During one of the hottest months on record in Virginia, the second annual East Coast Nationals, a two-day custom truck and car show (aka ECN), was held at The Showplace in Richmond, Virginia. Hopes were high because the second coming of one of the East Coast's fastest growing shows quickly drew near on everyone's calendars.

As early as Thursday evening, vehicles began showing up around Richmond so they'd be there for all of the weekend's action. By the time Friday evening came, local hotels had plenty of customs parked outside their facilities either on their own wheels or sitting on trailers to remain pristine for show day. A cruise through town reminded everyone of what was in store for the weekend in Richmond.

Saturday was the first day of the show, and ECN's promoter Ashton Harwood III and his capable staff was ready to usher in all of the custom rides that made the trip to their show. The Showplace was soon packed to near capacity with more than 500 showing cars and trucks taking up almost every square inch of the more than 80,000 square feet of outdoor parking area.

Some of the East's finest show vehicles, including trailer queens and hard-core daily drivers, were polished to perfection for the roving eyes of show-goers and fellow enthusiasts. The ECN staff had the hardest job of the whole weekend when they began to critique each vehicle after first placing them in their appropriate class. Because of the high quality of the rides showing at the Showplace, the show's staff had a difficult time indeed determining which vehicles should take home trophies and become publicly heralded as the most incredible rides on the East Coast.

Keeping enthusiasts entertained throughout the weekend, the ECN stage was hopping the whole time with tunes spun nonstop by DJ Antonio Cummings. Additionally, a whole bunch of games and other items happening onstage kept people running to the center of entertainment area all weekend. One of the games held at ECN gave out killer door prizes to people who could run to the stage with a 20-inch wheel or any one of a dozen other wacky items. While all of this was happening, Advanced Audio sponsored a hugely successful sound-off competition after which it awarded prizes of both cash and merchandise for those with truly impressive sound systems within their vehicles. By the end of the day, the ECN field of show enthusiasts was ready to leave the site for the day and find themselves fun elsewhere or to catch up on some sleep until the final day of the event on Sunday. It had been a full day with a lot to do and plenty to keep them occupied. The next day, they all hoped to leave Richmond as winners.

Early the next morning, entrants came back to The Showplace ready for even more action. The ECN crew had even more in store for them with hydraulic action that rivaled some of the largest attended Supershows in the nation. Several highly actuated hydraulic-equipped vehicles dueled in an area designated as ground zero for hydros. After several more games, including an Egg Toss, an MT Editor Rental Car Push, and a grueling Tug O' War, most of the playful enthusiasts were plenty tired and relished the idea of having awards handed out to the most deserving in all show classes, games, and other competition. Soon, it was time for the awards to be handed out to those who had finished tops in their respective classes. From what we could tell, the winners were in many cases ecstatic to hear their names called and even happier when their trophies came with cash to boot. By the time all of the awards were handed out, there wasn't a person there who could say that he or she hadn't given his or her all in the name of mini-truckin'.

Behind the scenes, there was a group of people who worked feverishly in the hot Virginia summer weather to make sure that all the bases were covered. These people included the actual ECN staff, family, extended family, and close friends that helped out. Ashton Harwood III wishes to thank Antonio Cummings for doing a great job at spinning tunes as the official DJ at ECN. A huge round of thanks was also wished to everyone who attended the Second Annual ECN and helped to make it such a huge success. We hope to see you all again at the Third Annual East Coast Nationals scheduled to happen July 27 to 29, 2001 at its new location. As of this time, the promoter is trying to make Richmond International Raceway ECN's new home. For more up-to-the-minute information about the next ECN, please send e-mail to eastcoastnats@aol.com; or for a visual overview of the show, please check out the official ECN Web site at www.EastCoastNationals.com.

Behind the Scenes:

Helping to make ECN 2000 happen, the show's sponsors gave the East Coast Nationals staff the added boost they needed to make it the biggest show in Virginia and most of the East Coast. Without the following sponsors, ECN2K would not have been the incredible event that it was. Special thanks are also rendered to: Hanover Tires; Show-'n'-Shine Promotions; DA Airbrush King; Custom Cruisin', Inc.; Street Smarts; ShowCarz; Ride Low Clothing; Advanced Window Tint Co. & Accessories; Ronnie's Automotive; Auto Add-Ons and Accessories; and Advanced Audio for their assistance.

Best of ECN II The A-List:

Best of Show -- Truck--Shane Craighead
Best of Show -- Car--Robert and Tawnya Dealy
Best of Show -- Paint--Tim and Sara Douglas
Best of Show -- Undercarriage--Shane Craighead
Best of Show -- Interior--Jason Fletcher
Club Participation--Radical Impact and Low Rollers
Most Illegal Truck at ECN--Joe Authers
Most Illegal Car at ECN--Anthony Moutran
Miss ECN (Bikini Contest Winner)--Amy Hall