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Old January 18th, 2008, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default The New Wheeler

Being the New Wheeler
or What's OK But Most of Us Won't Admit To

by Shawn Pagan

Each of us has been the "New Guy" at some point in time... in school, at the "Y", or, perhaps, a new church your parents took you to as a kid. We have all felt the anticipation and sometimes dread at going out and trying something different. The same feelings and concerns are felt by new 4 wheelers. These feelings may be amplified at large events and gatherings.

Think back (some of you may have to think WAAAAAAYYYYY back) to when you were new to the sport. You probably felt some of the following (depending on age, personality, etc.); concern, gung-ho, worry, a need/desire to fit in, expectations - what do they expect, what do I expect of myself, or even fright (although most of us would never admit it).

I think that we as statesman of the sport that we love so much should go out of our way to make everyone feel welcome on the trail; or even when they show up for a meeting. I think that most people in the sport attempt to do this, but I also know that there are some people that have the attitude of "If it ain't extreme, I don't care" This is evident when we meet some of our fellow "enthusiasts" on the trail, but the majority will always take the time to help out the new guys.

I think a good rule of thumb is to make sure that our new friends (especially those in our own clubs) understand the events that we have outlined or planned. One idea is to create a listing of the expected trails and the relative toughness of those trails in an easy to understand form. This could be a formal thing or simply a personal thing - perhaps take a new person aside (one that has expressed interest in a run you are going to) and help them out.

We also need to make sure that each individual (new or old to the sport) has the ability to say "No, I am not doing that." This is not a point at which we should give someone criticism. Instead, this is a point where we should praise that person for using their head to point out when and where THEY need to draw the line. We have some responsibility to these new people and their families. We also want them to go back to work and to their everyday lives and feel like they like the sport and us.

Why do I say they need to like what they are doing? Simply because most of the other people around them just won't understand - and now they probably don't either. If they leave an event feeling down or upset because they got on a wrong trail or everyone refused to help them, then it becomes very easy for them to agree with the time honored statement of "Why would you want to do that with your vehicle?"

Four wheeling is a great family sport. Both the classic family (Mom, Dad, kids, pets, etc) and the 'wheeling family (our clubs, friends, trail buddies, late night mechanics that stay open for us, guys who own welders etc.). It is our duty to help maintain and expand our families so that this sport can grow and prosper to bring new generations the thrill of tackling that hill for the first time.

List of "New Guy" Truths (They work for all 'wheelers' but some people won't admit it):
Never be afraid to say "NO".
Remember it's your vehicle and your well-being.
Just because someone else can, you might not. If someone else can't, you might.
The vehicle is only half the battle - the driver is the other 75%.
Making it look easy takes experience and experience takes time.
Skill can never be made up for with equipment.
Know your vehicle and it's limitations - AND YOURS.
Don't drink and drive (on the street or on the trail).
Stock vehicles can have fun too.
It ain't what you bought; it's how you build it. (Of course the part of the saying that they never finish is: How you build it depends on what you want to do with it - which might simply be to get down to your favorite fishing hole!).
In the end, I would extend a challenge to every member of the four wheeling family to aid in the endeavor to bring new people into the family. And, I would encourage all the new four wheelers to not be afraid to ask questions. What trails should I run? What's the best line to try? What's the best part to buy? What shop should I use? Which locker is better? Why did you do that? Just never ask the dreaded "What's the best vehicle?" - unless, of course, you want to spend the night having a knock down, drag out, bloody, fist-a-cuffs debate!

Remember, that everyone in four wheeling has an opinion. Everyone will be happy to give their opinion to you. Your best bet is to find people you know and trust, listen to them, and then make your own decision based on what you want to do or accomplish. I would like to think that most of the 'wheelers I run with are those type of people.

Thanks, I'm off my soapbox know...





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2004 United Four Wheel Drive Association, Inc.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 05:41 PM   #2
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Thats cool and very very true in content....
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Old January 18th, 2008, 07:10 PM   #3
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Wow i'm putting together a club in monroe and was thinking the same stuff, just couldn't put words to it. I think i'll print this out and let everyone read it.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 08:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by fsumotorhead View Post
Wow i'm putting together a club in monroe and was thinking the same stuff, just couldn't put words to it. I think i'll print this out and let everyone read it.
Remember to give credit to the author, Shawn Pagan, United Fourwheel Drive Assoc.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 09:10 PM   #5
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That Is Very True, There Is Nothing Worse Than Seeing A New Wheeler Totally Trash His Rig Because His Buddies Talked Him Into Trying Something Over What His Abilities And Rig Can Handle Then The New Wheeler Gets Turned Off To The Sport, Although I Am Sure I Have Had My Moments And Said Things Like ( I Made It Can You) Or (hit It Faster And Redeme Yourself) But Trying To Get Into Family Wheeling Mode I Am And Encourage Others To Pull The Cable A Little More Instead Of More Momentum, Its Always Good To Wheel The Whole Day, The Memory Of Being The One Whole Made The Hill Fades Faster Than A Wrecked Rig That Takes Two Paychecks And Weekends In The Shop To Fix. I Know I Am Kinda A Hipocrit But The Above Statement Is Good Starting Point For A New Wheeler.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ironman View Post
Remember to give credit to the author, Shawn Pagan, United Fourwheel Drive Assoc.
I defiantly will
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Old January 19th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #7
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Old January 21st, 2008, 02:10 PM   #8
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good read, good info for the new guys (and gals), it takes me right back to my first wheeling trip with the sundowners, thanks
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Old February 28th, 2008, 08:31 AM   #9
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good read! i think that applies around here alot as well, if you know what i meann..


