This year's Truckin' Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona, was attended without its usual State-To-State Cruise due to the escalated fuel prices at the pumps. For many cruisers it was just too much of a burden to make the trip. As we arrived early Saturday morning at O-dark-thirty we were amazed at the line that had formed during pre-dawn hours before the gates opened at 6:00 a.m.

When the gates opened, the vendors, show 'n' shiners, mini-truckers, drag racers, rock crawlers, and tough truck competitors lined up accordingly in their appropriate lanes for registration. Pre-registered contestants were directed to the show area where they would be displayed for the day. The aroma of carnauba waxes and polishes filled the morning air as competitors began their detailing rituals and positioned display props. The 7th Annual Tire Pros Truckin' 4x4 Aftermarket Expo Presented by GM Performance, Toyo Tires, and JC Whitney was taking shape and ready to rock!

The two-day event featured something for everyone. There was the colorful show 'n' shine, which brought out tons of quality rides being shown all weekend. There was also the monster trucks' "Party in the Pits," which allowed fans to meet the drivers, get an autograph or two, and measure themselves up to massive beasts like Bounty Hunter, Iron Outlaw, Nasty Boy, Snake Bite, and the most famous of them all, Big Foot (which started it all years ago). Each day of the event the mighty monster trucks gave the spectators their money's worth with incredible sky-high aerials, wild wheelies, and dizzy spinnin' donuts. The 1320 guys were smokin' their tires as they made countless passes down Firebird's famous quarter-mile strip, everything from seven-second pro-mod tucks to twenty-second Scion XB 4-bangers. For those who thought they had the baddest off-road vehicle that could withstand the treacherous terrain of the Toyo Tires Tough Truck Competition course, all they had to do was bring it on! But there were an unfortunate few that were rescued and taken out on the hook. "U-Drive" programs were put on by GM Performance, Chrysler, Ford, and Honda, allowing the consumer to get behind the wheel of their latest models to evaluate their handling performance both on- and off-road. And of course, the drag strip grandstands were packed for the Miss Truckin' Nationals Bikini Contest, as eight minimally clad girls paraded and posed for those who attended.

A great time was had by all. As the sun set over the Superstition Mountains to the west, the event's award presentations were being held inside the Ford Fusion Tent. After the winners received their well-deserved hardware, it was time to pack 'em up and roll 'em out until next year. Check out more Truckin' Nationals coverage on our website at www.minitruckinweb.com.

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