Off-Road Expos attract hundreds of thousands of visitors across the country every year. But out in Salton Sea, CA the crew at the Tierra Del Sol 4×4 Club do things a little different at the Safari Expo. They host 1,000’s of offroaders every year inviting them to go play in the desert for the weekend and then offer a headquarters jampacked with food, vendors, demo vehicles and some of the biggest giveaways of any show around. This year (February 28th to March 1st) offered a new in-town location to give attendees a break from the blowing desert sand and a chance to enjoy all the demo vehicles, food, family fun, and vendor sales that we love about these shows.
Part of what makes this show so special is based on who the Tierra Del Sol Club (TDS) is and what they do. TDS is a non-profit group of Southern California based off-road enthusiasts that have been exploring the deserts since 1962. The club not only offers a family friendly gathering for fellow four-wheelers but is also a dedicated advocator for keeping lands open and protecting off-roader rights. The Annual Safari and attached Expo are major fundraisers for those efforts and TDS treats it as such and pulls out all the stops.
Lots of shows offer raffles as part of the fun, but TDS takes this to a whole new level, with over $118,000 worth of off-road goodies raffled off this year. Major brands from across the industry were represented in this year’s giveaway. Extreme Terrain was offering up two of their Trail Force bumpers fully equipped with winches and covers. Eaton threw in a pair of lockers valued at $2,000. Mickey Thompson went all out with a set of five 17-inch rims. Some companies like Bilstein put in gift cards so you could choose anything in their line for a prize. In total, over 80 companies had products in the raffle so there were plenty of winners.
Overall the expo was just one part of the fun the Safari offered but with so many vendors and activities it is a great part of the weekend. Add in the fact that the proceeds go to helping keep local trails open and it gets sweeter than my mandatory stop at the funnel cake booth at every show.