10 days through USA - Wyoming/Colorado/Nevada
Turping Meadow Ranch/Cattle King Ranch/MGM Grand
22nd Sep to 01st Oct 1994
MARLBORO WORLD OF SPORTS
PHILIP MORRIS / MARLBORO LEO BURNETT, LTD
CAR LIFE MARLBORO ADVENTURE CHALLENGE
Korea: 18th Sep <> 26th Sep
Malaysia: 22nd Sep <> 1st Oct
Hong Kong: 27th Sep<> 5th Oct
Taiwan: 1st Oct < > 9th Oct 1994
- Ho Chiu Wah
- Ching Neng Bin
- See Toh Ying Hee
- Nik Nazri Hassan
- Azizi Bin Sha’arani
- Zakariah Abdul Samad
- Abdul Karim Bin Muslim
- Anuar Bin Mohd Tajuddin
- Mohamad Fuad Bin Samad
- Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman
- Ms Chan Yuen Li (Star Journalist)
- David Mitchell (Philip Morris)
- Aani Ismail (TV3 crew)
- Mohd. Shahrom Shariff (TV3 crew)
Those who make the Marlboro Adventure Team will get to tackle some of the toughest and most spectacular stretches of white water and rock walls, deserts and trails in the US.
The contest, presented by Marlboro World of Sports, was established in Germany in 1984. It made its debut in the US in 1992. The US has since become the permanent location for the 10-day adventure trip.
The adventure trip covers 4 outdoor sports – off-road driving, dirt biking, white-water rafting and horseback riding. It offers those who love the outdoors a unique experience in one of the most fascinating places in the world.
How to make the Team - Applicants for the MAT contest must be over 18-years old and have a valid motorcycle license and car license. They must complete an application that tests their knowledge and expertise in motorcycling, four wheel driving, horseback riding and white water rafting. In addition they must also submit a 50-word essay on why they believe they should be part of the Team.
Independent judging firms have been appointed to review the applications and then shortlist 100 semi-finalists. Judging for the essay will be based on the applicant’s eligibility, enthusiasm, interest and sense of team spirit.
The selected semi-finalists will then answer additional questions in a five to ten minute telephone interview. Out of the 100 semi-finalists, 24 finalists will be selected to undergo the Marlboro Adventure Team Blast, the final stage of the contest.
10 Days trip to USA - Over 10 days, the 10 winners will experience the rugged American West covering the wilderness areas of Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado by raft, dirt bike, horse back and four-wheel drive. The trip is scheduled from Sept.22 to Oct.2. 1994. The Malaysian team members get to test their ability to survive some of the toughest routes in the US which have been described as one of the most beautiful places unspoiled
The Selection - Malaysians do have an appetite for adventure. Over 1,000 entries were received for the Marlboro Adventure Team (MAT) and now the organizers have a pleasant headache in choosing the best 10 for the trip to the Great American West from Sept.22 to Oct 2. 1994.
From this number, the figure was narrowed down to 100 semi-finalists after their applications, which included an essay each, were reviewed by an independent survey and research firm. The semi-finalists were picked based on their eligibility, enthusiasm, interest and sense of team spirit.
To select the 24 finalist, all the semi-finalists were grilled on the phone about their knowledge on motorcycling, four-wheel driving, horseback riding, white-water rafting and camping.
At the MAT Blast, the 24 finalists will have to go through a 9-station obstacle course designed to test their endurance, skill and capability to take on challenges. The activities and obstacles include kayaking, web climbing, barbed wire crawl, canal crossing, stump walk, wall climbing, mud crawl, monkey rack and artificial rock climbing.
The 24 finalists, competing for 10 places, and 4 journalists, competing for one spot, will be divided into seven groups of four. The 11 winners will be picked based on their skills and the time they take to go through the obstacles. Penalty points will also be imposed on contestants who do not comply to MAT rules and regulations. Personal qualities, behavior under stress and creativity will also be taken into consideration.
“The ability of the contestants to overcome adversity, sense of timing, strength and ingenuity in taking on challenges will be tested at the Blast,” said Peter Smith, marketing manager of Godfrey Phillips Malaysia. “The
contestants have to make quick decisions. They must be able to think on their feet.”
The Blast - Picking the top 10 On September 4th, a specially designed competition complete with various obstacles will test the finalists quickness, adaptability, fitness level, enthusiasm, perseverance/courage, ruggedness /strength and other qualities. The competition, which will be held at Lake Titiwangsa from 10am to 1pm, will determine the 10 winners for the trip.
