and crawl left a lasting impression. In fact, it was right then and there I determined to have a 4×4.

My first 4×4 was this 1976 Chevy K5 Blazer. Those tires were big for the time.

Like Many Off-Roaders, I’ve Owned Several 4x4s

My first 4×4 was a 1976 Chevy K5 Blazer. It wasn’t planned, but it seemed fitting, considering my first off-road trip was in a K5. Like many off-roaders, I’ve owned a few 4x4s. I’ve owned two International Scouts. One was a 1977 with fiberglass quarters and a 345 cubic-inch V-8. The other was a 1979 with a 304 cubic-inch V-8. I tried to put my head through the windshield of the 1979 once while wheeling. That’s a story for another time. I’ve also owned a 1984 Jeep Cherokee XJ, which had numerous issues. My 1990 Geo Tracker was mega-reliable. I used it to plow snow after it became un-roadworthy due to rust. Then there was a 1992 Ford F-150 with front and rear winches, a 1979 Ford Bronco with whiny gear drive, and a locked and winch-equipped 1997 Jeep Wrangler. There may have been a couple more 4x4s along the way.

My daily is this 2005 Dodge Power Wagon. It’s been a part of my life since it was new. The truck has covered trails in numerous states and wears a few dents as a result.

Current 4×4: 2005 Dodge Power Wagon

My current 4×4 is a 2005 Dodge Power Wagon. The truck has been a part of my life since it was brand spankin’ new. Mods are minimal because the truck just doesn’t need much modification to do its job off-road. This is due to its lengthy list of standard off-road-centric features. The list includes front and rear electric lockers, a suspension lift, and winch. Additionally, underbody protection, front disconnecting sway bar, rocker protection, and all the other Power Wagon features. However, I have added a set of remote-reservoir shocks and mud-terrain tires. The truck has a long off-road history. It has seen trails in California, Utah, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Florida, Illinois, and many other states. Furthermore, the truck is a tool for work. Example: I often use it to bumper tow and tow gooseneck trailers.

Over the years I’ve had the thrill of covering off-road events all across the U.S., including high-flying events in sand dunes.

Into The Publishing World By Sheer Luck

I got into the publishing world by sheer luck, I guess. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by photography. From the time I could hold a Brownie camera I was taking pictures. Along the way I was drawn to photography of motorized things, with off-roading being my favorite. My dream was to combine photography and off-roading. Somehow, my photos got noticed by someone in the off-road publishing business. This led to my first assignment in the four-wheel-drive world in 1989. In 1990 I landed my first assignment for a 4WD publication. Apparently, it went well because it spawned a freelance career that spanned 11 years. Through those years I contributed to several off-road publications while working a real job. In 2001, I was hired as a staffer at Four Wheeler Magazine. I remained there for 21 years, most recently as Editor.

Generating cool off-road stories for publication is a blast. I took this photo on a run over Colorado’s Imogene Pass. Shortly after, a blizzard hit, which nudged the challenge level upward.

Honored To Tell Your Story

During my 35 years in the off-road publishing world, I’ve been tasked with many very cool things. I’ve helped create off-road competitions, overlanding trips, and new vehicle tests. Occasionally I’ve had things go very wrong on the trail while gathering content for stories (example: wheeling Colorado’s Imogene Pass in a blizzard, in a Chevy S-10 Blazer). I’ve attended scores of new vehicle media events and covered hundreds of trail rides and 4×4 shows. And I’ve been thrilled to photograph and write hundreds of 4×4 vehicle features. Regarding the latter, it’s an honor to have the opportunity to tell the story of 4×4 owners and their 4WD vehicles. It’s one of my favorite things.

Off Road Xtreme’s first Editor, Stuart Bourdon, was a fine choice to spool up the publication. He’s been in the off-road world for decades. I took this photo of Stuart in the late 1980s while he was photographing a feature vehicle for 4Wheel & Off-Road Magazine on our family pastureland.

Off Road Xtreme Has A Solid History

I’m excited to be at Off Road Xtreme (ORX). ORX has a solid history and it’s been in publication since 2013. Its first Editor was long-time off-road industry veteran Stuart Bourdon. Fun fact: In 1990, Stuart gave me my first assignment for a 4WD publication. During ORX’s 11-year history there have only been four Editors prior to my arrival. Each has brought their own vision to ORX. And now it’s my turn.

This is my 1977 International Scout, circa 1989. Its simplicity made it fun to work on, its reliability was incredible, and it was surprisingly good off-road.

What’s in Store For ORX

What’s in store for ORX? Well, the plan is to continue the great coverage of off-road events, new products, and informative tech. Quite simply, be a one-stop shop for all things off-road related. ORX will continue to offer a wide range of content so there’s something for everyone. We’ll have coverage on new, cutting-edge off-road vehicles. However, through the years I’ve gotten a lot of correspondence from wheelers who have made it clear they like, and wheel, older 4x4s. Thus, ORX will cover older, less expensive, and simpler off-road machines. Additionally, expect content that offers you the opportunity to share your stories and info on your 4×4 and experiences. There’s a lot to come and it’ll have some surprises. Hang on, this ride is going to be a blast. Thank you for reading ORX!




This article was originally published by a www.offroadxtreme.com . Read the Original article here. .

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