Ford South Africa’s exhilarating 2014 Ranger Odyssey has entered its crucial next phase with the selection of 40 contestants for Boot Camp from a staggering 8241 online registrations.
In order to qualify for selection, all of the initial entrants were required to visit a Ford dealer and take a ‘selfie’ photograph with the new limited edition Odyssey-spec Ford Ranger, then post it on the www.rangerodyssey.com website.
Thousands of people completed this second part of the entry process and submitted a dazzling array of images, from serious to light-hearted, from creative to totally outrageous. Thereafter the Ranger Odyssey judging panel narrowed the field down to 39 individuals to attend the Boot Camp from today through to Sunday at De Rust Outdoor near Hartbeespoort Dam.
Due to the amazing variety of images supplied for the entries, a unique element was introduced this year to select the final contestant via Ford South Africa’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FordSouthAfrica). Fans of the page were invited to choose their top contender, and the photo with the most likes by the close on Sunday 17 August gained the 40th and final spot for the Ranger Odyssey Boot Camp.
“We have been delighted by the huge interest shown in the Ranger Odyssey this year, particularly with the number of entries, which has increased tenfold compared to 2013,” says Gavin Golightly, Ford marketing manager.
“The calibre of the entries has been very impressive, and we are confident that the people that make it through to Boot Camp and ultimately the final in Namibia will truly embody the essence of the ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger and the extreme challenges that will face them on the Odyssey.”
Gauteng dominates the list with 23 contestants who are set to push themselves to the limit in an effort to earn one of the highly prized slots on this year’s Odyssey. KwaZulu-Natal ranks second with 7 contestants, followed by the Western Cape with five and Limpopo with two. The Eastern Cape, Free State and North West are each represented by one contestant.
The contenders range from a 21-year-old self-confessed “outdoor girl” to a 53-year-old grandmother who is a six-time Ironman veteran. There’s also a pilot, doctor, pharmacist, IT specialist, chemical engineer, a couple of accountants, several university students, a competitor that has done both Survivor SA and Fear Factor SA, and even a 37-year-old single mom to four children!
A common thread that runs throughout the profiles of the semi-finalists is a love for the outdoors and adventure – and there will be plenty of that on this year’s Ranger Odyssey.
Throughout the three days of Boot Camp, held at Ford’s Offroad Academy in Hartbeespoort Dam, De Rust Outdoor, the contestants will receive thorough training on all aspects of off-road driving and vehicle recovery techniques in the Ford Ranger. They will then be assessed on their 4×4 and convoy driving abilities, knowledge of the vehicles, camp craft, communication skills and team work.
Ultimately 17 South Africans will be chosen for the Ranger Odyssey main event. They will be joined by one contestant each from Mozambique, Angola and Nigeria who were selected by each country’s Ford distributor respectively.
The final 20 contestants will be announced on Monday 25 August on the Ranger Odyssey website.
The 2014 Ranger Odyssey group departs on 7 September for a 12-day 2 500 km adventure of a lifetime in one of the most rugged and challenging areas on the African continent, in the far north west of Namibia.
They will be randomly paired in teams of two, and each member of the winning team gets to drive an Odyssey Ranger for a year, along with a fuel allowance of R5 000 per month.
For further information on the Ranger Odyssey go to www.rangerodyssey.com, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FordSouthAfrica) and follow @FordSouthAfrica on Twitter using the #RangerOdyssey hashtag.