The Marlboro Adventure Team Blast held at Lake Titiwangsa turned out to be a classic case of “the tortoise and the hare”. It’s the end that matters, not the start. Many of the 24 competitors failed to complete the 9-station course because we failed to pace ourselves at the start. When we arrived at the final station, many of us were too exhausted to make it up the wall climb.
The obstacle course consisted of a 150m-kayak paddle, a web climb, a barbed-wire crawl, a canal crossing, a stump walk, a 5 and 6 foot wall, a mud crawl, monkey rack, and ending with a climb up a 23-ft artificial climbing wall to grab the flag on top nicknamed “the killer”. The atmosphere was great on Sunday morning. We were well looked after by the organizers and pampered like champion race horses. Spirits were high.
After the first team ran, we knew that it was going to be much tougher than we reckoned. The first runner came exhausted into the isolation tent with news that people were having difficulty with the 6-foot wall and monkey rack. But the main obstacle was the rock climbing wall. Contestants were just falling around the wall. With each try, they fell back. The word went out among us – just try to finish the course but even that was difficult for those who could not get up the wall.
You need strong hands and also a well planned strategy to go up the wall, if you don’t, you’d be too tired by the time you get there to even think clearly,” said one contestant. Some contestants then switched to a shrewder, and unsporting, tactic – they chose to miss out on some of the obstacles to arrive at the climbing wall fresh.
The advantage they gained out-weighed their time penalties for missing obstacles. A tactic like this is a point for the organizers to take note of as these contestants who slipped in through this loophole certainly do not embody the spirit of the team.
Out of the 24 participants, only 8 made it up the wall. In the end, the successful eight were selected and the other 2 best timed qualifiers made up the team of 10. Through the long morning, lots of people – both men and women – took the time to give me a word of encouragement which I was thankful for my sister Ching Bee Geok who was there to cheer me. The race itself is pretty much a haze of lactic acid burn-out. I remember managing to paddle the kayak in a fairly straight line thus getting a good head start.
When I got to the rock climbing wall, I knew I was well ahead of the others. After a couple of deep breaths, I started up. It was just a matter of negotiating the balance and delicate moves near the top to grab the flag.
The crowd was wonderful. Everyone warmly congratulated me. It was a nice surprise to find that I was placed six overall. Despite the fact that only the 11 top finishers will leave for America at the end of the month, there is no doubt we were all winners. And now, the real adventure begins …
Interviewed by “The Star” - “I feel great. It’s a great achievement for me. I’m dreaming of USA now. I’ve been training since I sent in my application in early August. I was confident of being selected based on my past records. I attended the Outward Bound School in Lumut, founded the Penang Adventurers’ Club and climbed Gunung Tahan. I was one of the finalists with See Toh Ying Hee for the Camel Trophy in 1987. I play badminton twice a week and jog regularly. But for this Marlboro Adventure Team Blast, I jogged for at least one and a quarter miles and do half an hour of circuit training every day. I will continue to jog and take better food to maintain my fitness. But, as far as I’m concerned, this “blast” was the ultimate test.”
|Ching managed the 23-ft artificial climbing wall to the top to grab the flag nicknamed “the killer flag”.|
|The ten lucky Malaysians will actually get the chance to experience this adventure of a lifetime worth RM35, 000 each.|
Day 01 (22.09.94) KL. to Jackson Hole, Wyoming USA
09.30am - depart KL for Los Angeles by Mas Airlines MH92Y via Tokyo
03.00pm - depart LA for Salt Lake City by DL1782K
06.30pm - depart Salt Lake City for Jackson Hole by DL5903K
07.35pm - arrived at Jackson Hole, Wyoming
09.00pm - arrived at Turpin Meadow Ranch owned by The Castagno Family
|At Subang Airport, Subang Jaya, Selangor.|
|At the Los Angeles International Airport which is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area. I was sitting with David Mitchell who was a media guest.|
|Turpin Meadow Ranch owned by The Castagno Family.|
|Arrived at Turpin Meadow Ranch, 24505 Buffalo Valley Rd. Moran, WY at 9pm.|
Our first morning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, dawned earlier than expected. Because of jet-lag, everyone woke up at about 4am. But it was not at all enticing to leave our warm and cozy cabins though. When we finally dragged ourselves out, there was frost on the ground and ice on the seats of jeeps we were due to drive that day. So we hastily shivered our way into the ranch house for breakfast.
