PENDLETON — A group of Jeep owners are continuing their tradition of using their wheels as vehicles for change, in addition to having a good time.
Jeeps of Pendleton — a non-profit organization with 748 members, most of whom are from Pendleton and surrounding areas — played host to the Second Annual Pendleton Jeep Jam in Falls Park on Saturday, May 13.
The group continued its fundraising efforts for Turn Away No Longer (TANL), an Anderson-based non-profit organization that helps foster children.
Last year’s Jeep Jam also raised funds for TANL.
“It went amazing. I think we had approximately 150 Jeeps that were there,” said Jeeps of Pendleton President Natalie Money, who runs the organization with her husband and Vice President Donald Money.
“It seemed like the vendors did very well. … Everyone was happy, it went pretty smooth.”
Money said 37 Jeeps were registered for the event. The $50 fee got registrants a VIP package — parking inside the event circle and a car hanger with the Jeep Jam logo and number for judging, shirt and string bag.
They also had the chance to win a trophy in four categories.
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Winners this year were Brian Holden, Best in Show; Terry Richwine, Oldest Jeep; Machelle Poindexter, Best Theme; and Chris Prose, Best Light Show.
The trophies were framed pictures of a Jeep that included the Jeep Jam logo and award category.
The other winner for the day was TANL, which will receive about $3,300 from this year’s event after expenses. That’s about the same amount it received from last year’s Jeep Jam.
The funds came from entry and vendor fees, as well as business sponsorships.
“It’s going to help. Every little dollar helps,” said Tracy Walters, co-founder and director of TANL.
She said the organization has raised about $100,000 so far to build a home called TANL House on almost five acres of land donated by Anderson New Horizons United Methodist Church.
The property is located behind the church, and the home is designed at 3,500 square feet with five bedrooms, able to accommodate up to 30 children, as they await permanent placement. Construction could begin in June if all goes well, Walters said.
Walters said the goal is to provide a place for children who are going through a stressful time “just to kind of ease that transition into their next stage in life.”
Money said Jeeps of Pendleton chose the to support the same organization for a second year to give it a boost toward building the home. But plans are to support other causes with Jeep Jam in the future.
“We’re actually trying to find other organizations to donate to,” Money said. “We hope each year just to become bigger and help more in our community.”
Jeeps of Pendleton was founded in 2021 with the goal “to raise funds and help out,” she said.
It’s not only interested in non-profits, Money said.
“We’re always looking to help out local businesses, if they want us to have dinner there or have a Jeep night there.
“We’re in the works of having a Jeep night at Jimmie’s Dairy Bar in the future.”
Money said there are Jeep groups all over the country, and that many Jeep owners travel around supporting each other’s efforts and having fun.
Jeeps of Pendleton arranges social gatherings, participates in parades in Pendleton and beyond, and organizes road trips.
Fifty members traveled to Daytona Beach for the annual Jeep Beach celebration in late April, she said, and in August a group will go to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for a Jeep gathering.
For more information about Jeeps of Pendleton, visit its Facebook page.
For more information about TANL, visit turnawaynolonger.org.
• Sons of AMVETS Post 26 Annual Armed Forces Day Car, Truck and Cycle Show is set for Saturday, May 20, at the post, 939 S. Broadway, Pendleton. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Vehicle registration fee is $10. Judging begins at noon. Refreshments and food will be available, and there will be a live DJ. The show is open to the public without charge. Proceeds benefit the post.
• Little 500 Festival Hot Rod and Classic Car Show, Saturday, May 20. Madison County Historical Society, which operates the Museum of Madison County History, will play host to the show, which will take place on Meridian Street between 10th and 13th streets in Anderson. Registration is 9 a.m. until noon, with a $20 entry fee for show cars. Dash plaques will be given to the first 100 registered entries. Awards will be distributed at 3:30 p.m. to the Top 30, plus Best in Show, President’s Choice, County Historian’s Choice, Best Classic and Best Hot Rod. Food vendors will be available offering a variety of choices. Proceeds will benefit the museum, which will be open at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the show.