50 Years for the Tacoma Webfooters!
It all happened in “Burt Severeid’s home” where six men (and their lovely wives) gathered for the sole purpose of starting the 4th jeep club in the state of Washington, just behind the infamous Yakima Ridgerunners (#1), Vancouver 4-Wheelers (#2), and the Longview Trailbreakers (#3). An ad was placed in the paper inviting all interested in joining a jeep club. This 4th jeep club sprouted wings on September 7, 1958 by the following jeep enthusiasts: Bruce Cole, Burt Severeid, Norris Nelson, Doug Daquet, Don Prine and Tom Munt. The first meeting was held at “Cole’s Auto Body Shop”.
It was time to name the 4th jeep club. Who’s got any ideas? Burt Severeid said, “How about the Tacoma Webfooters Jeep Club? Oh, the complaints poured in about how silly that name was, but no one else came up with anything else, so it stuck!! The 4th jeep club in the northwest was to be called, “The Tacoma Webfooters” , with Bruce Cole as the first president.
The above mentioned jeep clubs set out to become a state group formerly known as the Pacific Northwest Jeep Association (now known as the Pacific Northwest 4-Wheel Drive Association). Don Armstrong (Yakima Ridgerunner) was the first president with Norris Nelson (Tacoma Webfooter) as the vice-president.
It was interesting how “Playdays” came to be. The Webfooters planned a weekend in May at Bonnell’s property known as “The 40 Acres” to “play in our jeeps”. The weekend was simply a time for our club to enjoy some family fun. An obstacle course was created with water and stumps, hills and valleys, and a really cool tire pit! We also had pole bending (instead of barrels) where jeeps weave in and out of poles. As we got ready to have one of our “play days”, we thought it would be fun to invite neighboring jeep clubs to join us. Donations at the gate, along with our famous “Joe’s Pancake House” paid for trophies. And, how cool were our trophies back then! The men from the jeep club cut the wood, while the ladies labeled the trophies with “alphabet soup” letters which they later used the real fancy “label machines”!! The jeeps that topped each trophy were children’s jeep toys found in the children’s toy sections in stores.
As we evolved, it was extremely important for us to not only have family fun jeeping and trailing, but to help our “jeeping families” in time of need. Sig Mehr was struggling with health issues and so a “4X4 Swap” came to be helping with Sig’s medical bills. Later, Mike Blair was diagnosed with cancer. We stepped up to the plate and created the “Keep Mike Blair Alive”. And then, our own Connie McCaslin struggled with her rheumatoid arthritis/cancer illness and so began the “For Connie’s Sake” fundraiser helping her family pay medical bills. “Helping Hands”, one of our last fund raisers, helped Dan Morris when he injured his hands during a relay race. With the help of every jeep family, every jeep club, we are proud to say that we raised a combined $65,000 for all of the fundraisers. We are so proud to be a part of our “Jeep Family, the PNW4WDA.”
Listed below are some historic events:
- 1958- the beginning of the Tacoma Webfooters
- 1959-help start the first area jeep association, PNWJA
- 1961-our members obtained Ham radio licenses
- 1962-first playday (May: Bonnell’s 40 Acres)
- 1963-Webfooters host the Summer Convention in Fairfax (all by ourselves)!!
- Donated the Top Eliminator trophies (men and women) which we still use today
- •1964-parade assistants for the Daffodil Parade
- 1965-PNWJA became PNW4WDA
- 1966-helped organize “Search and Rescue”
- 1970-Started the “Camp Trophy” to be given at the Summer convention.
- 1980’s- Christmas Parade Assistants (downtown Tacoma)
- 1972 – First Beach Clean Up
- 1985- Fund raiser: “4X4 Swap” for Sig Mehr
- 1985- Ocean Doe Run
- 1986- Naches Doe Run
- 2001- Fund raiser: “Keep Mike Blair Alive” ($40,000 raised)
- 2003- Fund raiser: “For Connie’s Sake” ($20,000 raised)
- 2005- “Helping Hands” for Dan Morris ($2,500 raised)
Proud to continue the legacy of their parents who chartered the best club in the world (as Norris Nelson exclaims), the following generations have kept the legacy strong. In order of Charter s Norris Nelson exclaims), the following generations have kept the legacy strong. In order of Charter member’s jeep number:
- Former Webfooters Debbie and Jim Sharbono, daughter of Bruce (#1) and Rina Cole).
- Karen and Dave Benedict (daughters: Liv and Lauren Fode), Mark Nelson (children: Josh, Sam, Britt, Katie Nelson) Naomi and Billy Larsen (daughter: Brianna), son and daughters of Norris (#3) and Alma Nelson
- Dennis and Kathy Martin (children: Machelle , Adrienne, Naomi and Denny), son of Norm (#18) and Winnie Martin
- Curt and Joy Mehr (children: Stephanie and Curtis), son of Sig (#61) and Carol Mehr.
- Former Webfooters Jammer and Carmen Trummert (children Mark, Todd and Kendra) son of Mike and Tootie Trummert and nephew of Skeet (#19) and Bev Trummert.
- Conrad Weber Jr., son on Conrad Weber (# ).
- Kevin and Chris Peterson (sons Josh and Austin) and Chris and Lynn Peterson, sons of Keith (#124) and Karon Peterson.