The participants were paired up after breakfast, assigned a jeep and quickly dispatched for a day of fun behind the wheel. We drove through magnificent Rocky mountain scenery. Spectacular Baldy Mountains surrounded us. The Aspen trees which covered the hill-sides were turning gold and red with the autumn.
The drive itself was not at all technical. For the most part we drove along the highway and punctuated the drive with short off-road stints. The wildest of these stints was when we adjourned in our jeeps to a bit of undulating waste ground behind a small town Dubios. We got down and tore some serious dirt.
The name of the game was who could get the most air time in our jeeps. It was dust galore as the jeeps rolled up steep inclines and plunged down the slopes. It felt like playing with big cars on an overgrown playground. Perhaps it is true that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
Had lunch in Teton National Forest at Leidy Lake catered by Turpin Meadows. We drove back to the ranch via the scenic route, passing a beautiful alpine lake.
|Hearty Ranch breakfast at 7.30am|
|8.30am - Introduction of staff. Overview of program. Jeep briefing and skills assessment. Explanation of scoring. Drawing of competition numbers and distribution of bibs.|
|Group photo under corral sign at Turpin Meadow Ranch.|
|Ching Neng Bin on the wheel and Azizi Sha'arani as navigator.|
|At the Turpin Meadow Ranch getting for the jeeping adventure.|
|At the Turpin Meadow Ranch to be lead by Park Ranger.|
|We drove through magnificent Rocky Mountain scenery. Spectacular Baldy Mountains surrounded us.|
|The aspen trees which covered the hill-sides were turning gold and red with the autumn.|
|Togwotee Pass is a mountain pass located on the continental divide in the Absaroka Mountains of the United States, between the towns of Dubois and Moran Junction, Wyoming in the Jackson Hole valley.|
|Ching Neng Bin and Azizi Sha'arani being the youngest and the oldest in the team respectively.|
|At the Togwotee Mountain Lodge.|
|Ching Neng Bin with the park warden.|
|We used these 2-door Jeep Wrangler. The model is SE 2dr 4x4 18-hp, 4.0-liter 1-6 (regular gas).|
|The wildest of these stints was when we adjourned in our jeeps to a bit of undulating waste ground behind a small town Dubios. We got down and tore some serious dirt and showing off our driving skill.|
|The name of the game was who could get the most air time in our jeeps.|
|It was dust galore as the jeeps rolled up steep inclines and plunged down the slopes.|
|It felt like playing with big cars on an overgrown playground. Perhaps it is true that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.|
|It was here on these slope that I almost turn turtle while driving up a very steep hill. My navigator Azizi quickly jumped out to balance the car.|
|We stopped at Baldy Mountain for photo taking.|
|Azizi Sha'arani and Ching Neng Bin walking around Dubois town.|
|L-R: David Mitchell, Ching Neng Bin, Nik Nazri Hassan, Anuar Mohd Tajuddin. At 5.30pm we were all back at the ranch beer bar for some cold beer.|
|Ranger evaluation of clean-up and event and briefing on next day activities.|
|6.30pm supper at lodge.|
|Ching and David Mitchell enjoying homegrown western hospitality and a hearty dinner.|
|See Toh Ying Hee taking picture below the trophy.|
|Apache McLean came to perform some Indian Apache dances for us.|
|Apache McLean, a fifth-grade teacher at Emerson School in Salt Lake City, is so fascinated by Indians that he wears Indian clothing and Indian jewelry all the time.|
Day 03 (24.09.94) Dirt Biking
The next day we played with dirt bikes. Everyone was in full battle dress for this with chest armour, boots, kevlar trousers and jackets. Its real Robocop stuff. Dust, dust and more dust was the order of the day. The guys ended up looking like pandas with white goggle marks in their dusty faces. The support team who were following in open-top jeeps fared worse eating the dust of the bikers for the whole day.
Our hair turned gray from the dust, as did our eyebrows, eyelashes, clothes and underwear. For hours in the evening afterward I was blowing streams of mud out from my nose. It certainly felt as if I had half of Wyoming in my sinuses. The countryside was; again, absolutely breathtaking but it certainly was a strange way to enjoy the scenery by following the dust of those two-wheeled buzzing beauties.
