HUMMER owners are a proud bunch. Every time they climb in for a drive, they think about their truck's military heritage and imagine themselves kicking some enemy you-know-what. Driving the H1, the closest kin to the venerable HMMWV, is an experience one will never forget. It's pure girth is awe-inspiring and makes passersby lock eyes with it, while moving away to let it through. When you drive an H1, you feel empowered and everyone around you knows it.
H2 owners also feel this power. While more of an image vehicle, and much more affordable, the H2 has earned its right to wear the HUMMER badge and its owners, too, are proud, as are the newest bunch of H3 folks, who drive the smallest of the clan.
With base prices ranging from $29,500 (H3) to $140,796 (H1 Alpha), HUMMERs cover a wide variety of budgets and personalities. But when it comes to rallying around the brand, they all come together - and they do it in South Bend, Indiana.
The 3rd HUMMER Homecoming took place June 19-23, 2006 near the birthplace of the HMMWV, H1 and H2 (the H3 is built in Louisiana). Put on by The HUMMER Club, Inc., the St. Joseph County 4-H Fairgrounds played host while hundreds of HUMMER owners traveled in from all over to celebrate their favorite vehicle, check out new products on display and learn more about HUMMERs!
One of the most popular activities of the get-together would absolutely be the plant tours. Buses took groups to both the HMMWV and the H2 plants where owners got a full-blown walk-through. The plants are on the same grounds but operate completely separate from each other.
On a given day, an average of 55 HMMWV's are built by a single shift of about 1200 workers and around 77 H2's are built next door by a 600 worker crew, also on a single shift. Both plants are owned and operated by AM General.
All workers are members of UAW Local 5, which is the oldest UAW Local still in existence. Local 5 used to operate the now-defunct Studebaker plant in its early days.
Another highlight of the event was the Ride & Drive, where owners could get behind the wheel of any model HUMMER. This was a great opportunity for attendees to drive what they don't own on the off-road course.
At the fair grounds, a vendor show was held in one building, where you could buy just about anything with the name HUMMER on it you could imagine. Also on-hand were representatives from Tread Lightly! and other organizations.
Next door, HUMMER had their own displays, which included the new 2007 H2 SUT and H3x models, a Hyrdrogen-powered H2 concept, and desert racers. There were also folks from HUMMER on-hand to answer questions.
More in-depth questions got answered in the Tech Classes, where discussions included H1 fuel delivery systems, torque & traction, service and maintenance procedures and H2/H3 general maintenance and repair.
Classes were also given on navigation and geocaching and off-road basics, while the Red Cross was on-hand certifying attendees for First Aid, CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Owners could also get trail endorsements for HOPE (HUMMER Owners Prepared for Emergencies).
If all this wasn't enough, there was a Show & Shine, silent auction, Lee Greenwood Concert, Silver Lake dunes excursion, games, kids activities, mountain bike course and more. Can you say fun?
One of our favorite parts of the event, other than the plant tours would have to be the motorcade, where a reportedly 152 HUMMERs left the fairgrounds, drove through the area and returned for a barbeque. Check out all the photos below.
If you're a HUMMER owner, be sure to check out The HUMMER Club's website for details on next year's Homecoming. You won't want to miss it!