I‘ve owned my Series III 88” for 26 years and I’ve been in love with Series Land Rovers for as long as I can remember. Upon acquiring my little blue beast in the late ‘90s, my relationship with it felt very personal. I drove around rural Massachusetts on paved town roads whilst dreaming of off-roading, and lived vicariously through images in the pages of glossy British Land Rover magazines. I didn’t actually know anyone else that owned a Land Rover, so everything I learned about these vehicles was through print. The idea of being part of a Land Rover club had never crossed my mind.

Vermont Rovers – Winter 2023

After moving to Vermont two decades ago, I was finally able to drive on dirt roads regularly – specifically the old Class-4 roads. Class-4 roads are public, unmaintained, but open legally – at your own risk. Back then, I didn’t know anyone else with a Land Rover; that limited my dirt road driving. On several occasions, I tried reaching out to a group of off-roaders about an hour from where I live, but without paying to attend one of their sanctioned events, they had little interest in having a newbie come along and join a trail ride.

It was at that point that I realized I needed to build a community of Land Rover enthusiasts. I wanted that community to be as inclusive as possible – open to anyone that owned a Land Rover. A couple of friends bought Land Rovers; a couple of other enthusiasts moved to the area. Eventually, I sourced deals on Series Land Rovers for friends. Before I knew it, there were nine Land Rover owners in my town of 12,000 people. As we branched out to surrounding towns, we began to meet other enthusiasts. Now, there’s a web of Land Rover fans that extends to every corner of Vermont as well as the neighboring states.

Vermont Rovers – Winter 2023

My buddy Glenn Parent, Woodstock, VT, felt the same way. His involvement in the Land Rover world included significant restoration work for the High Meadow Farm collection. He knew many Series/Defender owners in his area, but they shared time with each other. Together we decided to form the Vermont Rover Club. VRC is simply a loose-knit group of enthusiasts that meet for trail rides and host larger events such as the annual Weenie Roast, Grafton Run, Northern Run, and, most recently, the Maine Misfits and Rover Bits in Greene, ME.

How is an event in Maine part of the VRC? We feel as if our entire group fell into place by accident; we also share a complete lack of pretension. Our “membership” has spread to include states in New England and now California. VRC is about connecting over Land Rover interests with like-minded friends. John Vallerand, the host of the Maine event, has the same Vermont attitude; so, too, does Leif Counter, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and our event chef, Mike Kenney, Taunton, MA.

Vermont Rovers – Winter 2023

For the most part, we are an unofficial club. We don’t have a Board of Directors, club mission, officers (except the Event Chef), or general meetings, although at some point all that may change. For now, we are having fun, and if there is a general mission statement, that would be it. Technically, VRC is a social club with the goal to spread the word and further the interest beyond our doorstep. I emphatically encourage others to do the same. Form a club no matter how many (or few!) Land Rovers there are in your area. Become involved with other groups and grow the community. That support creates enthusiasm and creativity.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Land Rover. To celebrate, ANARC (Association of North American Land Rover Clubs) will host the massive Diamond Jubilee at the Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland, NY, June 14–18. ANARC expects the Jubilee to be the largest Land Rover event in North American history, topping the nearly 400 that attended ANARC’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 1998. [ROAV and OVLR (Rovers Owners of Virginia, Ottawa Valley Land Rovers) led the North American clubs in creating ANARC for the 1998 event -ed.]

Vermont Rovers – Winter 2023

On their website, ANARC states it is “A broad coalition of Land Rover vehicle owner clubs, organizations and individuals on the North American continent, committed to open communication and personal contact. ANARC seeks to provide opportunities for experience and the

enjoyment of our Land Rover vehicles in settings that foster fellowship.”

Within the structure of the ANARC organization, there are the original two founding clubs (OVLR and ROAV) and sixteen smaller sustaining social clubs that stretch across North America. Their goal is to consolidate the number of Land Rover clubs and tie them all together to support each other.

When we set up the Vermont Rover Club, we had no intention of organizing beyond a group text to plan where and what time to meet for a trail ride. As our group expands and the events grow in number and attendance, so do our collective risks. ANARC comes into play on the local level by publishing smaller associated club events and reducing the insurance fees needed for those events.

Vermont Rovers – Winter 2023

There are so many regional events across North America that are worth attending to meet other enthusiasts. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know about your Land Rover. Talk to other owners and you will quickly be bombarded with suggestions on how to fix, maintain and improve yours. Regionally speaking, I have met some great people who are now close friends by attending Rover events in the Northeast. Many of those people are now part of our group. Events such as the All Metal Dash, British Invasion, Maine Winter Romp, Virginia’s Mid Atlantic Rally, and Rovers at Wintergreen are all great places to start – or join us at a Vermont Rover Club meet.

I would strongly recommend making the effort to connect with other Land Rover owners and turn your group into an incorporated club.

[Follow Dave Sweetapple on Instagram @VermontRovers and @RoversMag -ed.]

[For more information on ANARC and the Diamond Jubilee, visit www.ANARC.club -ed]