Teaming up with NOPI not only helped enlarge the vehicle attendance, but the cuties flocke
When two of the top show promoters in the East join forces, you know the results are going to be good. The 10th Annual Southeast Minitruckin' and Sport Compact Nationals originated with Charlie Cobble, the man in charge of annual favorites like Slammin' and Jammin' and the All Chevy/GMC Nationals. Charlie teamed up with Michael and Mark Meyers, promoters of the legendary NOPI Nationals and the NOPI Drag Circuit, which made for a dynamite team. Adding to the fun, they chose the spacious Chilhowee Park, an 80-acre show site located in East Knoxville. This venue came complete with rolling hills, lakes with fountains, grassy display sites with shade trees, and plenty of spread-out room for the more than 500 vehicles in attendance.
Since both Charlie and the NOPI team are known for their nonstop entertainment, there was never a dull moment during the weekend. Drivers were judged quickly and efficiently by Chuk Burgess and his Show-Off Promotions team, which left them plenty of time to enjoy the attractions. The options began with 25 Sound Quality and SPL stereo classes for the audiophiles, while the mobile dyno from Team Dyna-Go attracted the gearheads in the crowd.
Want to show off that horsepower? The Burnout Competition drew a collection of high-powered vehicles looking for a share of the $1,000 prize. Mike Lowry's little blue truck did one of the longest burnouts on record. Matt Petro kept things jumping, by bouncing his air-dancing S-10 several feet into the air, then effortlessly rolling it on its side. Going from bouncing sideways to sliding sideways, the NOPI drift team intrigued the fans, as they drifted in tight formation and were able to wear out a set of tires in a few minutes. Their high-energy driving skills entertained the crowd both Saturday and Sunday.
Not near as noisy, but just as cool, the Lowest of the Low competition brought out tons of minitruckin' contenders who were looking for the trophy and bragging rights. Chris Brown's beautiful blue '98 S-10, captured first-place with merely an inch separating the bottom of his door from the ground. Chris also went home with the Best Engine award for his modded V-8 under the hood. If you still needed a little quiet time to recover from Saturday night's party you could ease on over to the X-Box lounge and catch the newest gaming releases, or stroll the row of vendors selling everything from chrome accessories to funnel cakes.
Of course, a NOPI show would not be complete without their famous NOPI Chic Bikini Competition, which attracted twenty one of the hottest women in the hemisphere to Knoxville, all looking for the $1,000 first prize. The fun continued with the wacky sanctioned Ladies Jell-O Wrestling, we enjoyed several big name acts on stage, and watched the Gals versus Guys Touch Football. Careful scheduling was essential to catch it all.
The weekend came to a close with the Sunday afternoon awards ceremony. More than 300 trophies were given away, including the Ultimate 10, chosen by a panel of area automotive experts. The happiest pair of drivers at the show had to be David Caldwell Sr. and David Caldwell II, a grandfather/grandson team who left very few trophies on the table. The Caldwell's took a class win with their beautifully detailed '95 Ford Ranger. They also earned an Ultimate 10 Award, Ladies Choice, Best Paint, Minitruckin' Editor's Choice award, and overall Best of Show, Driven. The bed of their silver-and-blue Ranger already held a fuel cell and twin reserve tanks for the air suspension, so squeezing in all of those trophies required careful packing.
Another winner, Chad Snyder, drove through a rainstorm from Denton, N.C., and spent most of Saturday morning polishing the undercarriage of his '93 Toyota 4x4. It was worth the effort because Chad went home with both the Best Engine award and the Best of Show, Trailered trophy. The coveted, six-foot Club Participation Award went to Tennessee's Common Bonds Car and Truck Club, which held 34 vehicles on display. Adding to the excitement, the American Tire Distributors from Knoxville, gave away a pair of $200 gift certificates for Mickey Thompson tires and a set of ICW wheels.
Charlie would like to send a special thank you to supportive event sponsors like the NOPI team, X-Box, American Tire Distributors, and R.J. Reynolds and all the people who come out and support the show year after year. If you'd like more information on this fun-filled annual event, contact Charlie at www.autoshows.cc.
Brad Thomason's bright orange Ranger is from Ground Level Customs, and cruised up from Jac
Taking advantage of the drive-through judging, Daniel Dennison's insane Nissan Hardbody to
Randy Sutterfield came all the way from Pleasant Plaines, Arkansas, with his Hardbody and