“Life’s about doing what you love, with who you love.”
Jake Gertsch is a family man first, but “outdoorsman” and “bronco fanatic” tie for a close second. He’s also a dedicated Montanan, and runs the popular Instagram @montanabroncos where he shares his passion for the state he calls home, and of course the Ford Bronco. Father’s Day is on its way, so we sat down with Jake to discuss his experience as a Bronco Dad, and how an outdoor lifestyle—plus his Bronco collection—connects him to his five kids
“My relationship with my father was developed 100% in the hills,” Jake begins. Born and raised in Utah, some of his fondest memories come from hiking, fishing, and camping with his Dad. “I spent hundreds of hours in those mountains growing up, and that’s where I gained my appreciation for nature, the outdoors, and everything that life has to offer.” It’s that same appreciation he hopes to pass on to his kids.
When he was old enough to drive, Jake’s first vehicle was an easy choice: in 1994 he bought the first in a long line of Ford Broncos. “On the weekends we took to the hills,” Jake explains about his teenage years, and how the Bronco gave him and his friends the freedom to go anywhere, and do anything. “With that bench seat in the front we could just pile in, and keep all our gear in the back, whether that was for camping, fishing, or just getting away.”
Now he and his five children live on 16-acres just 20 minutes outside of Billings. “My kids can hunt, fish, and hike straight from our back porch. My 6-year-old can fly fish better than most 26-year-olds.” But when that’s not enough, all he needs to do is pack up the Bronco and drive just 10 minutes in any direction. Then he and his family are in wide open spaces—unplugged, and away from it all.
5-year old Asher Gertsch helping his father strip an interior.
For Jake, this is essential experience for a generation so tied to technology. “My kids love spending time in the outdoors. They think that’s what life is about. I’ve led youth groups where every kid is totally engaged with their phone, but when you get them in the outdoors where there’s no internet or cell service, they realize how great it is, how relaxing it is. It’s a stress relief.”
Jake also thinks simply owning a Bronco is an excellent way to connect with his family. From his daughter wanting to drive it to meet up with her friends, Jake using it to teach one of his sons about engines to prepare him for his driver’s test, or his 5-year old son spending hours with him stripping the interior of a Bronco, the passion for Bronco in Jake’s family is evident and has made for great experiences and memories. “Anything that you’re passionate about brings you closer to your kids. And in my family, Bronco is a big deal. Just the other day my youngest was out riding and he shouted, ‘Oh look Mom! It’s a Bronco! Take a picture for Dad!’”
“My older kids can split the generations [of Broncos]. They’ll say, ‘Hey Dad we saw a Bronco today,’ and I’ll ask, ‘What generation?’ Then they’ll say, ‘Oh, it was a third generation. It had those sunken headlights.’” In his collection, Jake prefers Broncos with big bench seats. That way he can squeeze all five kids in, just like he and his friends did when he was young. “Even if we’re just going out for ice cream, every trip is an adventure.”