The NOPI Nationals continued its growth, as it does every year. This past show season, we found ourselves sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic 5 miles away from the show. Much of the traffic was due to the congestion that Atlanta normally faces, but as we neared the Atlanta Motor Speedway, we saw that the gridlock was all because of the rush of attendees trying to get into the event and set up their rides.

September in Georgia is still very hot, and the weekend of the NOPI Nationals held true to the typical swampy weather that Atlanta is well known for. Hot weather, hot rides, and plenty of beyond-hot Georgia women kept the show heated all weekend long. Walking the showgrounds, looking for trucks in a sea of compact cars, can be time-consuming, especially in a place as large as Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the more-customized minis were easy to spot because they look so different from the look-alike compacts in attendance.

Quality rides from all over the nation and other countries have been known to show up at the NOPI Nationals and strut their stuff in front of thousands of spectators and the media. Show vendors are just as energetic with their show displays, trying to outdo one another and attract more show venue business.

This is one opportunity for those businesses to attract buyers as well, since the attendees at the show are so varied. Mingled amongst the showgoers are shop owners and other business owners, all looking to carry the best products at the best prices. NOPI is a win-win for many companies because of this. The vendors were located in the garages that lined one side of the track, carrying just about anything you could imagine for a custom car, truck, or other vehicle.

The NOPI Nationals is an event that runs on a tight schedule, with plenty going on all the time. Things are happening from morning to well into the afternoon and evening. While attending the NOPI Nationals, it's a good idea to keep a show flyer on your person at all times, just to make sure that you don't miss any of the killer things to see and do. When night falls, the fun doesn't stop -- the NOPI Nationals is known for some pretty wild raves and nighttime antics.

As far as our main focus, the show itself, the quality of the mini-trucks that show up to the NOPI Nationals just continues to improve every year. The number of minis alone was up this last year compared to years' past, which made the show even more enjoyable for us. Smoother, lower, and painted with schemes that were more in your face seemed to be the key.

Whenever you mix big wheels with body-dropped rides, along with ultra-sweet interiors, you get more refined customs -- just like those that showed at the NOPI Nationals. Aside from traditional mini-trucks, those other compact rides that aren't cars, yet aren't really trucks, made a strong showing. Custom-built rides from the Scion Xb to the Honda Element were all represented, and represented very well.

Events held during the show included a hydraulic competition, several bikini contests, model searches, on-site dyno testing, and a sound off. Many of the show's extra events were held on both days to allow everyone to participate. Likewise, it allowed everyone at the event to watch all the cool happenings all weekend long. In the end, if you're looking to attend one of the biggest shows around, the NOPI Nationals in Atlanta is the place to go to be noticed.

For more information on this year's event and the NOPI tour schedule, check out www.nopi.com.