June 28, 2022
The event connects Jeepers to vendors in a multi-day event. The Lone Star Jeep Invasion has also found a way to give back to the local community.
Andrea Ellis and her husband founded the Lone Star Jeep Invasion in 2018, with the first event taking place in 2019.
This year's event took place on March 5 and 6.
It is a vendor-based event, the largest of its kind in Texas.
“We pride ourselves on being the only large, vendor-only expo for Jeeps here in Texas. We also bring in people from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico. We get a lot of big, national vendors attending our event," Ellis said.
The Ellis' founded the event after attending several vendor shows themselves.
“My husband and I are actually vendors. We’ve been doing vendor shows since 2015 when we began our business- Texas Ace Designs. At one point my husband said we needed something like this in Texas. We decided to make it happen," she said.
While being the organizer of an event is different than attending as a vendor, Ellis said she's proud of how the event has grown.
“It’s definitely different and you get to see a whole other side of things. It’s been pretty great because we’ve made friends along the way as vendors, but just having their support has been very, very helpful and supportive.”
In 2019, the event brought over 600 Jeeps with more than 1,100 people attending.
2020 was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but 2021 had 725+ Jeeps and well over 1,800 people in attendance.
That only grew in 2022 with more than 800 Jeeps and 1,900 people in attendance.
She said the sky is the limit for events in the future.
“I just hope to continue to keep growing the event as much as we can. I love seeing how happy and exciting the attendees are. I learn about how they look forward to coming back in the future. We get new vendors each year and it is very rewarding.”
The Lone Star Jeep Invasion collects food and donations to give back to the community.
“We did this to keep people together and go back to the basics of why we became Jeepers, why we are still Jeepers, and that is for the love of Jeeps, but to also give back."
"We always pick a veteran-based charity because Jeepers in general always support the veteran community. A lot of Jeepers are veterans. We strive to help," Ellis said.
Ellis said they raise money for different charities each year.
Collecting food has become a fun competition for different Jeep groups attending the event. The food goes to the Montgomery County Food Bank.
“People come in, they park, they donate food. We did it as a fun competition to see what group can donate the most food in weight. We have a heavyweight trophy that goes out when we do awards.”
Ellis said helping donate food has always been important, but only saw that need increase throughout the pandemic.
“There is always a need to help with food donations because food insecurity is an issue.”
In 2019, The Lone Star Jeep Invasion collected 1,650 pounds of food and raised $8,500.
That only grew in 2021 with 1,900 pounds of food and $10,000 raised.
2022 saw $9,000 raised for the charities and 3,101 pounds of food collected.
The team working the event used Midland Radio's GXT1000s.
“For the event, we’re sitting on several acres on the fairgrounds. Being able to ask someone to bring me change, getting an issue resolved quickly, having instant communication is very, very helpful.”
The MXT275 was a raffle prize.
As an avid Jeeper, Ellis knows how important reliable communication is.
“We did a run through the national forest on Friday night. Having that communication to check to see if people got stuck at the light or getting that key information is so important to safety.”
Ellis knew she wanted to reach out to Midland Radio because she knows firsthand how reliable the radios are.
“Midland Radio is a trusted brand. I’ve used Midland Radio's walkie talkies in the past and we know it has the range.”