Badgerland Offroad – 2019 SEMA Jeep Gladiator- We ♥ Our Dealers Interview

SEMA Jeep Gladiator

In this Episode

In this video, we will be chatting with Jenni Arnold from Badgerland Offroad about our 2019 SEMA Jeep Gladiator build we partnered on. The build’s name is Spartacus the Gladiator and we can’t wait for you to meet him!

At Race Sport® Lighting we love our dealer partners. “We ♥ Our Dealers” is a video series capturing success stories from our top dealers around the country. This affords us the privilege of learning from and sharing in their successes in the lighting category. These are dealer lighting stories, in their words.

Be sure to check out the “What we learned from Badgerland Offroad” section at the end of the article.

Welcoming Jenni Arnold from Badgerland Offroad

Race Sport: Hello, Race Sport® Nation, in this video we will be chatting with Jenni from Badgerland Offroad. Badgerland is one of our favorite dealers from Elkhorn, Wisconsin. They have a solid reputation for building some excellent jeeps.

They’re also really into giving back, and one of the ways they do that is to help promote and teach the right off-roading techniques. They do this through Jeep clubs, like Western Illinois Jeep Club who was the latest one.

Today, we get to pick Jen’s brain about how their lighting business has changed after partnering with Race Sport® Lighting, so without any further ado, because she’s standing right here and it’s awkward. Jen, welcome to the show!

Jenni Arnold: Hi, everybody!

Race Sport: So, here we go, you ready? Rapid fire…

Before you partnered with Race Sport® Lighting, how was your lighting business going?

Race Sport: Before we get to Sparty the Gladiator, I want to talk general lighting business. So, before becoming a part of the Race Sport® Lighting family, what were you guys doing for lighting? Really, I want to know, like, what was the lighting business like for you guys?

Jenni Arnold: It was very sporadic. We didn’t have a particular brand that we went to, it was pretty much what a customer asked us to get or you know, just from our personal experience of our own vehicle. 

Race Sport: So, like the customer comes in says they want a light bar, and you go, ok cool we’ll find one.

Jenni Arnold: Yes, exactly.

Race Sport: Did you find that you were buying stuff from multiple vendors kind of all over the place?

Jenni Arnold: So, we had a couple of different companies. We were working with, like I said, nothing real steady. But we weren’t happy with the quality of their lighting and their customer service wasn’t up to par.

Race Sport: Well, I hope Ignacio is taking care of you guys. I’m sure he is.

What made you decide to partner with Race Sport® Lighting?

Race Sport: What made you make the decision to go with Race Sport® Lighting?

Jenni Arnold: The biggest thing, one, we started using your products on our own vehicles and realize that they’re a great product. Two, the customer service is way out of that league, and it’s the best we have experienced so far. The warranty you guys put up behind your lighting was of course one of the best in the industry, I feel. It’s just a great all around product and the people that back this business are just good people.

Since partnering with Race Sport® Lighting how has that changed your lighting business?

Race Sport: So, since coming on with us and using our products all the time now, how has that changed your lighting business in general? You were saying it was sporadic before. And, you know, if you’re not selling a million times what you were selling before, that’s fine, but like, what does it look like now, in comparison to back then?

Jenni Arnold: It is definitely more steady. We have a catalog right in our face that we can look up and decide what is best for the customer. Customers with trucks, customers with Jeeps, we’ve had car customers come in, and they want lighting for their vehicle. So it’s easy to just hand them the catalog, go through the catalog together, and pick it out.

We can run down here because we’re so close and we support local business. So we just come down and grab what the customer needs. If there’s any issues you know, in the future. We’re right here as well. So we can just take care of it.

Race Sport: You know, I tell people all the time, I don’t want to just move boxes from my warehouse to your storage room. That does absolutely nothing for me. What I want to do is partner with you to help you not only move that box and sell it, but I want to help you get out of the “we’re just doing jobs” thing and get into actually building a business in a category that makes money.

We have a lot of people around the country where the 12 volt and accessorizing businesses has not tanked, but it’s going down. I mean, even SEMA talks about that in their market research. And what we like to do is show them that there’s actually a money making category that you can get into and supplement that loss of profitability, and so it’s good to hear that was the case for you guys.

You know, that’s the whole point of doing this interview. I think dealers get used to hearing us say these things, but when they actually hear from people that are just like them, they’re business owners too, it’s a different story.

Jenni Arnold: I feel like our business and Race Sport® are a team. Right? You guys are there for us if we have any questions, if we want to know how to sell something better or you know, whatever, you guys have been there and we all just work together to get the job done.

Right now, what Race Sport® Lighting products are you selling a ton of?

