The ups and downs of organizing a Ford Bronco and aftermarket parts event

Ford Bronco event in New Bern, North Carolina

Mountains2Metal held an event for Ford Bronco enthusiasts at Freshwater Beer Co. in New Bern, N.C. Images: Nick Martin

There’s something about an event that brings the best out of the metal industry. FABTECH, for example, is easily one of the coolest.

Our company, Mountains2Metal, has been riding a wave after attending another industry event: Bronco Super Celebration (East). We sold a ton of aftermarket parts and made some great connections there. We were all set to attend a similar event shortly afterwards, but then it was cancelled.

To be honest, it was almost a blessing in disguise because we would have had to play some major catch-up just to have anything ready to sell. I don’t think we expected to be as successful at this event, anyway. But we needed to figure out our next move—we didn’t want to wait too long before attending another event.

There were a few ideas thrown out there about what to do, but nothing came up that we were comfortable with. Traveling a far distance was not in our budget, so staying somewhat local made the most sense.

After a couple of team meetings, we decided to just throw our own event: Broncos ‘N Brews.

Brandon and Tia Shaver, the owners of New Bern, N.C.-based Freshwater Beer Co., share our love of Broncos and beer. They purchased their 6th Generation Bronco at the same time as my dad, Tim, and me. I won’t mention the exact delivery time because that is a sore subject for some people. I’ll just say the wait was well worth it.

Brandon and Tia have always told us that we could host an event at their place if we ever chose to do so. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

I reserved the Instagram handle @BroncosNBrews nearly a year ago—great foresight on my part, if I do say so myself—and the time had arrived to put it to use.

We threw a couple days out there and settled on June 24, 2023. It’s important to note that we decided on all of this only seven weeks from the event date. We contacted Tia from Freshwater and she said the date would work. A food truck and live music were already scheduled to be on-site that evening. Perfect! Now all we had to do was finalize event details and spread the word.

We put together an event flier and a basic itinerary that included a show and shine, raffles, and giveaways. We also planned to have Mountains2Metal parts and merchandise available for sale on-site. That Friday, my dad and I dropped into our local Ford dealer, Cella Ford. They were immediately onboard to help with the event. We had another sponsor! I was excited and knew they had plenty of Bronco connections they could reach out to. The more the merrier.

Ford Bronco event in New Bern, North Carolina

Mountains2Metal held an event for Ford Bronco enthusiasts at Freshwater Beer Co. in New Bern, N.C.

We added the Cella Ford logo to the flier and shared it with some of the Bronco groups and forums. The event began to build traction, which meant we had to try and get a feel of how many Broncos we would be able to reel in. I confidently said that we could get 50 Broncos there. I’m sure some people thought I was crazy, but others said it was completely possible.

We brainstormed ideas to help flesh out the event. Porta-potties, goodie bags, registration tickets, best-in-show voting, judges, parking, overflow, etc. I’ve never thrown an event like this before and neither had my colleagues. We took a “live and learn” approach—maybe not the best idea, but it was what we were going with.

Leading up to the event, my dad and I scoped out the parking situation and laid out how we were going to fit 50 Broncos. We walked the parking lot and took some measurements. We decided that it was absolutely possible with the space provided, no sweat.

The day before the event, the food truck canceled on us. I was upset given the fact that we advertised for them for several weeks and then they bailed on us. Luckily, the owner of another food truck at Freshwater that Friday said that he had an event ending early the next day and could fill the spot. Capone’s A Taste of Philly was our new food truck. He saved the day, and I was relieved that we all could mark one more thing off the to-do list.

Brandon and I walked the parking lot again that same day and agreed on everything about where the Broncos, trailers, and food truck would set up.

Since Broncos ‘N Brews didn’t start until 2 p.m., we planned to show up about two hours early to set up a tent and some tables. This was going to be a laid-back Bronco hangout, so we weren’t going to go all out. The plan was to set up and get some pizza to munch on at the same time. Yeah … that didn’t happen.

I pulled in the parking lot and immediately saw a beautiful 1967 Red Bronco. One of Brandon’s local friends dropped it off and threw him the keys—apparently, the owner was on call and had to go to work. So, we parked it front and center. I couldn’t believe it. When I looked over to the side parking lot, I saw even more Broncos. Little did we know, there were people chomping at the bit to get into this show and set up their Broncos for display. We couldn’t even get the door of our trailer open before people had approached us wanting to know what we did and what products we had to offer for their Bronco. It was crazy!

Luckily, I had some great friends and family that offered to help. They knew I was overwhelmed and asked what they could do to help. I began to relax when I saw everything come together. Cella Ford showed up big time. The dealership’s GM Jason Tomchesson showed up with his beautiful white Badlands 6th Gen, and Owner Steve Cella brought a 6th Gen First Edition that shined like you wouldn’t believe. It was a showstopper.

The front parking lot was full, and we began to line up the Broncos out back. With people smiling ear to ear, Broncos ‘N Brews had come together.

We had raffle drawings every 20-30 minutes. People had a good time. I don’t think I had a conversation with someone that lasted more than a few minutes before I got tugged in a different direction. I was constantly moving and never had a chance to really stop and take it all in.

Ford Bronco event in New Bern, North Carolina

Nick Martin and his family.

I was a nervous wreck leading up to the show, but I tried not to show it. My wife, Courtney, assured me that everything was going to be fine. She was there at the very beginning when I started this company. She was my first packager, hardware bagger, and label maker back in 2013. Not to mention, she’s my No. 1 fan! It was pretty awesome and special for me to see her be a part of it. My three kids were also there and in on the action. Drawing raffle tickets and talking on the microphone was fun for them.

When the event ended, several people approached me and said that Broncos ‘N Brews was a great event. Before the night was even over, people were talking about next year! I really like getting to know people with common interests; it’s bonus that I make stuff for a vehicle that is their hobby. They may not buy your products, but you can make a connection with them and see them at future events.

Another positive is that you don’t find negative keyboard warriors at events like this. The internet brings out the worst in some people, in my opinion. But those people don’t show their faces at these events. They wouldn’t be able to say what they say on the internet. Since we started Mountains2Metal, people have told me that I had better have thick skin. I now understand why.

But when you can have an event like Broncos ‘N Brews, or attend any Bronco event for that matter, it makes you feel good about what you are doing and what you are a part of. People are honest and nice. Who knew that getting a Bronco 2 at age 16 would lead me to starting an aftermarket auto parts business? One that would lead me to so many connections with different people.

I am pretty thankful for that.

About the Author
Barnes MetalCrafters

Nick Martin

2121 Industrial Park Drive SE

Wilson, NC, 27893