Classes & Schedule

Class offerings will be updated here as details become available. We are working on publishing a final schedule, however we are receiving a large number of last minute submissions. All classes are complimentary with your attendee day/weekend pass, vendor, media representative, volunteer or instructor pass.

Featured Instructors

Lead Instructor: Bob Wohlers

OffroadAcademy Logo4c 2015

Bob is the lead trainer at the Big Sky Overland Rally. The training clinics he will deliver at the Rally are very popular and typically draw large crowds at other overlanding events. If you want to feel more comfortable off-roading in the remote backcountry, make sure you attend. Bob will have three of his books on offroading safety available for purchase at the event. You can also find them on his website or on Amazon. 

Bob has been an avid off-roader his entire life. He knows the “zen” and “fine art” of safe and environmentally responsible off-road driving. Bob has overlanded across the USA, in Egypt, Israel, all over Mexico and Baja, and Belize. Bob now runs full time his company Off-Road Safety Academy. He teaches government, corporate, and recreational off-roading. He has taught National Park Rangers and science personnel how to off-road safety throughout the Southwest. Some of his corporate clients include AT&T and T-Mobile. 

Bob will be teaching the following classes: Powered Winching for Everyone, In-Field Tire Repair and The Total Approach to Getting Unstuck. 

Expedition Overland

Expedition Overland is a reality based web-series following a group of Overlanders and their outfitted vehicles as they explore the world! Having completed the entire Pan-American Highway in 2017, the team is now adventuring close to home with their new series ‘Overlander’. These weekend warrior type episodes dive into all things overlanding and travel with tips and tricks, vehicle maintenance, and experiencing the great outdoors! You can check them out on their youtube channel or the website at xoverland.com.

The XOverland team will be teaching 2 classes at their booth on Saturday: Vehicle Walk Around and Q&A, and XO Ask Anything Q&A

James is a resident of Powell, TN and graduate of the University of Tennessee (UT)with a BA in Geography. He began a hobby of CB radio in 1992 at the age of 14 and then earned his first Amateur Radio License at the age of 15. While in the Marines, James continued his radio experience with helping his infantry platoon with field communication. After graduating UT, he regained his Amateur Radio license with the new call sign of N4EGA. Mixing his cartographic education with his radio experience, James now operates Axles And Antennas as a mixture of ham radio maps, introduction to mobile communications for the overland traveler, and equipment reviews.

James will be teaching the following class: Mobile communications: Introduction to radio basics and overland travel.

Overland Experts began 17 years ago focusing its curriculum on three main principals, personal safety, vehicle safety and environmental safety.  Based on these principals we have developed an adaptable curriculum that fits all different learning styles and can easily be modified in the field to fit the needs of the student.  Our curriculum has been selected by our armed forces, civilian and various commercial groups.

Dan grew up in Montana where he developed a love for the outdoors which created a need to use a vehicle for mobility in the back country.  His military career starting in 2006 brought a need to advance his off road knowledge to further advance his groups effectiveness. Dan and his group attended the Overland Experts course in 2016, upon completion Dan felt the need to continue his education to further his effectiveness while working in Special Forces stationed at Ft. Bragg in NC.  In 2018 Dan left the armed forces and wanted to pass along not only his experiences but also further the effectiveness of military groups who operated off grid and relied on vehicles for mobility.  Joining OEX Dan was able to aid in expanding the curriculum based on real world experiences as well as provide knowledge on foreign vehicle platforms that the military currently employs the use of.

Overland Experts will be teaching the following classes: 

Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood is a resident of Prescott, Arizona but is seriously considering making Bozeman, Montana a new home. (Let’s convince her!) Lauren has roots in the Overland industry, but left those roots temporarily to travel across Mexico. Lauren chose to travel México because she saw it as a country that offered a little bit of everything. Now she’s back and after successfully backpacking across Mexico solo for six months, Lauren is beyond stoked to share her experiences with us this year at the Rally!  If you speak Spanish or want to practice, strike up a conversation with Lolo because she’s got a language itch that needs to be scratched! When Lauren isn’t daydreaming about everything that is México, she loves to be outside. Lauren loves all outdoor recreation from diving to hiking. She completed the 52 Hike Challenge back in 2016, gaining more elevation in feet than the ocean is deep. Most recently, she has worked as an Outdoor Education Facilitator, breaking the molds of public schooling and teaching kids in an outdoor environment. Lolo loves laughing until she cries, the color teal, the movie School of Rock and long walks on the beach when there is one. Most of all, Lolo loves you and can’t wait to meet you all! Viva México!

Lauren will be teaching Lolo goes Solo in Mexico

Ryan and LeeWhay

Ryan is an ambivert engineer who thrives on figuring things out and then making them… “better”. He has performed a majority of the upgrades and modifications on their various vehicles (with LeeWhay’s help). He enjoys traveling, exploring new places, and meeting people. He has a passion for remote places where few visit…

LeeWhay is a Physical Therapist who loves being outdoors.  She enjoys hiking, camping, skiing, traveling, dancing, drumming, and spending time with animals. 

Ryan and LeeWhay have recently semi-retired and plan to embark on an around the world overlanding trip in their Unimog camper in the next year.