The participants themselves probably did not have time to enjoy the view because they would have been concentrating hard on the bit of ground in front of them. It was certainly a test of skill to negotiate the difficult terrain. Everyone was quite exhausted by the time they rode their 70 miles (112 KM) back to the ranch again.
|The professional rider with Ching.|
|(L-R) Ching Neng Bin, David Mitchell, Chan Yuen Li, Azizi Sha'arani|
|Ching Neng Bin riding through the river.|
|Ching Neng Bin did the best action photo shoot.|
|Group photo at Baldy Mountain.|
|Back home in one piece and Ching Neng Bin looked like 'Robocop'.|
|We sleep in these Turpin Meadow Ranch log cabin.|
Day 04 (25.09.94) White-water Rafting
Day 4 was a chance to wash all the dust from our lungs. We went white water rafting on the Snake River. The MAT utilized the services of Jackson Hole Whitewater, an established river rafting company.
We were all suited up in our wet suits, wind breakers and life jackets. “Be sure to tighten the life jackets enough. If you find it hard to breathe and your eyes are bulging out, then it’s tight enough,” said the rafting guide.
It was a fun paddle; the river was beautiful and crystal clear. There were a good number of fishermen, canoeists and other rafters on the river. Our guides really knew the river well as they run four trips a day, seven days a week during the summer. Those guys could probably do it blind folded.
The rapids were mostly grade 2+ in the autumn – straight forward 2 foot-high waves which gave an easy roller coaster ride – but the scenery is breathtaking.
Evergreen pine trees and aspen which were turning golden lined the high gorge. Occasionally we would see eagles circling the sky or a trout flashing beneath the crystal clear water.
But the highlight of the journey was a rapid called Big Kahuna. It is a sudden 12 foot drop with this huge wave that towers well over your head waiting at the bottom of it. It hits you with a crash that jolts your back teeth.
One of the participants in our raft took a look at Big Kahuna and simply leap into the middle of the raft and clung on for dear life. The rest of us were too busy whopping with enjoyment to really give chides him though we really should have.
The trip ended way too soon after a few more rapids and we were being driven back by bus to Jackson Hole after lunch. There, we hit the shops! It was speed buying as we were only given an hour to splash our cash. And that we did with a vengeance. All the guys came back with cowboy hats and boots and we refused to take off for the rest of the trip.
|Ching Neng Bin with Chan Yuen Li the Star papers journalist.|
|Two water competition - (1) to catch the safety float in the cold water (2) a free style diving from the raft. I managed both in good time.|
|The 8 mile “Classic” whitewater trip down the Snake River allows one to really enjoy the paddle of a lifetime.|
|This was a class lll river (from l-Vl), with 10 sets of some real fun rapids. After every section of whitewater we went through there is a calm section for some rest.|
|The Big Kahuna is the largest rapid in the 8 mile whitewater stretch of the Snake River canyon.|
|This is a very wide and deep river! Some sections are up to 80 feet deep.|
|The river water is fed from a dam, the Jackson Lake Dam.|
|Ching Neng Bin with Crystal Wright the river guide.|
|Ching Neng Bin with TV3 crews; Mohd. Shahrom Shariff and Aani Ismail.|
|Box lunch at Sheep Gulch with David Mitchell the Malaysian media guest.|
|Ching Neng Bin with Crystal Wright the river guide.|
|It was shopping time at Jackson Hole.|
|One can expect to find everything from special, regional goods to a select few mainstream clothing companies in the small shops that line Town Square.|
|At Jackson Hole Town Square.|
|A number of choice art galleries and museums line the Square and offer great stopping points while strolling through town.|
|The Malaysian cowboys, See Toh Ying Hee and Ching Neng Bin.|
|There is a new Sheriff in town.|
|Farewell to the Turpin Meadows Ranch - a dinner party followed by distribution of photos and a slide show.|
Morning was horseback briefing followed by riding. After lunch we were transferred to airport for 1.25pm flights to Salt Lake City. Here we took the 4.29pm flight to Colorado Springs arriving at 5.45pm. It was a one and half hour drive to Cattle King Ranch to meet the wranglers. Evening was campfire and interaction with wranglers and Draper family.
|Ching Neng Bin and See Toh Ying Hee taking a rest at the corral.|
We had spent the day flying to Colorado Springs and it felt that we had flown right into the last century. The Cattle King ranch where we were to do a cattle drive was an authentic cowboy camp, with real flesh and blood wranglers working on it. We slept in tepees and sat on bales of hay like cowboys but also had the luxury of hot showers and gourmet food served by Denver caterers.
|A group photo with the horse wrangler of Cattle King.|
|Genuine Western Dinner under the stars.|
We spent the morning rounding up all the cattle on the range on horseback. The countryside exuded a feeling of vastness; you felt as if you could ride forever and never get to the end of it. We ride along what feels like a vast and endless plain, even though we have been told this is only small ranch by Colorado standards.
