This was written by Bryan Lott, one of our most active members. He is sharing his membership experience with CO4x4RnR.
CO4x4RnR is an amazing organization, from both the inside and the outside.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to own a Wrangler and be on a Search and Rescue team. As I grew older, bought my Wrangler (a red TJ) and started investigating some of the SAR teams close to the Denver area, the amount of training, certification, and time required to become a member stunned me. It didn't dampen my enthusiasm, but I began searching for a "SAR lite" to find out if it was something I wanted to put countless dollars and 300+ volunteer hours into every year. Cue the spotting of a CO4x4RnR sticker on the back of a white(?) pickup along Wadsworth. I remember checking out the website, reading about the group, and thinking it was a good mission and might fit the bill.
Then, as it usually does, life happened. I got busy with work and home, had to deal with a death in the family and forgot my dream for a while. Later on, I saw another (same?) white pickup with the same sticker. It peaked my interest again. By this time, I had swapped my beloved-but-falling-apart TJ for a new black JK. I hesitantly joined the Facebook call-out page and it wasn't long before a recovery popped up. I'll never forget the mission to recover a Blazer from Slaughterhouse Gulch.
All I had at that time was what the JK came with stock, a Warn winch on the front, and only a vague sense of how to use either off-road. I volunteered for the first recovery to be a ride-along. That way I could get a feel for both the mission as well as the people that usually volunteered. The 4x4 world can sometimes be a little rough and tumble and I wanted to make sure this group was one I could get along with and learn from.
Needless to say, I was blown away by the skill, enthusiasm, and camaraderie of that group. especially because they were giving their own time and equipment to save someone's only vehicle. I'll be honest, it hit me right in the feels and I was hooked. I'm pretty sure my better half had her ear talked off that night, once I got home! In the next couple of weeks, I started gearing up. I won't lie, it wasn't cheap, but once I realized the difference I could make in someone else's life, there wasn't any choice for me.
Gear is one thing but skill is definitely something else. I remember thinking at the time, "who better to learn from than the men and women that recover people and vehicles?" The first few months were spent packing in the information that I was getting on every recovery. That alone was worth the cost of membership. I originally joined at the basic level but when the opportunity came to be trained by an I4WDTA certified trainer, I'm sure you can imagine that I was the first to jump on it, as well as the advanced membership. I wanted to make sure that I was being as safe and effective as I could.
Again, I was blown away by the professionalism and the amount of knowledge I gained after 8 hours in the field with Matt Balazs from On Trail Training. After that training, I felt more prepared than I had ever been to recover vehicles in the field. My 4x4 driving skills probably needed some work, however. Luckily, I was able to gain a fantastic mentor (you know who you are, lol) that rebuilt my skills up from the very basics. Since then I've been guided and trained by many other members of the organization.
When the idea of a Search and Rescue Emergency Support team was brought up, again I jumped at it. If you can't tell by now, I seem to be a bit of a training junkie! Gotta get my fix!
To date, I've had the opportunity to train in:
- Recovery Skills 1
- Recovery Skills 2
- Wilderness First Aid and CPR
- 4x4 Driving Techniques (via my mentor)
Knowing this group, that's just the beginning of what they are going to offer in the future.
35+ recoveries in and CO4x4RnR has given me the chance to pursue my dream, join a fantastic group of people that I won't hesitate to put my life in their hands, and truly make a difference in people's lives on their worst day. In my opinion, you can't put a price on that.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy. Join us. We emphasize training and teamwork and provide both. Please explore our membership link on our website, and see what level appeals to you most.
Feel free to contact the BOD with further questions or if you would like a representative come speak to your organization or club.