Welcome to the Third Annual Mini Truckin' Awards. For the past two years, the Mini Truckin' staff has brought you our picks as to what we felt symbolized the best that our pastime had to offer in show trucks, truck clubs, and truck shows. We're doing it again for 2004, and we'll be inducting three more names into the MT history books. For the third year, the MT editorial and freelance staff will be voting for their favorites from the past year. This way, you'll know just who was the best of the best -- at least, from our perspective. As usual, we've been careful to make sure that everyone voted according to their conscience and chose each truck, show, and club as impartially as possible. These were builds, groups, and events that made the year memorable and give us all a goal to achieve when aligning our truck, show, or club toward greatness. Ready to find out who takes bragging rights for the past season into 2005? Let's g0!

2004 Mini-Truck of the Year:

Lance Martz - MT Editor
Farfromluezen - Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota (Nov. '04 MT Cover)
For 2003, I intentionally made sure that my staff voted in such a way as to keep a certain truck out of the running and keep people from thinking I was playing favorites, since that truck was in my own club. In my opinion, that truck should have won the 2003 award hands-down. After looking over all the trucks we featured this past year, I'd have to say that Brent Zuehlke's VW-powered Toyota mini is the most ingenious custom we put in all year long. It's not about what club the truck is in; it's all about the truck itself. With details from the grille to the tailgate and roof to chassis, there isn't a square inch that hasn't been touched to make it more custom. Even the way that the truck is displayed at shows makes it hard to miss all the extra work Brent and his dad put into the buildup. In my opinion, the Zuehlkes truly deserve 2004's trophy for Mini-Truck of the Year.

Mike Alexander - MT Associate Editor
Got Wood? - Ryan Gibson's '98 Frontier (Oct. '04 MT Cover)
When I first laid eyes on Ryan Gibson's '98 Nissan Frontier in the Nov. '02 Construction Zone Special, I fell in love with the Frontier body style layin' flat on the ground. At that time, I was just a reader of the magazine. Back then, the truck was already super-clean. For the next two years, Ryan and his buddies continued to work until every single bolt on the truck had been tended to. The new paintjob alone stops people in their tracks at every show Ryan attends. I've always been a fan of clean and simple trucks that are built with your own hands and with the help of your close friends, and this truck is one of the finest examples of that. This truck also won Editor's Choice at Showfest among the hundreds of mini-trucks that made an appearance. This is the first cover I shot as well, but hey, anyway you look at it, Ray Ray's truck is badass.

John O'Neill - MT Contributing Editor
Farfromluezen - Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota (Nov. '04 MT Cover)
My vote has to be for Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota standard cab. From the first time I met Brent at Novemberfest and walked around the fully powdercoated tube chassis with the 2387cc VW motor kickin' it in the back, I knew that this truck had the potential to be nothing short of a great mini-truck. The work that was put into the chassis was perfectly matched with the interior. The hot-rod-inspired whale-tale dash, the door panels, and even the carpet pattern are proof positive that nothing was overlooked. Although the exterior has a ton of body mods, they all accentuate the truck as a whole rather than drawing too much attention to one specific mod, making it look out of place. For me, this is the epitome of a mini-truck.

Kevin Whipps - MT Freelancer
Farfromluezen - Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota (Nov. '04 MT Cover)
Two years ago, I got a phone call from my friend Aaron Garcia. He said, "Dude, you've gotta check out what this dude is building." An hour later, I was in a garage in Mesa, Arizona, looking at an air-cylindered tube frame with a VW block in the back and the cab of a Toyota sitting in the backyard. I never thought it'd be finished, but this truck is just plain sick. From the powdercoated frame to the laid-out stance and the fact that it gets crazy lift, this truck is it. As hard-core mini-truckers go, this guy takes the cake.

Joe Greeves - MT Freelancer
Farfromluezen - Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota (Nov. '04 MT Cover)
My choice for the 2004 Mini Truckin' Truck of the Year is Brent Zuehlke's mid-engine '85 Toyota. Besides being a "rescue" from the backyard, it combines ultra-clean, almost street-rodder style with some genuinely innovative engineering. I was particularly impressed with the sculpted dash and console; the subtle stereo; the clean lines of the tilt bed, which showcase the highly unique VW powerplant; the striking graphics; and, of course, the VW switchbox that adds the perfect finishing touch. This one has it all.

Justin Cross - MT Freelancer
Farfromluezen - Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota (Nov. '04 MT Cover)
There is so much to be said about this truck. The detail and ingenuity that went into it is amazing. From the engine to the chassis, all the original ideas used to create this ride are what people will be setting the standards by for years to come. Although it may not be something you'll catch cruising very often, it's nothing short of unreal.

Brandi Gulow - MT Freelancer
Farfromluezen - Brent Zuehlke's '85 Toyota (Nov. '04 MT Cover)
This truck is different. I like it because it's unique from what a lot of people are doing and because it was a family centered buildup. I dig that.

2004 Show of the Year:

Lance Martz - MT Editor
Assorted Miniatures' Showfest
No show that I know of brings the mini-truckin' community together like Showfest. Somehow, mini-truckers haven't worn out their welcome in Greenville, and the show continues to get bigger and better every year. While the show's after-hours activities tend to get extremely close to out of control, the local po-pos tolerate the mass of body-dragging enthusiasts who flock to Mississippi every year. While so many of the good shows are beginning to dwindle across the United States, it's refreshing to see that Assorted Miniatures' Showfest is still going strong.

