Brenton Bairhalter @broncosaurus_bend

As an extremely satisfied customer, I am honored that the folks at ASFIR 4x4 reached out with the opportunity to share the story of my off-roading journey and how their products helped me gain skill and progress in the hobby. To me, it is ultimately all about being prepared, taking on adventures, overcoming obstacles, and most importantly meeting amazing people.

My wife and I took receipt of our 2021 Ford Bronco amid the Gen 6 release in October of 2021.  As transplants to San Diego, seeking refuge from over a decade of cold and gloomy winters in Chicago, we appreciatively take full advantage of the southern California weather. The point is, that the soft-top Bronco Big Bend was our perfect vehicle to fit that lifestyle.  We loved taking the top back and doors off to cruise the coast, it was our fun, tame little beach buggy.  Getting into off-roading was always a thought but in reality, I couldn’t see myself putting our brand-new car in those conditions anyway.  My family comes from backgrounds in construction and mechanics so tinkering on modifications was certainly an appeal that I embraced with the new Bronco.  However, I kept focused primarily on performance, exhaust, interior upgrades, some mandatory ditch lights and the type of stuff to customize the normal driving experience.  Then I met the San Diego Broncos club and everything changed.

After some encouragement from my wonderful wife, I mustered up the courage, overcame my anxious presumptions of being a complete novice and dropped by one of their meetups that I had seen on Instagram.  I’m in no way exaggerating to say that day was life changing.  I walked away from that first meet up with a slew of new fast friends.  I had a palpable motivation, my passion was confirmed and energized.  All of my blabbering on the ins and outs of the Bronco that my wife so politely listened to for over a year all of a sudden had a captive audience.  I felt borderline rude, spewing Bronco-speak but to my surprise everyone I spoke with seemed eager to listen, their stories were equally as intriguing to me.  We went on and on sharing stories and information.  I learned lots and got new ideas.  Little did I know that the vehicle itself is merely the tip of the iceberg in this fantastic world.  As I attended more events with the SD Broncos we continued to bond.

It was incredible to meet new people at every event and be welcomed and wholeheartedly embraced. The next step for me was learning how big the landscape of this community really is.  When our little club was invited to attend a much larger Pacific Coast Broncos and Fords gathering I found myself with similar nervousness to that first meet up with San Diego Broncos, just bigger scale.  Again, I was quickly having fun.  Everyone I met felt as though we were long time friends right out of the gate.  It truly is about having a common bond and forums to bring great people together.  I have learned first hand and hopefully if there is someone reading this looking for a sign that I can pass on, if you’re contemplating going to an event, do it.  It’s so easy to find excuses or reasons not to do something, but take the chance if you have an inkling of desire.   While riding the high of new friendships and continuing to gain knowledge it became very apparent that the next piece to my puzzle was entering the world of off-roading and hitting the trails.  I am extremely grateful that there are so many experienced folks in this community that not only help noobs like me out with coaching but have a knack for making it approachable.  The tips, guidance and advice I have received is invaluable in my short amount of time off-roading.   

So I finally got out on an “easy”, “chill” trail in my Big Bend beach buggy rolling on 32” Bridgestone Duelers.  As soon as we hit the dirt, it was like I was in a whole different mental zone.  It was indeed a pretty easy trail with beautiful views and even a small water crossing.  I even got stuck in a mud rut.  For me the moment I knew I was hooked was pretty much as soon as we aired down.  It was awesome that seemingly tiny moments were so rewarding, each little rush compounding to the overall adventure experience.  To my point about being appreciative to those who offer tips and teaching, that first run for me there was one that stood out particularly.  As my buddy proceeded to demonstrate how to crawl up some enormous boulders the spine tingling sound of metal grinding on the rocks had me internally shrieking, yet he wasn’t phased a bit, he even laughed and said to me “that’s what the skid plates are for”.  I would say, it’s one of the tips I have embraced to the fullest in my journey.  Though usually inadvertent, I have smacked, scraped and smashed my ASFIR skid plates and can happily say, I don’t have to worry a bit and am confident they will take the blows.


As I went off-road more, the experience of pushing limits and learning what myself and vehicle are capable of, the obstacles got bigger and harder.   I prioritized armoring up since the non-sasquatch Big Bend only came with a PLASTIC "gravel guard" and no other real protection.  I did extensive research in forums, social media and YouTube.  As folks familiar with the Bronco market know the after market offerings have grown exponentially.  I remember when I was first looking at rock sliders, there were less than a half dozen to choose from. 


My little beach buggy has the smaller 2.3L Ecoboost.  Though I’ve tweaked and tuned for performance, I chose ASFIR for their 1/4" quality aluminum for lighter weight since I went with the full set.  I also like that the front skid can accommodate full coverage for the standard bumper that I currently have with left and right brackets that I can remove when I upgrade to an aftermarket bumper.  The silver aluminum and red accents are not only aesthetically pleasing but make it easier to scan for damage if needed.


The folks over at ASFIR have been extremely friendly and helpful in all of my correspondence.  Their free worldwide shipping is awesome and I can confirm it is darn fast.  Their packaging is thorough and efficient, I have not received anything damaged.  They have created nice tutorials that are easy to follow and since everything is precise, installs are very simple even from the ground.


As I mentioned, the Bronco and off-roading community is a primary driver for me so I try to get out to as many events as possible. The ASFIR skid plate and braces are part of my build that come up often in conversation.  I am stoked to be working with them and be able to pass along my experience, showcase their products and support a great organization.