Our large group breaks up into smaller teams. With surprising suddenness, the others vanish from sight. The air is beautifully silent and the only noise is the sound of our horse’s hooves and the occasional creaking of our saddles. We amble along the grassy hills gently nudging a few stray cattle before us.
Confidence in our horsemanship grew in leaps and bounds. By the time the whole herd was being pushed towards the corral, we were whistling and galloping after the cattle along with the rest of the cowboys. The pace picks up after we round up all 300 cattle on the ranch. Once all the cattle have been ushered into the corral, the real work begins. All the newborn calves in the milling heard have to be branded and castrated.
A cowboy lassos a terrified calf and wrestles it to the ground in a flurry of dust while another cowboy presses the red-hot branding iron on to its flank. It hisses and smells of burning hair and barbecue. The cowboys hold the branding irons in our hesitant hands as we stamp the calves. There are far fewer takers for castrating, though. The deed is done with a small pocket knife. First, the bottom of the furry little scrotum is sliced right off. Then you kind of wiggle it in your hand until the testicles appear.
The trick is to get a firm grip on the slimy wet things and give them a good yank to break the tendons that hold them on. Your hands are pretty bloody at this stage but the real Lady Macbeth stuff comes when you cut off the two blobs. Then you amble over to the bucket of iced water and drop the spoils in while observing the unconscious men on the ground.
The delicacies, nicknamed “Rocky Mountain oysters,” are taken carefully back to camp and fried as we relax and watch the sun set. Then the participants had a small modified rodeo competition where they had a chance to show off their horsemanship, their lassoing skills and their willingness to run after a bunch of little cows while the rest of us laughed at them.
Dinner at the campfire that night was really satisfying after the rigors of the day. A country and western duo came to the camp specially to sing for us. Their rollicking tunes were superb.
|I was going for the cattle and rounding them up.|
|A memorable photo taken with the wranglers.|
|Taking lunch from the chuck wagon.|
|Ching Neng bin and Chan Yuen Li taking a good rest in a chuck wagon.|
|I helped to prepare dinner - a cook out.|
|Very good whiskey by drinking from the bottle.|
|We had live round practices with the shot gun.|
|I won the horse riding competition with a horse spur as the prize.|
We left the ranch in the dead of night and had a 2 hour bus ride to the airport for our 7am flight to Las Vegas. We could certainly tell it was Las Vegas because even the airport foyer was filled with one-armed bandit and there were people playing on them like there was no tomorrow.
We were immediately whisked off to another airport where we got on the scenic flight over the Grand Canyon. The view was as beautiful as the ride was stomach churning. We got to the Grand Canyon National Park for lunch at El Tovar on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon after which we turned around and flew back again.
The tour guide told us that visitors on average spend two and a half hours at the park. We barely made it into the average category. Vegas is a crazy, wild party town where no one seems to sleep. We split up and everyone disappeared pretty quickly. We had agreed to a policy of no questions asked whatever happened.
|At North Las Vegas Airport for a charter flight-see over the Grand Canyon.|
|A 8-passenger charter flights with co-pilots. Lunch at El Tovar on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.|
|Viva Las Vegas Awards Finale in a Patio Suite at 5.30pm. Two show girls serving drinks Premium brand open bar with bartenders. - I was the champion of MAT 94.|
|Presentation of participation certificates and awards with two show girls serving drinks.|
|6.30 pm transfer to The Mirage for a show - Cirque du soleil – Mystere B-Roll and later visited Treasure Island for shopping and nightlife on own.|
Day 09 (30.09.94) Las Vegas to LA to KL
Jackson Hole in Wyoming is a superb place for the outdoor enthusiast. The town is named after Davey Jackson, a fur trapper who lived in the valley in the early 19th century. Jackson has “Hole” tagged to it after the mountain man’s expression for a large open valley surrounded by mountains.
The most prominent peaks on the west side of the valley are the spectacular Grand Tetons. French trappers called the conspicuously prominent mountains “Les Trois Tetons” meaning the three breasts.
“They don’t look much like breasts to me. But I guess those Frenchmen must have been plenty horny by the time they got to Wyoming,” said Jackie, the forest ranger who was assigned to ensure the adventure team did not rip up the environment too much as we frolicked in it.
Jackson Hole is agonizingly close both the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park – agonizing for us as our rigid programme did not allow any time to see these renown natural wonders.
Nevertheless the town itself offers plenty of attractions for the advenurer. There are outfitters for almost every kind of outdoor sport catering to those who prefer to have their adventures organized for them.
Total amount sponsored is RM35,000 per participant.