Taming The Trails: Ford Opens Bronco Off-Roadeo Schools For Four-Wheeling Adventurers
Ford has done a thorough job of teasing the concept of a rugged outdoor lifestyle in the promotional lead-up to the release of the new 2021 Bronco, and now it’s adding a tangible element with the Bronco Off-Roadeo school. Set to open June 28 in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, located approximately sixty miles west of Austin, initial registration is open only to Bronco Sport Badlands and First Edition owners, as well as order-holders of the all-new Bronco two- and four-door SUV. The program is complimentary for Bronco and Bronco Sport owners and Bronco order holders, exclusive of transportation and lodging. Friends and family members over the age of 12 can accompany you for a fee, as can other non-Bronco owners.
Interestingly, Bronco and Bronco Sport owners are not required to bring their personal vehicles, instead selecting a vehicle from the on-site fleet similar to their own. Ford told Forbes Wheels that, “after the initial priority access for Bronco order holders, Off-Roadeo will be available to anyone.”
Developed with the help of Formula Drift Champion and “professional fun haver” Vaughn Gittin Jr., King of the Hammers champion Loren Healy and distinguished off-road experiential manager Bob Burns, the Texas Bronco Off-Roadeo experience comprises over 50 miles of trails. The first of several such instructional and venture installations, three additional Off-Roadeo adventure parks are on track to open in Mt. Potosi, Nevada, Moab, Utah, and the Northeast United States before the end of the year.
Such schools have proven popular with enthusiast customers at other brands in the past. Land Rover has operated a quartet of high-end driving schools in North America (three in the United States, one in Quebec) for over a decade. Jeep launched its own Adventure Academy in 2020, with instructors from Jeep Jamboree USA, a private company that’s hosted trail events since the 1980s.
Designed to be easy enough for newbies yet still challenging for drivers with some off-road time under their belts, the program starts with a 90-minute hands-on tutorial led by trail guides who will highlight design and technology features. Naturally, a heavy emphasis on Ford-branded off-road features includes Trail Control, Trail Turn Assist and Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. Modes (goes over any terrain type) with a hands-on element. Additionally, trail etiquette and recovery techniques, including how to equip and use traditional off-road geat including gear like recovery straps, winches and Hi-Lift jacks, are outlined. Then, owners can venture out on two- or four-hour trail drives designed to challenge their off-roading skills while highlighting their vehicle’s capability.
Afterward, Bronco owners can ramp up the adventure quotient by purchasing outdoor excursions, including half-day kayak, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting or mountain biking excursions. Evening campfires give ample opportunity to trade stories and make new friends.
Stay-and-play packages with area hotels or resorts are on offer. The Texas location collaborates with the Horseshoe Bay Resort, a premier, lakeside golf resort, to offer premium lodging and dining with watercraft rentals, three championship golf courses, two resort-style pools and daily resort activations. Details on the other three locations will be made available closer to each park’s opening later this summer and early fall.
Ford isn’t shy about positioning the Bronco Sport and Bronco as centerpieces for an active, outdoorsy lifestyle and points to its partnership with revered outdoor clothing brand Filson and the Bronco Amazon store as the first entries on a sure to grow list of collaborations with other outdoor specialty companies.