Race Sport: You talked about that you saw an increase in the business and lighting category but what in particular are you guys like selling a lot of, is it we’re doing a lot of these seven inch rounds on Jeeps, or is it more light bars? What are the products that are moving for you guys?

Jenni Arnold: We do sell a lot of the seven inch upgraded LED headlights, a lot of the fog lights, but so let’s face it, from the factory, unless you get an LED package nowadays, the headlights are not great, and who doesn’t want to see at night, especially this time of year with the crops and the farmers and the deer that are moving around?

Race Sport: Or, God forbid, you take your stock Jeep into an off-road situation with those headlights. It’s not gonna work out well.

Jenni Arnold: You definitely want to to be able to see the trail ahead.

Race Sport: ‘Look! there’s a tree in my glove compartment!’ Not safe guys.

Jenni Arnold: Well, that even happens during the day but we won’t talk about that.

Let’s talk about Sparty! Spartacus the Gladiator our 2019 SEMA Show build.

Race Sport: So, the Jeep Gladiator! Spartacus or Mr. Sparty the Gladiator. Tell me, what was the inspiration for the build? What got you guys thinking ‘we don’t want to do another, you know, run of the mill Jeep, we want to do this cool truck’?.

Jenni Arnold: So, Sparty or Spartacus. He came about when we saw [Gladiators] first came out. Just like most people we don’t like the look of it stock. We didn’t want, you know, this or that we had a specific vision in mind for our Rubicon Gladiator. Our vision was for it to be the ultimate off-road recovery vehicle. We do a lot off-road, which there’s a lot of recovery built in.

You know, we want to have the traction boards, we want to have the gas cans, and we want to have the, you know, the winches on the front and back. We wanted a lot of amber colored lighting, you know, think about a tow truck, right? When you see a tow truck, you see a lot of amber lights going, and its a warning that there’s a recovery up-ahead. So, that was the main inspiration, recovery.

Race Sport: What is that thing that’s on the back? I know, it’s like a camper canopy thing. I don’t know what the technical terminology is, but that’s why you’re going to answer this question. So, what is that thing?

Jenni Arnold: That is a roof top tent on the Gladiator. We have a bed rack from JCR Offroad, on top of that we have our roof top tent. During our travels to SEMA, for instance, we’re going to camp our way out there and camp our way back. So, it’s an overland vehicle but a recovery vehicle as well.

Race Sport: And if a recovery is taking a long time you can pop that tent and make food, burgers, whatever.

Jenni Arnold: If we are stuck out on the trail, you know, traveling somewhere we can always just spend the night.

Race Sport: So, you guys brought it in. Mac did some installation on it. Because he wanted to get his hands in there. It’s a new vehicle for us. And it was just cool that he got to tinker with it because now he knows the inner workings of another vehicle and we can give good tech support.

But when you guys showed up and you actually saw it with all the lights on, because it’s intense – especially the rock lights, I’ve never seen a wash with rock lights that cool in my life -what was your first thought?

Jenni Arnold: Wow! I mean just wow! Because like, you know, most people when they think of lighting, they think of headlights, fog lights, maybe rock lights, that kind of thing. But wow, it was lit up like –

Race Sport: A space ship?

Jenni Arnold: Haha, yes! But it is just how we wanted it.

Race Sport: If the internet ever decides to actually storm Area 51, we should armor it a little bit and we’ll just mount shotguns on it.

Other than just being featured in our SEMA booth – which is great, thank you for letting us have this vehicle there – but other than SEMA and stuff like that, what are your plans moving forward with a truck?

Jenni Arnold: Well, a lot of people have asked if we are going to sell it, because a lot of SEMA builds get sold. That’s not our intention. This is our business Jeep, our mobile billboard. It’s also this year’s biggest up and coming vehicle. So yeah, if you’re going to be at SEMA, check them all out. Each one is unique.

Wrap Up

Race Sport: Listen to Jen! Come to our booth. It’s booth #11879 in the North Hall. We would love to see everybody there. See the Gladiator. Jen and Mike are both going to be there. You’ll get to see Jen. Talk about how Badgerland can help with your Jeep build, if you’re in Wisconsin. Or truck. Or whatever you got. Thanks for joining us!

What We Learned from Badgerland Offroad

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Jenni said, "I feel like our business and Race Sport®Lighting are a team. Right? You guys are there for us if we have any questions, if we want to know how to sell something better or you know, whatever, you guys have been there and we all just work together to get the job done."
Quality products are a part of the Race Sport® Lighting advantage. It all starts in our Product Research and Development department. All our products are tested against the highest quality standards. Testing includes LUX output, life expectancy validation, and water and dust intrusion testing. Simply put, if it doesn't pass, we don't bring it to market. This testing process makes us confident to stand behind our products with a one-year minimum manufacturer's warranty, but we also have many products that have multi-year or even lifetime warranties.