For the past 14 years, Atlanta has been the home of the NOPI Nationals. This past season at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, there were 5,000 who came to the Speedway to take it all in. This has got to be one of the largest events we've ever been to.
We arrived late Thursday night after a 13-hour drive, and you could see all the hotels jam-packed with customs of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. People were cruising to scope out the parking lots in order to see what they would be up against come dawn. Since we knew that this weekend was going to be a killer, we turned in somewhat early.
Early on Friday, we rolled into the speedway to see thousands of participants lined up to register. Not much happens on Friday other than registration and vendor setup, but it's always a good idea to get registered early because of the sheer numbers of participants at the NOPI Mini Truckin' Nationals. Once inside the raceway, we found ourselves more capable of getting a grasp on just how huge the event actually is. To say that NOPI was huge would be an understatement. There were so many vendors, you could find just about anything you were looking for, whether it was airbags for your soon-to-be slammed mini-truck or a turbo addition for your Civic. After hour spent walking the huge areas at the raceway's infield, we headed back to our hotel to plan the evening's events. Once the decision was made to head out to Buckhead, a local area that is home to about any type of club or bar you were looking for, we were off in search of an evening of club-hoppin' insanity.
Early Saturday morning, we caught up with Ashton Harwood, another MT freelancer, and hopped into his crew cab dualie to head back to the show. Even with the previous evening's leftovers still slowing plenty of our cohorts down a bit, we prepared for what we knew awaited us. When we rolled back into the Speedway, we were blown away. They managed to get so many rides in that the previous day's fill of rides on the show field was only a sprinkling in comparison. Even though the show is dominated by compact cars, there were still plenty of minis there to make you stare in disbelief. Not to mention that many of the compacts there were built as only those with the soul of a mini-trucker could.
Throughout the day, there was plenty to keep up busy other than the 5,000 entries strung from one end of Atlanta Motor Speedway to the other. Not one part of the Speedway was without a vendor or a custom in sight. For those of you who haven't been to Atlanta for this mega-event, NOPI also has a great hydraulic show competition where you can count on seeing competitors beat their rides until something breaks or catches fire. Of course, another big attraction was the burnout competition where tire spin aficionados turn their tires in place until they explode. If all of this still wasn't enough for you, then maybe a bunch of beautiful women strutting their stuff for thousands of love-starved men in the stadium's grandstands would whet your appetite. The ladies on stage participated in the American Swimsuit Nationals bikini contest.
Some participants chose to just sit around the show field, while others couldn't be located since they were constantly moving through the sea of incredible customs. No matter what you chose to do, you wouldn't find yourself disappointed when every few seconds a body-dropped mini dragged by railing its rockers off. After a long day, we retired back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head out on the town again. Also on Saturday night, NOPI hosted its own rave in the parking lot of the Speedway. Now people never had to sleep -- they danced and partied all night long.
Sunday, NOPI hosted more contests while they tallied the judges' scores. This is an awesome show with a ton of things to do, especially if you like walking. The dates for the next NOPI phenomenon is scheduled for September 15 and 16, 2001. For more information, check out www.nopinationals.com.
Although they were recently...
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