The ninth edition of the Southeast Mini Truckin' Nationals was one of the hotter events on the schedule for most East Coast mini-truckers. The kick-back atmosphere that this show provides keeps most mini-truckers returning year after year. Even more important, however, was the great collection of almost 500 radical rides that gave the thousands of spectators lots to admire, in addition to the full package of weekend entertainment. The Ward Agricultural Center in friendly Lebanon, Tennessee, is a great venue with its spacious fairgrounds, covered pavilions, and a beautifully restored historic village dating from the turn of the century. The location will be the new (and hopefully, permanent) home of the Mini Truckin' Nationals, which has seen three locations in the last three years.
As always, there was a full entertainment package that begins with efficient drive-through judging, which was fast and fair thanks to the pros from Showoff Promotions out of Charlotte, North Carolina. The seven-person judging team consists of show-vehicle owners themselves, so they knew what to look for when trying to prioritize some of the best of the best. The fun continued with events like triple points and Outlaw USACi Stereo, who entertained the window-rattlers, while the more visceral, smoky burnout competition appealed to the gearheads in the crowd. Power of another sort came from the wild, air-hopping Gauge Magazine S-10. One of the strongest air-powered trucks on the circuit, it rolled on its side twice within the first 45 seconds of its run. Matt Petro handled the switches of this ultimate crowd pleaser, with each tap of the controls sounding like a rifle shot. Smoother and much more refined-but almost as noisy-the Bikini Contest captivated the crowd as the area's hottest chicks strutted their stuff looking for trophies and cash. The top four finishers got just that and lots more with MA Audio donating a whopping $4,000 worth of subs, component sets, and amplifiers to their winnings. The awards ceremony saw more than 250 drivers rewarded for their talents, with Jonathan Goolsby taking home the tall Best in Show trophy (Check out his feature in our previous month, the Feb '06 issue). Eight of the top winning trucks later got together for a group shot in front of the Fairground's historic general store.
As the show came to a close, most folks were in agreement that the Lebanon location was the right choice, and Charlie is working hard to ensure that the Mini Truckin' Nationals holds on to its new address. For more info on the 2006 show, contact www.autoshows.cc.