By Tim Duenkel (WOHVA CEO)
In the spring of 2004 a group of 4 Wheel Drive enthusiasts began the brainstorming process of developing a new state level association. This new association was primarily focused on 4WD vehicles but also wanted to involve all forms of off road recreationalists. In October 2004, after 6 months of hard work and long hours, the Wisconsin Off-Highway Vehicle Association (WOHVA) was born.
Many state level associations focus solely on club memberships. This new association wanted to take a different approach. WOHVA wanted to represent individual members while at the same time, encouraging club memberships and Corporate Sponsorships. At the time of the Incorporation, there were 3 founding clubs, the Legendary Civilian Jeepers (LCJs), Damage Inc. and Extreme Offroaders 4X4 Club. The members of these clubs made up the original membership of WOHVA.
WOHVA began working with private, state and federal land managers as well as local business’ fostering relationships and building trust.
Shortly after incorporation, WOHVA started the State Trails Exchange Program (STEP). This later became what is now known as the Great Northern Trail Ride (GNTR) and still is an active event to this day.
In April 2005 WOHVA hosted the 1st Annual OHV Enthusiast Workshops and Membership Meeting. Our first few events were held at Potawatomi Casino and Convention Center in Wabeno, WI. In 2008 this was moved to the Mole Lake Lodge and Convention Center. WOHVA has hosted dignitaries such as Trail Ambassador Del Albright, State and Local Politicians, Representative from BRC, United 4 Wheel Drive Association, TreadLightly, National and State Forest managers, WI DNR, NOHVCC and many more. Workshop topics ranged from: Tread Trainer, Chain Saw Safety Training, Trail Building Principles, First Aid/CPR, Trail Patrol, just to name a few.
In 2007 WOHVA got its big break into 4WD recreation. The Sokaogon Chippewa (Mole Lake Band of Superior Chippewa Indians) partnered with WOHVA and reached an agreement on August 1st 2007, by passing a Resolution allowing WOHVA to develop a trail network supporting 4WD, ATVs and OHMs on the Reservation. Trail development activities began immediately. WOHVA moved the STEP event to the Mole Lake Reservation for the 2008 event. This was the first official organized trail ride on the property.
In 2009 WOHVA got another huge break by securing the host agency for the Northwoods – Mole Lake Jeep Jamboree USA event. WOHVA hosted the JJUSA event through the 2016 season. This event is still in operation at Mole Lake now hosted by Titletown Jeepers.
After transferring the host responsibilities for the JJUSA event, WOHVA began planning a possible “re-branding” of the association. While continuing to host the GNTR event now at Apple Valley Farms, membership became stagnate. The leadership of WOHVA then began discussions with other 4WD based groups in hopes of a consolidation of sorts.
So this brings us to where we are today. The formation of the Wisconsin Coalition of Four Wheel Drives. A merge of the two associations along with other groups. WOHVA is excited to enter into this new endeavor. New attitude, new ideas, new people and unending possibilities!