By Jon Maib
with John Kistner
The wait is over, the all new BFG KM3 mud terrains have officially been launched and only the elite were invited to the epic release party. 'BFG on Rubicon' is the first tire manufacturer to launch a tire on the Rubicon trail and their goal was to make an experience no one would forget. I was not one of the elite chosen; however, I happen to know someone who was. John Kistner of Baa Baa Black Jeep was invited by BFG to come to the Rubicon trail in Lake Tahoe, CA to see what this new mud terrain could do in the most spectacular off-road location on the planet. I had an opportunity to sit down with John to hear all about his adventure and interactions with this new tire.

I began by asking John how he felt when he got the news that he had been invited to join BFG on the Rubicon, and he told me that he "couldn't believe it and was excited to get the opportunity to interact with the new KM3". John has been a brand ambassador running BFG KM2s on his Baa Baa Black Jeep for about 18 months and was ready to compare the tires. John shared that after he received the news, BFG sent all participants selected a list of who would be in their group and recommended they look each other up on social media and get to know one another. After John researched those that were in his group, he told me, "I kinda felt like a fish out of water", because many of the names on his list were big names in the off-road industry.

BFG went over the top on this launch by taking care of all participants travel and lodging for the event. Upon arrival in California, John was met by BFG staff where they went over the obligatory legal paper work and then John was paired up with Chris from Spiderwebshade. They were then handed the keys to a Toyota Tacoma that had been outfitted with the new KM3s. The BFG staff went over the GPS navigation and informed them they had 5 stops to check out along their route. The idea was for them to see how the new tires behave on the pavement and to get a feel for their road characteristics. The first thing John and Chris noticed about the new KM3s versus the KM2s is how much more quiet the new mud terrains were, "like all-terrain tire quiet!" What John and Chris quickly discovered was that at each of the planned route stops, there were camera crews awaiting them to grab their first reactions to the new tires. BFG wanted that raw, unscripted review of how the tires were performing. The rest of their 1st day was filled with following Jessi Combs for a short fire road tour (if you ever run into John, ask him about that story, it's pretty funny), getting setup at the lodge that BFG provided, meeting the professional drivers scheduled to help with the trail and checking out all the cool vehicles BFG had onsite loaded with the KM3s.

The next day, BFG had enlisted 3 helicopters to whisk participants from the lodge to just below the 'Little Sluice' on the Rubicon where John had the opportunity to drive and ride passenger in several different vehicles while testing the KM3s on the scenic Rubicon trail. During this time, John noticed that the KM3s "were sticking to the rocks providing excellent traction even in wet and slippery conditions." After some time behind the wheel crawling the granite rocks of the Rubicon and putting the KM3's to the test, the group met up at Spider Lake where they were given the opportunity to ride in some Ultra 4 buggies. John tells me that was some ride, "The suspensions in those aren't very soft and was not my kind of ride. It was a very rough ride". After being beat up by an Ultra 4, John was then flown back to the lodge via helicopter where 2 more rides were awaiting. The first being Razors, where John was handed the driver's seat to run up and down some of the nearby fire roads. John explains to me at this time that he looks in his rearview mirror and sees Jessi Combs climbing in the razor directly behind him. His thought was "boy, I'm in trouble here and am going to have to push this or she's gonna be frustrated with me". They raced up the fire roads (probably a bit faster than John was comfortable with) and then headed back down. Once they were down, it was then time for John and the rest of the group to get in the passenger seat of some Ford Raptors with professional off-road racers where they pushed the limits of the KM3's at high speed. These experiences BFG provided to the participants were above and beyond, pushing all limits of their newly redesigned KM3.

At dinner that evening, John tells me he had an opportunity to sit down with one of the engineers that worked on designing and building the KM3. He was told that the KM3 has been in the design phase for many years. The original designs were hand cut, tested, recut, tested and this continued until they found the right combination of an aggressive mud tire with the quietness of an all-terrain. The BFG engineer discussed how they had to make small tweaks to get it just right and even had an example of how much thicker the sidewalls are compared to the KM2.

John shared with me that the 'BFG on Rubicon' experience was "extremely well planned and executed" and that what he saw from the new KM3's are everything we expect from a serious mud terrain tire. The KM3 was designed to outperform the KM2's in every aspect and it seems that BFG helped capture that all in one experience.

With all the amazing things that BFG provided for those that particpated, I asked John what his favorite part of this experience was. John said, "The celebrities". John got to meet and interact with some of the bigest names in the off-road industry.

A special thanks to John for sitting down with me to share his amazing experience. If you have not followed Baa Baa Black Jeep on social media, you have missed some of the great things John has done in the Jeep world. A couple years ago, John organized over 300 Jeeps to setup at a local balloon festival to create the form of the great state of Texas. John has also been a huge help in making the Off-Road Expo's here at the Texas Motor Speed way each March, an amazing event for kids and adults. Be sure to go and follow @Baabaablackjeep on Facebook and Instagram.