WHO ARE WE?
Tyler and I moved to Texas 5 years ago with our four children and couldn't be happier. The Masons were so excited to get to move to Texas! Tyler and I are both from Nevada. Amy grew up in Las Vegas and Tyler grew up in rural Nevada in small town called Alamo. He discovered at a young age his love for off-roading and adventure. He would spend countless hours on dirt roads exploring the mountains in Nevada.
BACK TO WHAT WE LOVE
When COVID hit we knew that our vacations were going to have to change. We went from flying all over the world and got back to what we love most, off-roading! When we heard the news about Ford coming out with the new Bronco we knew we needed to have one. We signed up ASAP. Then we waited, and waited, and waited, and then waited some more. One of us was a little more patient than the other. While we played the waiting game, Tyler was scoping out all of the new Bronco Facebook pages. One day he stumbled upon a Ford dealership selling a Bronco where the deal had fallen through. Tyler talked me into "just going to go look at it" and ended up buying what is now known as the BroncBuster!
We loved it! Our first off-road park was at Marble Falls, where we met some great people out on the trails. They let us join their Jeep club even though we were the outsiders and taught us a few tricks and egged my husband to do some of the harder obstacles, which wasn't very hard to do. We soon found a weak point on our beloved BroncBuster. While going up King of the Hill at Katemcy Rocks in Mason Texas, the tie rods busted and stripped out the steering rack and now our new Bronco had wonky looking tires. The picture went viral and the internet quickly made Bronco Hugs a meme. We caught a lot of attention after that.
Even though construction is Tyler's occupation, he loves a challenge and mechanics. So, Tyler went straight to work trying to figure out the why and how to make it better. Ford didn't offer much help in this department. Tyler, with the help of 2 Fat Guys Offroad, was able to fabricate custom heim joint tie rods.
Meanwhile, the internet, mainly TikTok, blew up from all of the videos Tyler had been posting. The Jeepers were loving the broken Bronco. They really liked to talk smack and try to get a rise out of Tyler, but Tyler loved giving it right back. Soon we saw such a huge interest that we decided to keep up with social media. One of the commentators caught Tyler’s attention. The name sounded familiar, so he looked into it a little and found out that it was Kevin Williams with Lite Brite Nation. One thing led to another and soon they set up a meet to do the Maze at Sand Hallow in Utah. The pressure was on now to get our Bronco back up and running. In addition, with the inspiration from 2 Fat Guys Offroad we decided to build the widest stance Bronco on 40's in the country. We knew this was going to be a risk since the known weak steering rack would most likely be our next failed point. We had a lot of support from friends, family, and Brendan Kaye one of our biggest cheerleaders and fan of the Bronco. On the night we left for our meet-up with Lite Brite, we finally rolled out with our rig fixed up and looking nice. Heading for Utah around midnight.
TRIAL AND ERROR
We wanted to make our first stop at Moab Utah. Moab was beautiful and the rock crawling was amazing. Once again, we met some pretty cool people. We had a great time, but it wasn't without some set-backs. Once again the tie rods busted. We had to limp it back to the truck and trailer.
We were quickly learning that the strain from the big tires and lift were problematic with the knuckles on the new heim set up. We were learning that we need joints with more articulation.
We Found a group of Jeepers in Las Vegas on Facebook that wanted to go do some off-roading with us. By now Tyler and Brendan were getting really good at fixing the tie rods on the fly. We had our box of parts and set off for Tie Rod Canyon. Once again, we met some awesome people. I have learned by this point that no matter where we go there are always such fun and amazing people. On this trip we broke a lot, but the boys would fix it, then get back on the trail. After a while, we decided to call it a day and headed to an off-road store in Las Vegas to acquire different heims that would allow for a steeper angle articulation without breaking the bolts. We went to our brother-in-laws shop to re-fabricate the new tie rods. When we got there, Chris had brought his boys with him to help. It was great watching our nephews working and helping. After a lot of fabricating, we had a finished product!
