By Jon Maib
What do you get when you combine an event that is on its 3rd year with an event that's on its 7th year? One seriously awesome event! This last October, the Crawl for a Reason; benefiting the American Cancer Society decided to team up with a local off-road shop; Baertrax and their annual Big Paw Crawl. Last year, Baertrax had set their sights on raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness and after some discussion, the 2 events worked towards one great event; The Big Paw Crawl for a Reason. What made the Big Paw Crawl for a Reason so special is that it was not vehicle specific, giving the event an ability to reach a wide variety of off-roaders in order to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The mega event was held at the Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area in Gilmer, TX. Barnwell is a fantastic place to go and wheel as it offers a little something for everyone; from mild trails to the extreme. Registration and open wheelin' began on Friday afternoon for those who ditched work to get out and have some time to find a camp site, get registered and get some wheelin' in before the pre-planned events began. Later that evening, the Big Paw Crawl for a Reason had setup a poker run on one of the easier trails for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

On Saturday, registration continued along with trail registration. The event coordinators setup an Excel spreadsheet on a laptop where participants could sign up for their level of difficulty. Each trail leader was given about 10-15 vehicles in their group in order to try and keep them small, which allowed the trail rides to be more enjoyable for the participants. I decided to jump in with some of the beginner groups to see how some of the 'new to the sport' participants handled the trails. The group had a mix of vehicles with some being completely stock and never been off-road before to fully built rigs that just wanted to take it easy at first. One of the Jeeps in this group still had paper tags from the dealer and owner had only owned for a couple months. Surprisingly, this driver happened to grab a bad line on an obstacle and managed to roll his new Jeep on its side during the trail ride, luckily no one was hurt.

Throughout the day, there were additional events setup for those that wanted to have a little more fun and a chance to win some cool shop made trophies. Collin County Off-Road setup an off-road obstacle course for participants to race through for times giving participants a chance to see who could complete the course the quickest. This was a great event to watch as the participants raced their vehicles as quickly as they could over some of the rough terrain. There was a lot of action during this event too; including airborne vehicles, flat tires and even a busted oil pan!

The other event that drew a lot of participants and spectators alike, was the Rock Garden challenge. Barnwell Mountain has setup a large strip of scattered boulders that you can navigate across. This was another timed event to see who could be the quickest across to the other end. Lone Star Jeep Club sponsored the event and setup each participant and their vehicle into the respective race categories. There was no lack of excitement as the large rigs with big motors and tires ripped through the rock garden.

After the events of the day, the Big Paw Crawl for a Reason had setup a big BBQ dinner. For those that purchased that a part of their package, they got to sit down to some great brisket and sausage and all the delicious sides that go along with a great BBQ. This was a great time for participants to just sit and chat and share their stories and excitement of the day. As dinner wrapped up, it was time for the one event everyone looks forward to. The Raffle! With tickets in hand, participants had opportunities to win some great products from many of our industries top companies. The best part of this raffle is that ALL proceeds go directly to the American Cancer Society to help 'Kick Cancer in the Axle'.

At the end of the day, the Bip Paw Crawl for a reason was able to raise $25,000 for the American Cancer Society. After the event, some of the event staff were able to meet up at the title sponsor, Dodge City of McKinney, location to present the American Cancer Society with their check as well as provide the sponsor banner and a personally signed banner from the Big Paw Crawl for a Reason particpants who shared their cancer stories.

These types of events would not be possible if not for the amazing heart of all the sponsors in the off-road industry. Be sure and thank these companies if you ever get the opportunity, they are giving out of their own pockets to ensure events like this continue to thrive!

So, from the staff at, Thank you to all the sponsors that helped with the Big Paw Crawl for a Reason this year!