Jeep festival crawls right over COVID-19

by Josh McDonald
Staff Reporter | July 21, 2020 10:08 AM

MULLAN — The 19th Annual Silver Valley Jeep Jamboree made its way through Shoshone County this past weekend.

Nearly 100 Jeeps made their way to the Silver Valley for the event making it one of the largest in event history.

The three-day event kicked off on Thursday morning with a tour of Shoshone County which allowed newcomers to get a feel for the various locations for the trails that they would be riding, but the real meat of the event began on Friday with multiple trail rides throughout the day and continued into Saturday before the final dinner of the event.

Riders spent time in the hills from Pinehurst and Kingston all the way to Mullan, before making their way back for a group dinner at East Shoshone Park.

Mullan Mayor Don Kotschevar was so happy that the event was able to happen and that it went off without a hitch, bringing some much needed activity to our COVID depleted tourism economy.

Jeepers from all across the country took part in the event, and according to Kotschevar, the average amount of money spent by the occupants of each registered Jeep is right around $1,000, so the weekend saw roughly $100,000 spent at businesses in the Silver Valley.

The event has far reaching financial ramifications throughout the Silver Valley, but in Mullan where it’s primarily hosted, the Jamboree offers local businesses a lot to look forward to, whether it was coffee, sandwiches and cocktails at the Mullan Corner, gas and groceries at Mullan Trail Gas & Grocery, or even as simple as a way for the Mullan School District Athletic Department to raise money through washing the Jeeps.

“We have come a long way working together with the community here and we had received some push back in the past, but this year there was a lot of community support throughout,” Kotschevar said. “I think a lot of people have seen the value that this event brings in and supported it.”

With COVID-19 keeping most other states closed up for any type of events, the outdoor nature of the event, as well as Idaho’s more lenient rules on outdoor activities made hosting the event a no-brainer.

“This is an absolutely amazing and important event for us,” Kotschevar said. “This COVID deal is bad for everyone. We can’t put our head in the sand though and it does come with risk. But if businesses in the Silver Valley are going to survive, we need tourism and we have to host some of these events. We can’t board up our valley and hope that these businesses can survive on the locals, it just doesn’t work that way.”