Photos: Brian McGee, Edmyr “Erok” Barayang, Kevin Sugiyama & Marko Campo
Now that life is getting back to normal after those crazy two years due to Covid, everyone wants to be out to make up for lost times, especially those who have an adventurous spirit. Off-road-centric events are becoming increasingly popular these days. The next big event to hit SoCal is the Rodeo X Rigs presented by Trail Wolves (a growing off-road community collective centered around expanding the lifestyle through events, merchandise and more).
Their Rodeo X Rigs Vol.3 was their most recent event and took place on Mar 20, 2022, which was their most important meeting to date. According to Trail Wolves founder and event organizer Jason Flores, the third installment turned out to be an event way beyond their expectations. About 500 rigs showed up for the event, with just under 40 different vendors in attendance. An estimated 800+ came out to enjoy the show throughout the day. They even had a small group convoy from Las Vegas, NV, come out to Rodeo X, with a few others making the trip from Northern California and San Diego. Held at the Rodeo X Public Market in Ontario, CA, the location has become a great backdrop for the off-roading community to gather for some fun, drinks and a good time sharing what they love about the lifestyle.
We caught up with Jason Flores to learn more about Trail Wolves and Rodeo X Rigs events!
How did you first get involved in the off-road community?
Before the pandemic, I started getting involved with the off-road / Overlanding community. I occasionally joined friends and family on the trails by off-roading, camping, hiking or biking on my off time and developed a new love for it. We all get caught up with busy lives and it was refreshing to get back out in the wild away from life stressors.
What is Trail Wolves and how did it come about?
In 2018, I got injured on one of my deployments and required surgery. I was always an active person who was outdoors or training, so sitting on the couch during rehab was driving me crazy, and I needed something to do. I always had this idea of one day starting something called “Trail Wolves,” but I didn’t know what that would entail. After throwing some ideas around with family, friends and neighbors, I decided to start a lifestyle brand.
The first thing I wanted to do was get the name out there and the simplest way to accomplish that was to start with an IG account. From there, @Trailwolves was born, and I was surprised at how great of a response it received.
I reached out to a cousin that happened to be in the clothing industry and got some great feedback with direction, designs and advice. My goal was to fill in the gaps between what was already out there, and focus on designing items that I wanted to wear or felt were missing from the scene.
Is Trail Wolves a crew?
The main focus was to build Trail Wolves as an off-road lifestyle brand vs. a crew. A perfect example is NFL jerseys. Some jerseys say Broncos, some say Raiders, 49ers or Rams, but at the end of the day, Nike works with them all and that’s where I wanted to be. I wanted to make sure we could collaborate with everyone and that anyone would feel at home with the pack. We have a trail team that will be starting soon called “The Pack.” Be on the lookout for that!
So why wolves?
I love everything about the wolf. They’re naturally social, prefer to live in family packs, and possess keen traits for lone-wolf survival. They display attributes I would love to pass on to my kids.
Trail Wolves produces Rodeo X Rigs. How did you start the event, and what were your goals for it?
I was part of a group that put events together in Southern California for several years, and I kind of missed it. I also wanted to put together an event to help bring the off-road community together to contribute to various causes. I was just waiting for the right opportunity to make it happen.
So one day, some friends and I were coming back from trailing and decided to stop at Rodeo X to eat. While eating, it was jokingly brought up when (I always use IG names) @TRD_Grey_Mamba, @RigsandPaws and @Silverfoxt4r suggested that Rodeo X would be an excellent location for a meet. I thought to myself, “you know what… you’re right.” So we reached out to RodeoX/Brew Haven and all the local businesses. They all loved the idea and their support and the city of Ontario have been excellent. Currently, we host this event every quarter. With the success of our first three events, we plan to make them better and keep growing the community.
Do you have any other events coming up, and what else can we expect from the Trail Wolves team?
We have quite a few things in the works as far as events. For the summer event, we will be collaborating with Tacoma Beast for their California 10-year anniversary meet. We also have a big mountain bike event up north that we’re putting together to raise money for Autism research. You can find upcoming event information on www.trailwolves.store or by following our @trailwolves and @rodeoxrigs IG’s or the Trail Wolves Facebook page.
As far as expectations, we have some extensive merch collaborations with some tremendous off-road companies coming out. I’ll save that info for the drops. We’ll also be releasing more for the MTB enthusiast. Most guys I trail with bring their mountain bikes with them. It’s a perfect marriage.
I want to thank my wife, kids, family and friends for believing in this and helping me get this far. All the vendors that take part in this fantastic event. I couldn’t do it without all of you! And finally, all the supporters who believe in what we’re trying to do. We spend every ounce of energy trying to give you what you deserve. We spend a lot of time with every design, ensuring it’s packaged with meaning.
It takes a village to raise a family, but it takes a family to build a brand. Join the Pack!