MAZE PART ONE WITH LITE BRITE NATION
Now we were set for The Maze at Sand Hallow with Lite Brite Nation. Everyone there was super nice and excited to see how the Bronco would hold up against their Jeep. It didn't go as well as we had hoped. The tie rods held up, so that was a plus! However the steering rack failed and intermittently lost steering input. We were going to have to limp back to the trailer. Luckily the steering would re-engage every so often and was drivable for a little bit then it would slip and then absolutely no steering at all. It went on like this all the way back to the trailer. On our drive from Utah back to Vegas, Tyler kept wondering what the cause was. Since he had already dissected the broken rack several times he was intimately familiar with the components of the steering rack.
TIME FOR A SOLUTION
Then he had a light bulb moment and immediately had to pull over at the nearest gas station. That is where Tyler and Brendan pulled the steering rack out to get a better idea and that is when he knew what needed to be done. But now he had to figure out how and where to get a prototype built on Thanksgiving. He got to calling around and finally found someone who could help build a prototype part. We were so excited and surprised that someone was able to do this for us with such short notice and on Thanksgiving. A little while later come to find out that it was just a Vegas number but the company was actually in Canada. Back to the drawing board! We were at Tyler's sister’s house for Thanksgiving and everyone was trying to help with ideas. Tyler, Brendan, and our nephews fabricated a prototype that would allow us to have proof of concept. Now for the test drive down the Las Vegas strip. It was a success. Everyone was so excited. The next day Tyler took the Bronco to do some more aggressive driving to test the new part. He did about 120 miles of dirt road with intermitting rock crawling. When he got back into cell service there was another invite to do a night run at Tie Rod Canyon and, of course, he couldn't turn down an opportunity to redeem himself.
Tie Rod Canyon was a success. He was able to do all the obstacles and even some that the other Jeep didn't do. We came up to this one climb that was pretty intense. Our newfound friend Nicole went for it and unfortunately busted her steering, but everyone wanted to see if the BroncBuster was capable or not. Tyler was a little nervous, but he knew he had to do it. Not only did the BroncoBuster make it up, he did it with ease. Tyler was on cloud nine and couldn't wait to message Kevin Williams with Lite Brite and see about a rematch. They were down with the idea and the rematch was set for Sunday.
YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?
The Maze part 2. We got back out on the trail and had so much fun. We we're able to do all the obstacles! Kevin Williams had the brilliant, maybe even a little crazy idea to run a trail blindfolded. He had his passenger spot him and give him directions. They did it! So of course, Tyler had to try it as well. They looked to me to spot Tyler. I was not about to jump on the crazy train. Another driver jumped in with Tyler to spot for him. Tyler did it with no problem! He was able to do all the Maze without any steering issues. Now after all these tests it was time to go home and get to work turning this idea into something that we can reproduce to sell to others and hopefully make lifting and adding bigger tires safe for everyone.
Once we got home, Tyler got to calling around to find a machine shop that would be willing to help us create our part. Several shops were busy and were up to 6 weeks out. We didn't have that kind of time. Finally, he found Jimmy and his son Joe at Joe's industrial Machine Shop in San Antonio. The father and son have been so helpful in coming up with ideas and listening to ALL of Tyler's ideas. Through a lot of trial and error and a lot of late nights in the garage, Tyler has been able to find and produce a product to help others.
WOLF CAVES WITH HELLABADBRONCOS
Through social media we found Jesse and his amazing collection of restored Broncos. They wanted to go ride with us, so we got a date set up. They came out with their newly lifted brand-new Broncos. On the first obstacle one of the guys broke his steering! Tyler told him exactly what was wrong, and that we were working on how to fix it. He advised him to not do anymore driving and should have it trailered back home. By the end of the day the guys steering had re-engaged and was driving just fine. So, the driver figured it would be okay to drive home. He got 5 miles down the road and lost total steering, just like Tyler was afraid of. Thankfully the steering was already aimed towards the right and he drove off into the ditch. Otherwise, he would have had a head on collision with the oncoming traffic. With this new information it just intensified Tyler's drive to get this part manufactured and out to others ASAP.
KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE
Through it all Tyler and I have learned that life is a gift. We are beyond blessed to do what we love and share our solution with others. We want others to be able to do what they love without the risk of breaking on or off the road. We have met some amazing people along the way and our ever-growing team will continue to be committed to the "see a problem - work to solve that problem" way of life. By working together, we can accomplish anything.