January 24, 2023
Midland Radio donated handhelds and GMRS MicroMobile Two-Way Radios to a Subaru group based in Madison, Wisconsin.
The group's Sponsor Manager, Jon Garland shares more about their events and how two-way radios play a role.
Subaru FL4TFEST is an automotive festival in Madison, WI.
“It’s a charitable organization that we call Subaru Flat Fest, an event that has run for over a decade. It started as a cars and coffee at a local Subaru dealer, it outgrew the lot, and we ended up working with a local speedway," Garland said.
The speedway event features events such as AutoX racing, Street Drags, an off-road playground, silent auction, and more.
In 2020, the group added the Flat Fest Overland Adventure.
“It started during Covid because everyone was in their own car, we were camping, and outdoors the whole time so it was a way to gather. It was such a hit that the first year we had 14 cars."
The group began the adventure in Northern Wisconsin and went out to the tip of Keweenaw Peninsula, bringing all the attendees to a truly breathtaking sight.
"It’s about 600 miles of off-road trails that take you out to the literal land’s end point. It’s out in the middle of Lake Superior. It’s absolutely beautiful. We were out there for sunrise on our last morning.”
For the organization, there has always been a mission to give back to the community.
“We’re dealing with people who are putting additional money into fully functional automobiles. If you have money to buy fancy tires, the horsepower, the roof rack, you probably have a couple of dollars you can drop in the bucket for a children’s hospital or for puppies.”
Garland said it's incredible to give back through a hobby and something that is central to the Subaru community.
“Subaru people are generally just good-hearted, awesome people. It’s truly a huge number of people coming together for that effort to use our hobby for collective good.”
For Garland, giving back gives him a sense of pride within his community.
“We have people from all over the country and it is just great to see how this community comes together. I feel so proud getting to make these donations, turning it over, and getting the hug from those who are going to use the money."
He said the group's goal is to continue to raise more and more money each year.
However, this year two-way radios- FRS or GMRS were required at the overland adventure event after previous trips.
“During our first year on the overlanding trip, we had like 13 or 14 cars. We didn’t require radios, but suggested that people have them. It made the driving portions stressful because not everybody could communicate. It was confusing and it made things take longer because we had to keep stopping. Immediately following that trip, I decided radios needed to be required."
Garland noticed just how much more efficient the trip was with the requirement of handhelds or GMRS MicroMobiles.
“This year we had 34 cars and nearly 60 people on the trip. Every single person had a radio. If they didn’t come with one, they were loaned one from our group. It made the trip run flawlessly. We are traveling the woods, the mountains, and through other areas without cellphone service. In the small groups that we had, we were in full communication the whole time. Whether it was warning of oncoming traffic, on very tight ORV trails, making sure everyone was sticking together, someone letting us know they needed to stop for gas, wanted to pull over for a photo, whatever it was the radios were in constant use the entire trip.”
Garland said radios were the unsung hero the adventure and even came in handy when he experienced vehicle issues.
“On the last day after 600 miles of off-roading, at the very final spot where we were catching the sunrise. My axel broke and basically I had to get towed back by one of my buddies four miles along a trail. He and I are were in communication 100% of the time as we went over terrain and obstacles. We had to discuss sharing brake load and being aware of what was coming up. We also used the radios to let everybody else know that we were okay.”