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Pagan View Post
...I think that we as statesman of the sport that we love so much should go out of our way to make everyone feel welcome on the forum; or even when they show up for a meeting. I think that most people in the sport attempt to do this, but I also know that there are some people that have the attitude of "If it ain't extreme, I don't care" This is evident when we meet some of our fellow "enthusiasts" on the forum, but the majority will always take the time to help out the new guys.



...In the end, I would extend a challenge to every member of GL4x4 to aid in the endeavor to bring new people into the forum. And, I would encourage all the new four wheelers to not be afraid to ask questions. What trails should I run? What's the best line to try? What's the best part to buy? What shop should I use? Which locker is better? Why did you do that? Just never ask the dreaded "What's the best vehicle?" - unless, of course, you want to spend the night having a knock down, drag out, bloody, fist-a-cuffs debate!
i've seen some noobs ask innocent questions and get torn down lately..
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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
We also need to make sure that each individual (new or old to the sport) has the ability to say "No, I am not doing that." This is not a point at which we should give someone criticism. Instead, this is a point where we should praise that person for using their head to point out when and where THEY need to draw the line. We have some responsibility to these new people and their families. We also want them to go back to work and to their everyday lives and feel like they like the sport and us.
This is so true!

I have been wheeling for almost 30 years ( yeah, I know: :gman: ), and I know my limitations. I also learned the hard way when something is going to break.

If you take your family with you and spend the whole trip trying to fix your vehicle, they may not want to go anymore. If the family enjoys the trip, it's a lot easier to allocate money and time to your pastime. That's one of the reasons I take new wheelers to the dunes (not on a holiday weekend either), they have fun and rarely destroy their vehicle.

I rarely go out to challenge my vehicle or my abilities anymore. I have a lot more fun watching others on the hard stuff, and enjoying the experience. That changes depending on who is with me, and if I can currently afford what I know as the weak link in my vehicle at the time.. :tonka:
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Old August 24th, 2008, 10:46 PM   #11
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that just too true, and alot of people forget what being the new guy is like!!

I hope the author doesnt mind, but I did a copy/paste, with credit due, of course...
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Old October 29th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #12
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X2 on what bender said i agree
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 02:26 AM   #13
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I'm new to this site and I thought this was a page I should read so I knew the rules but better still it reinforces what I think. I had a buddy tell me once to take a back road from No Cal into Reno and I came out of it with a bent control arm and a smashed tank. I told him next time I saw him 'I thought you said you drove that road?' and he said, 'yeah once' and he broke the axle on his 1 ton Power Wagon and this was like one of them military type ones. I told him he was an ass cause I had my family with me.

Anyways, used to 4 wheel for fun, now it's just my beat up old 4X4 work truck out on the farm. Did get stuck a few weeks ago, so had to get a big a** JD tractor trying to pull me out. Made me worry when after 4 hard tugs all he did was spun tires on dry land.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #14
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Shawn thanks for the time to write this, I am back in the saddle of a wrangler
That has some capability for great fun. And reading this makes it so much nicer to join a 4X4 club..
I look forward to my first outing with you guy's/gal's
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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:59 PM   #15
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Thanks, good info
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:38 PM   #16
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Great read!!!!! I think there are alot of people on here who need to read this as they have forgotten what its like !!!
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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:17 AM   #17
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Just the type of thing I was looking for! A sense of community, within a community. I am completely new to 4 wheel drives of any type so this was comforting to see so soon.
Hello to Mr. Ball of Perry MI. Thanks for the invite!!
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Old March 27th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #18
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that was good info thanks
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #19
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:27 AM   #20
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Thank you for such a wonderful article. Not every newbie is out to prove something. Sometimes we just want to have a little fun without hurting anyone or the land. I know that if I am doing something wrong or dangerous I would hope that someone would call me out! I think it's important to go out there humble and without ego. It's the ego that usually gets someone in a dangerous situation. And thank you to all the kind people that do go out of their way to help or give advice. Thank you for answering all the newbie questions that may seem so obvious to you. It is so much appreciated!!!
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