MONROE — Here in glacier-scraped northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, there aren’t too many places that have the hills, valleys, and rock formations that make off-roading exciting. So almost two decades ago, Ralph Mahalak Jr. decided to build some.
“We were trying to tell people it’s not just Wrangler. Liberty can go off-road too,” Mr. Mahalak, owner of the Monroe Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Superstore, said in a recent interview.
The Jeep Liberty is long gone, but Mr. Mahalak’s off-road course remains. The course just received another revamp ahead of this weekend’s Toledo Jeep Fest. The dealership is kicking off the three-day event by opening its acre-and-a-half off-road playground to what’s expected to be hundreds of Jeepers. Mr. Mahalak said he spent about $10,000 this summer to repair and update the course in anticipation of the event.
“For us, we like being unique and different. That’s been my schtick since I sat in this chair 32 years ago. That’s why I had the ESPN Toledo radio show that we had for six years, [and] the off road course. I don’t have the same arch as everybody else in Detroit and Toledo,” Mr. Mahalak said. “Why do I want to be the same as everybody else? I want to be different.”
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