Tracking down Cameleers can be a daunting task. All you have to start with is a list of names from each country, from 1980 - 1998. After sorting through all of the years in which the US was represented, you wind up with a list of 26 people. Knowing where they were from can really help too. Trip reports in magazines usually list the name of the city and state where each team member was from. However there was very little press coverage in the US for the Camel Trophy, especially in the early years. Any information like that, or even a picture of the person, helps narrow down the search when you're faced with 1000's, if not 10,000's of people with the same name. This couldn't be more to the point than with Frank Smith from the 1986 Australia event. That was going to be a futile search so I instead focused on his team mate Carl Guffey.
After scouring through many, many pages of search results for his name, all of a sudden my eyes catch two words. Camel Trophy. The link goes to a post on the Chattanooga (Tennessee) Fishing Forum?! Someone from Australia had just signed up and was making his introduction. A few replies later and someone with the username Carl Guffey simply said:
"Welcome aboard. I haven't thought about Oz in a while. I was down in 1986 and drove the Camel Trophy from Cooktown to Darwin. Also made it over to Alice Springs and down to Melborne. Great days."
That was posted 2/3/2011, three years and roughly two weeks ago from this writing.
And with that I knew the right Carl Guffey was found. However, to view his profile, you have to be a member of that forum. After going through the registration process, I was able to see his email address and promptly told him of my project. He was excited that I contacted him and wanted to be part of it.
Looking for any help in locating former participants, I always ask the Cameleer if they have contact info for their partner. Carl had this to say about Frank Smith:
"I have not heard from anyone since 1990 or so. Frank will be difficult at best to find. He was trying to find a way to stay in OZ. He did not want to go home and face his wife or the divorce case that was going to cost him the family farm."
To this day, the original Australian poster only has 3 posts on the fishing forum, all of which are in that same thread. It was nice of him to leave just enough of a web trail for me to find Carl Guffey.