Turning 16 always has a special meaning to every kid out there. It means that it's time to get your driving license and gain a little freedom.
Either they get to borrow their parent's minivan or station wagon and cruise the town or if they're lucky enough they get a car of their own. Since the 16th birthday is a big deal, we knew that we couldn't miss out on the 16th annual showing of Slammin' & Jammin' in Lebanon, Tennessee. It doesn't mean that show promoter Charlie Cobble was giving away new cars, but it just goes to show you that it's a great show to still be running nonstop for 16 years. A few things changed this year due to rules set by the location so there was no camping on-site or draggin'. But other than that the show was a hit as always.
Roll-in started bright and early Friday morning as various car clubs jockeyed for prime locations since Charlie marks off areas so that each club can have plenty of room to display all their members' rides and set up tents to shade everyone from the always hot Tennessee sun. Moving from the show grounds to the hotels, we noticed they were full to the brim and people congregated outside around the hotels for a little after-hours mingling. Come Saturday there were more than 1,200 vehicles in attendance and a packed vendor's row with around 40 various companies set up. There's a main stage that drew most of the 10,000 spectators under the cover for the infamous bikini contest that seems to bring out some of the south's finest women who compete for their share of the prize money.
The after-show hours always seem to be as much fun as the show since the road the hotels are on is also home to more restaurants than you can count and the crowds are able to line the strip and check out some of the cruising action.
Since it was time for some grub, we made our way over to one of the local steak houses. As soon as we sat we instantly had a drink compliments of "the gentleman in the other section". Having a bad feeling there was something fishy going on, we walked over to the corner to find out that John Beebe from Drop 'Em Wear? had sent the drink over. So why is Beebe sending another guy a drink? Well, let's just say that it created a back and forth deal involving all the waitresses, our table, and their table. We also learned that evening that Jennie Hendrex had a new game she was trying to get everyone in the restaurant involved in. We can't go into much detail due to its adult nature, so you will just have to ask her next time you see her at a show. We're sure she won't mind, heck, she might even ask you to be the next player. So after an interesting night's meal, we headed back to the cruise strip to check out the rest of the action.
Dave's Ranger has been given a complete overhaul; look for it soon in an upcoming issue.
This SEMA 4-Runner has been brought out of hiding after a few years.
Getting an early start the next morning we got to see a little bit of that Tennessee weather kick in, but it was just a couple small rain showers, nothing to keep the show from going on in style. The awards were handed out in time to help get everyone headed back home on time. Plans are already in the making for the 2010 event so make sure you check out all the info at Autoshows.