I am going to have to call BS on the gear part though. On a large scale if you spend the money which is not always the top dollar stuff but often the top dollar stuff is tried and true work horse gear. For instance, a Warn winch vs Smitty, BJ spacers vs a real lift (toyota), etc. On a large scale if the average person is willing t save for the higher dollar stuff that means it is going to be better. think of Marlin Vs trail gear? some of the same type of gear but obviously one is made better. Also High End does not always equal the highest dollar.
As for the hard core rock crawling, on a large scale it is an enthusiast sport. Unless you are making $$$ out of it, you are basically a hobbiest that enjoys it, has the money for it, and does not mind destroying a vehicle. Many just get older and realize that hey, I do not really need to go TRY to break my truck every weekend since I am not sponsored and have to pay for my own repairs hahaha.
Others like myself, find that they enjoy the outdoors more than they do the crawling part of it so we tailor our world to our desires, hence why some of us end up here on EP instead of on Marlins site, or MUD, Pirate, or any number of other sites dedicated to the crawler world