If you've never been to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for the Mini-Truckin' Nats then you'd better plan to go next year. Let us clue you into what you're missing out on. Pigeon Forge is home to the mini-trucking gods, and each year thousands of mini-truckers flock to this tourist haven in search of fun. They find all the fun they can handle in the form of awesome go-kart tracks, mini-golf, and Charlie Cobble's truck show. Held in the parking lot of Governors Palace Theater this past July 7-9, the Mini Nats attracted more than 500 of the nation's top ground-pounding minis and custom compacts.

After suffering a few minor setbacks, including an ill-tempered motorhome, we arrived at the show Saturday afternoon. Even though we couldn't show our truck because it was stuck on the car trailer, we were in good spirits thanks to the warm weather and bikini-clad women that were present. There were a ton of quality rides in attendance from clubs such as Acrophobia, Drop Mob, Relaxed Atmosphere, Desired Images, Negative Camber, and Severed Ties to name a few. Walking down row after row of minis, it became apparent that this show was full of past Mini Truckin' feature trucks.

More than 30 tents were pitched along the perimeter of the show grounds with vendors selling a ton of their latest wares. Companies including HotWires, NOPI Motorsports, and East Coast Customs were present selling just about anything you could possibly want for your mini or compact car as well as sponsors BFGoodrich and WIX filters. Looking at top-quality rides all day long is thirsty work, but lucky for us there was no shortage of lemonade and hot dogs during the show. For those whose rides possessed audio systems of subsonic proportions, there was a crank-it-up competition sponsored by Extreme Audio of Morristown, Tennessee. Contestants competed to see whose ride had the most boom all weekend long, and the aftershocks could be felt all over the show field.

Coming to Pigeon Forge for a show means one thing: cruising. The strip on Saturday night is jam-packed for miles with insane minis and compacts. Cruising is so big at Mini Nats that even the trailered minis make passes down the smooth six-lane highway in front of all the hotels and go-kart tracks. A smoke and spark show is inevitable when spectators line the sidewalks with lawn chairs and beverages in hand. The other thing that's unavoidable is 5-0. They're always on hand to keep things under control.

Sunday was extremely hot and so was the competition. A highlight of the day was the couple who was married on the stage. Nothing like getting married in front of a thousand mini-truckers in 95-degree heat. After the judges completed the arduous task of tallying the miniscule amount of points that separated the stiff competition, the trophies were handed out so everyone could make that long drive home.

Next year's show promises to be even better because NOPI Motorsports has been added as an official sponsor, hence the show's new name. The NOPI Southeastern Mini-Truckin' and Sport Compact Car Nats will be held July 6-8 of 2001. For more information, please contact: Charlie Cobble (423)-623-1871 or write to The Southern Street Machine Association, c/o Charlie Cobble, 1751 Hwy. 321, Parrotsville, TN 37843.