With the California Truck Jamboree being a mainstay of high-quality truckin' in the O.C. (aka Orange County, California), its new ownership had to put into question the future direction of the show. We have to say that we were impressed at the effort the new proprietors put into the show. Being held at Irvine's own Hidden Valley Park gives Cal Truck Jam a feel all of its own.

This year, 550 vehicles entered the show and more than 175 were turned away, which left quite a bit to look at in the parking lot. With 60 vendors, there was plenty to gawk at for the more than 8,500 spectators. Monster Truck driver Pat of Shocker crushed cars in an expo, while an air-hopping contest and a side show of burn-outs also took place. One-hundred and eighty trophies were given out, with the Best of Show trophy - a custom 30-inch solid-billet California Truck Jam trophy made by B.A.D - going to Gene Welter.

The show this year was set up in a completely different arrangement. The stage was farther back than usual and the vendor row swept right through the middle of the showgrounds. As always, roll-in at the Cal Truck Jam started before the sun came up. The parking lot was chock-full of custom rides, anxiously awaiting their moment in the spotlight. As the custom rides packed the showgrounds, it was evident why so many people build custom rides in California - the weather. Sunscreen was in full force this day of May 22.

The anticipation for this year's show and its new ownership were through the roof. Trucks were lined up all the way back to the freeway to the point that law enforcement had to be involved to redirect the show-ready participants.

One aspect of this show thought to be lost was the extraordinary bikini contest that used to take place. A little dinero changed that, as 18 of SoCal's finest strutted their stuff on stage to become Miss Truck Jam. As the results would prove to show, nobody strutted their stuff better than Nikki Zeno. Christine Dee handed the title over to its new owner, and Nikki walked away with a pile of cash and bragging rights to conquer her umpteenth bikini contest title.

The Cal Truck Jam crew is already hard at work on the Summer Cal Truck Jam, which is just around the corner (at the time of writing). Cal Truck Jam would like to thank its main sponsor, Toyo Tires, as well as Accessory House, Al & Ed's Autosound, Autoi.com, Budweiser, Double Tree, Jada Toys, Ludikrs Customz, Madhouse FX, Sir Michaels, and especially AleseCoco.org. Congratulations on an awesome show - Cal Truck Jam is back on the map. Hope to see you there. For more information, contact: (310) 326-4JAM (4526), www.truckjam.com.