Bronco Driver magazine’s annual Super Celebration has been going on in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee for 17 years.
This past weekend saw the celebration of all things Ford Bronco head west for the first time, coming to the historic Rodeo Grounds in Buena Vista.
“This was our first trip to Colorado, at the Rodeo Grounds,” said Tom Broberg, publisher of Bronco Driver and the Super Celebration organizer.
The festival brought about 230 Broncos from 35 states, Broberg said.
The Super Celebration East, typically held in Townsend, Tenn., near Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in April, hosts 600-800 Broncos – a size Broberg believes the western festival can grow to, or even exceed over time.
Buena Vista was also the site of the first-ever public appearance of the 2021 Ford Bronco.
“Ford had two of the new Broncos out there for the public to walk around and see that new vehicle,” Broberg said.
Aside from the metaphorical harmoniousness of gathering broncos at a rodeo, the venue was appealing for its central location – not just in the state, but in the midst of countless offroading opportunities in both the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges.
“Over the course of the 4-day event we took them on over 12 rides throughout the area,” Broberg said. “Chinaman’s Gulch, the Fourmile area. We even took them down to the Royal Gorge bridge and the managers gave us access to drive the broncos across the bridge. It’s a 4-day festival with the Ford Bronco, and your area has just unlimited beauty and access to play with these things.”
Broberg said the Super Celebration West intends to be an annual event. Eventually it may relocate to elsewhere in the state, such as Aspen or Ouray, but “right now we have so much ground to cover in Buena Vista. We barely scratched the surface the 4 days we were there.”
The festival toured Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass, as well as the substantially more demanding crossing of the continental divide at Tincup Pass.
The festival also saw the premiere Friday at the Comanche Drive-in of “John Bronco,” a documentary about the original pitchman for the 1966 Ford Bronco, as well as his mysterious disappearance.
Broberg said that the Super Celebration was intentionally chosen for the first weekend after Labor Day weekend to support local businesses after the busy summer season had ended.
On Friday, attendees drove their Broncos into town and patronized local restaurants and establishments.
“Our philosophy is we want to help the local businesses and spend as much money locally with our group as possible,” Broberg said.
One event, a trip up to the Rally Mine, was cancelled because of a late summer snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of winter.
“It was kind of dangerous up there,” Broberg said. “They loved it, though. Now they expect they’re gonna get snow there every year.”