This year marked the 14th annual, now world-famous, Custom Sounds Texas Heat Wave. For the second year running, the Texas Heat Wave staff held the event at the Travis County Exposition Center in Austin,Texas. After the show moved a couple of years ago, the Heat Wave staff realized that having the show anywhere else just wouldn't feel like home to anyone.

Long before the show got underway, there were tons of equipment, trailers, and custom vehicles loaded into the Travis County Exposition Center to later become the vendor row and manufacturers' midway once the show opened. From the look of things on Thursday, you could tell that the show was going to be huge again, and those covering it for magazines immediately saw the need to find a golf cart -- fast.

Early on Friday, the setting up continued, but enthusiasts began showing up to get their registrations handled, making it easier to show up without the delay of sitting in the registration lanes the next day. The long lines to get in and out of Heat Wave in the past were done away with this year as the Heat Wave staff had entry lanes for pre-registered persons. With a simple wave of your wristband and your speed pass, you could easily bypass all the people just arriving to the event who had to pay for their entry fees, be classed, and finally get into the Expo Center. Friday afternoon wasn't what you'd call a bustling show day, but there was plenty of activity all day long for show vehicles and vendors alike.

By Saturday morning, enthusiasts began arriving by the truckloads. The show areas inside the Expo Center filled up fast, and an overflow area was assembled just outside the main roll-in gate to accommodate those who had driven from all over the country to attend. Those clubs that wanted to park together at the show simply had to roll in together and find a spot that would accommodate them.

Then the mad rush to get all of the vehicles polished and up and ready for the Texas Heat Wave show judging staff ensued. Not only was everyone trying to get their ride as spotless as possible, but they also wanted to try to get it done before the temperatures soared into the high 90s by late morning.

Soon, the Travis County Exposition Center was filled to capacity, and the show was in full swing. There were plenty of vendors on hand once again, selling all sorts of great products. Perennial favorites of ours were there, such as Drop Em Wear?, Godfather Customs, Silver Star Customs, and others, all of which had special show-day sales going on for all the stuff that mini-truckers just can't wait to get home to mail-order. With so many vehicles packed into the Expo Center, there was plenty to see all weekend long. In fact, even with a golf cart, we had to keep going back over the showgrounds to be sure we didn't overlook some wayward mini hanging out under a tree somewhere.

Since there's no camping at Heat Wave anymore, most of the show's attendees headed back south to the more populated areas of Austin to get a shower before heading out to any one of the nightclubs on 6th Street or to just grab a bite to eat and hang out at any of the hotels overrun by enthusiasts. In any case, there was plenty to do, even after the show had closed up for the day -- and there was still an extra day left to go!

On Sunday, things were much more lax than they had been the day before. No one seemed to arrive to the event as early, and no one was moving around as quickly as they had been before. Because the awards were slated to begin in the afternoon, many of the show's attendees made sure they'd been judged and then packed up their rides just before the awards got underway in the Exposition Center's indoor arena. By the time the ceremony had ended, $1500, 28 Best of awards, and hundreds of other trophies up for grabs were handed over to those most deserving.

Just a few of the sponsors for this year's Heat Wave included: Audiobahn, Alphasonik, Detail Pro Audio, Digital Audio, Drop Zone, Dyer Electronics, Ekstensive Metalworks, Ichiban, MA Audio, Maximum Altitude, Fast Eddy's Hot Rod Art, and many others. For more information, contact: Texas Heat Wave, Dept. MT, P.O. Box 2177, Pflugerville, TX 78691, (512) 252-0283, www.texasheatwaveshow.com.