Ryan and LeeWhay will be teaching Outback Adventure: Shipping our vehicle to Australia

Classes

By the end of this Clinic you’ll be able to:

  • Decide if winching is the proper extraction/recovery approach for a given situation
  • Operate your winch safely and effectively
  • Use Bob’s all important and very complete “Stuck Assessment and Recovery Plan Checklist™” (Plus, you’ll get a free copy!)
  • Identify and use important Safety-Specific, Connection Point, and Winch Capacity and Capability Accessories
  • Intelligently choose and use natural anchor points (rock, tree, stump) and frame-mounted connection points on vehicles
  • Intelligently use the Pull Pal
  • Organize your own Self-Recovery and Vehicle-Assisted Winch Rigging Set-Ups

By the end of this Clinic you’ll be able to:

  • Repair a variety of tire problems in the field
  • Identify and use various important tire repair tools (Bob will show you every important tool you need to repair tires in the field.)
  • Pick just the right tire-repair kit for your needs (Bob will show you every commercially-available tire repair kit on the market!)
  • Repair simple tread punctures
  • Repair small and large sidewall tears
  • Remove a tire from its rim in the field
  • Replace a tire back onto a rim in the field
  • Remove and replace a damaged valve stem in the field without removing the tire from its rim (This is worth the price of admission!)
  • Make a comparison between compressors and CO2 tire inflation systems (You can try every unit I have for yourself!)

By the end of this Clinic you’ll be able to:

  • Decide the proper extraction/recovery approach for a given situation
  • Properly use traction boards like MaxTrax or Treds
  • Solve a high-centering problem when on challenging terrain
  • Safely and effectively use Kinetic Energy Ropes and Straps to get unstuck
  • Safely and effectively use the Hi-Lift Jack for hand winching
  • Tow a disabled vehicle with the proper type of tow rope/strap

Come join Jeff and Clay as they walk around the XO vehicle and explain their build process and answer questions!

Come ask the team of XO anything! They may or may not answer it…

Lauren quit her job to travel solo in Mexico for 6 months! It was the trip of a lifetime, and she has an abundance of stories and wisdom on traveling in Mexico as well as traveling as a solo woman in a foreign country. Join Lauren at 1:00 pm on Friday to find out where she went, what she did, who she met, what she ate, what she learned and how she didn’t die while traveling solo through Mexico! From safety smarts to finding the coolest local spots, learn how you too could have an incredible travel experience. 

James Viars, of Axles and Antennas, is a radio communications expert. In this class you will learn about: 

  • Difference in radio service types, ie. Ham Radio, CB Radio, MURS, GMRS, FRS.
  • Hand Held or Mobile install
  • VHF vs. UHF vs. HF
  • Radio, coax, antenna, and power requirements
  • Basic Mobile install
  • Range, clarity, options
  • Why communication is important in the age of cell phones
  • Get your friends on the same freq/channel
  • Where to buy

Can a “regular”couple ship their Land Cruiser and Adventure Trailer to Australia and solo-travel some of the world’s most remote overland routes for a few months? The Huffs did it and will share their experiences with the shipping process and paperwork; resources they found useful or not; and images of their adventure on the Canning Stock Route, the Simpson Desert, the Tanami Track, the Red Center, and a bit of Western Australia’s Coast.

Elise Bent is an expert in Cartography and GPS, and a competitor in the Rebelle Rally, the first women’s off-road orienteering challenge in the US. In this class you will learn the following: 

  • How your GPS receiver works and communicates with satellites
  • What can your GPS do?
  • Comparing consumer GPS systems including dedicated GPS units and the modern smart phone
  • Reading traditional topo maps and their digital equivalent
  • Great maps you can download
  • Navigate to a point
  • How to plan your backcountry route
  • Track, save and share your route 
  • Putting it all together: a bit of practice (bring your GPS or favorite smartphone GPS app!)
  • Tackling common challenges

This course is designed to give the end user a firm foundation to start and employ a kit for repairs commonly needed in the field on various vehicle systems.  These systems include but are not limited to the following.

  • Diagnosing and starting a disabled vehicle
  • Diagnosing and repairing a vehicle that will not continue to run
  • Diagnosing and repairing common drive line issues
  • Diagnosing and repairing common steering issues
  • Diagnosing and repairing common braking issues
This course is designed to give the operator the tools to safely operate one of the most useful tools offroad.  Hi-lift can be used as a lifting device, winching and clamping/spreading device that does not require power to operate. 
 
  • Hi-Lift pieces and parts and how the jack operates
  • Safe lifting practices and key points
  • Hands on lifting practice to develop muscle memory for students under instructor care
If you are considering a dual battery upgrade, you won’t want to miss this class. In this clinic we will go over the basics and what to consider for a dual battery upgrade including:
  • Available systems
  • Cable and wire selection
  • Lugs and terminals
  • Circuit protection
  • Specialty tools needed
  • Different wiring options
  • “While you’re in there” considerations

Activities

The Big Sky Overland Rally will be providing the opportunity to participate in a few activities on and off-site. 

We are located right on the Yellowstone River. That means you can float through the incredible Paradise Valley right back to your campsite! Bring your own inflatable tubes or use our limited rental gear.