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2009 Thrill on the Hill

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The third annual Thrill on the Hill event was held this year outside Cloudcroft, New Mexico on Labor Day Weekend. The HQ headquarters for the event was Camp of the Tall Pines, high in the mountains near Weed, NM. Nearly 70 FJ Cruisers made the trek this year, the weather cooperated (for the most part), and everyone had an amazing time!

On Friday everyone got registered and some decided hit the trail before the group photo. The town of Cloudcroft was nice enough to let TOTH participants block off the street in front of the historic buildings in town. The pics turned out great!

We arrived late on Saturday, so we didn’t get a chance to run any trails. We did manage to play in the mud puddle in the dark though, the pics didn’t come out very good – but check out our YouTube channel for a short video of our play time.

On Sunday morning, FJ’s were lined up at the staging areas nice & early. We were scheduled to run Upper Pendleton Canyon with a pretty large group. Brandon Burling, the organizer of the event, led our group up the trail with his trusty sidekick. After a dusty drive to the trailhead, everyone got aired down  and we were ready to hit the trail.

We wanted to take a second to thank everyone that helped us on the Upper Pendleton trail run at the Thrill on the Hill. While running through a puddle one of our rear lower control arm bolts came loose and fell out. Luckily everyone on the trail with us (especially Paul Bearce & his son) chipped in to get us fixed and rolling again. Paul happened to have an extra bolt & nut with him, as he’s experienced this same problem in the past. Thanks to his (and everyone else’s) generosity and good will, a potentially dangerous situation was avoided.

This is just one of hundreds of stories showing just how amazing the FJ Cruiser community is. Every where we go we see FJ owners & enthusiasts ready & willing to help each other out. It’s really amazing to have the privilege to enjoy our country with so many great people.

Thank you all so much for your help!

To avoid this issue in the first place, always make sure you check the torque on all bolts regularly, and use a good thread locker product to ensure your bolts & nuts stay tight!



Most of the trail is very tame, with a 3/10 rating at the worst. There are a few optional obstacles that allowed us to test our FJ’s a little bit. The most popular obstacle on this run was an optional tippy section that really showed how well balanced our FJ’s are (as you can see on the cover). After watching so many different FJ’s go through this obstacle, it’s pretty clear that our Toytec Ultimate lift adds flex. While many of the trucks got very tippy, our run through the obstacle was a little more level.

We asked Brandon Burling what his thoughts on the 2009 Event, this is what he had to say:
“This was my third year planning and hosting The Thrill on the Hill.  I do this on top of my 60 hour a week job as a sales manager for Desert Sun Toyota.  People ask why I do it.  I do it because it is the one thing I look forward to every year.  It is the new people who are attending for the first time that I can't wait to meet and the people that I have become friends with over the three years that meet with a hug instead of a hand shake. We host this event so that everyone knows that they have a friend in the Automotive Industry that are here for them that can cater to their needs! It is such a great fun packed weekend of off-roading, live entertainment, great raffles, and great camaraderie.  I hope to see you all at the Fourth Annual Thrill on the Hill Labor Day Weekend, 2010!” – Brandon Burling, Thrill on the Hill Host

We were very excited to attend our first Thrill on the Hill, and can’t wait until next year. Brandon and all of his great volunteers did an outstanding job at putting this event together. The best way we heard it described is that it’s a very ‘social’ event. See everyone in 2010!

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Thrill on the Hill Lineup
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  • Thrill on the Hill Lineup
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    Read 3942 times Last modified on %PM, %13 %124 %2011 %19:%Apr

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