By Matthew Anderson
Jeeps have been a workhorse since 1941. They have been transformed and used for numerous jobs throughout war as well as civilian life. This story is toward the civilian side, but before I go any further, thank you to all of the men and women who have and continue to fight to keep our country safe. This all began by responding to the need of Jeeps at a special once a year event. The year before, only three Jeeps were needed, however, this year it increased to ten since the event has continued to grow in popularity.

The event is called the Dirty Kanza 200, which is a bike race through the Flint Hills of Kansas. Green flowing hills with thousands of bike riders fighting to reach not only the podium, but just to finish the race itself. This is not a race for the faint of heart and if you sign-up to be a 'media taxi', you're in for an experience that is hard to describe. The media taxis consisted of all Jeeps with different configurations from the top on, top off, no doors, and some doors. Each taxi played a different role and had different requirements as some of the passengers wanted to capture video and photos from on top of the Jeeps while others had the need to shoot out of the back hatch for that up close and personal touch.

I was responsible for an all international team from Belgium and I was not sure if they would make it in time. For them, it all started with a flight from Belgium to Kansas that turned into a 48 hour affair for the riders as well as the film crew. Their first 60 miles of the 200 mile race produced 3 flat tires for their rider named Sven Nys. After changing tires at a checkpoint, things improved, but now the problem was not the bike but Sven's himself. We waited and waited at one of the checkpoints for him wondering, another flat? About to pack up and backtrack to find him, we see Sven riding slowly and grimacing in pain from a stomach issue. As he arrived to us, he dismounted from his bike, asked for water and grabbed his hamstring and complained of stomach pains. Sven was out of the race, he couldnt go on, but he spent the rest of his day cheering and talking with other riders and fans, staying until the end to congratulate others competitors at the finish line.

Since I was responsible for the film crew I wanted to ensure they got as much footage as possible. So we left Sven and rushed across the terrain to other checkpoints so that we could get footage of the soon to be winners of the race. It was an amazing experience and having been teamed up with an all international team, I thought it would be tough to do, but it turned out to be an adrenaline filled day with ups and downs just like the race itself. I can see why the DIRTY KANZA 200 continues to grow each year. I hope to see Sven get the opportunity with his busy schedule to come visit Kansas again and tackle the Dirty Kanza once again.

The race coverage would not have been possible with the following clubs being represented at this years event. Thank you to the ten Jeeps from area clubs, which included Flint Hills Jeep Club, Fort Riley Jeep Club, KC Overlanders, Christian Off-Road Association of Kansas City, and Midwest Krawlers.

Want to know who Sven Nys is?