Mike Alexander - MT Associate Editor
Assorted Miniatures' Showfest
Since this was my first trip to Showfest in Greenville, Mississippi, you probably could have guessed that it definitely gets my vote, hands down. I had so much fun the first night, I almost couldn't wake up for the show the next day. But, hey, that's what Lance and wake-up calls are for, right? It was so dope to watch truck after truck drag down the middle of the highway, without having to worry about the "fuzz" lighting 'em up and handing out tickets. The sides of the streets were lined with hundreds of cool people who you can just walk up to and hang out with and not feel left out. Everyone was like one big family. It was hilarious when Ballpark kissed that large and in-charge local. I'm never going to let him live that down.

John O'Neill - MT Contributing Editor
Assorted Miniatures' Showfest
When it comes to shows, there is still only one that promises everything, from never-before-seen rides to all-night dragging and three days worth of partying. Assorted Miniatures has figured out the perfect formula for blending a kickass show with a city-wide run. Creating that caliber of a production is no easy task, but Keith Broadaway has worked hard with the city of Greenville to make sure that everything a mini-trucker could hope for in a show will happen at Showfest.

Kevin Whipps - MT Freelancer
Assorted Miniatures' Showfest
Any show that can get people from Cali' to drive out to some po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere has to have some street credibility, and Showfest is it. Dragging 24/7, brown water in the toilets and crazy rental-car tricks all come to mind, but it's the ability to cruise all the time that makes Showfest what it is.

Joe Greeves - MT Freelancer
Slammin' & Jammin'
I've been covering Slammin' & Jammin' since it began about 11 years ago. That first show attracted just a few hundred vehicles, while this year's event drew more than 1,500. Even though the numbers have increased dramatically, the show still retains the 'part of the family' feeling that has characterized it from the beginning. Under the skilled management of Denise and Charlie Cobble, Slammin' and Jammin' has it all with a great location, lots of entertainment, and, this year (now with major sponsors), more than $20,000 in give-aways. If you want a great weekend vacation for you and your truck, head to Lebanon, Tennessee, for the 2005 Slammin' & Jammin'.

Justin Cross - MT Freelancer
Scrapin' the Coast 2004
This show came out of the corner swingin' in 2003 and did nothing but get better in 2004. From the four-lane draggin' next to the beach to giving away a tricked-out mini, this show does nothing but cater to the participants. These guys have heard what the masses want, and they delivered.

Brandi Gulow - MT Freelancer
Southeastern Mini Truckin' Nationals
The Mini Nats in Nashville is hands-down my favorite show. Why, you ask? Well, let's just say that when you work for Lance and are a member of the same club as him, you must work three times as hard to get your vehicle even looked at to be featured. He finally pointed a camera at ours, at last year's Mini Nats. Although that show was definitely the most fun for us, for showgoers as a whole, Greenville still rules.

2004 Club of the Year:

Lance Martz - MT Editor
Pebble Pushers
Man, I can't say enough about this single-chapter club from the East Coast. The members are some of the coolest cats you'll ever meet. They're also responsible for a killer show called SCR8PFEST held in Kannapolis, North Carolina. One day, I'll actually get to go in person and not have to read about it like a regular reader (not that that's a bad thing, mind you). While it may not win Club of the Year in this lifetime, I'm going to vote for it again anyway. I've always been a fan of small groups that work together well, and Pebble Pushers do it like family all the time. From helping one another with their custom projects to holding shows and supporting each other wherever they go, thee PPs do it in style. To Fuzzy, Rob, Lil Bubba, Bubba, Scooby (owner of the Barforium Blazer) and all the rest of you freakish wonders, I miss you guys. Check out www.pebblepushers.com for more info on the club's whereabouts, meetings, and crazy shenanigans. Yes, I said shenanigans.

Mike Alexander - MT Associate Editor
Relaxed Atmosphere
Club of the Year is always the hardest pick for me since everyone I've come across always welcomes me with open arms and really shows me what being a part of the mini-truck scene is all about. I've met many cool people from every club coast to coast, but this award is not only given out for being hospitable, outgoing, and super supportive of our lifestyle and the shows we attend. It's also about the caliber of vehicles built, finished, and sporting a logo. There's a reason why Severed, NC, and Relaxed are considered the "Big Three" of the club scene: Not only do they have the most chapters nationwide, but they also have the most quality vehicles out there. Anyway, Severed won it the first year, and NC got it last year, so this year it was definitely Relaxed Atmosphere's turn. With its new show, the All-Star Event, Relaxed Atmosphere brought another awesome event to the table. The rides that the members alone brought to the show were of the highest quality I've seen at any show this year.

John O'Neill - MT Contributing Editor
Xtreme Lowz
This has to be the hardest category to come up with only one answer for. This last year, several clubs stepped up to the plate with not only clean rides, but also great shows. One club in particular stands out in my mind as producing feature-worthy trucks, as well as throwing shows year after year that are well-organized and a blast, too. That club is Xtreme Lowz. Coast to coast, it has some of the lowest trucks and a great attitude when it comes to supporting the scene. The club's annual charity blood drive, Blooddrag, is one of the cornerstones of the mini-truckin' community and gives back to the general public tenfold.

Kevin Whipps - MT Freelancer
Negative Camber
Seriously, can you go anywhere in this country without seeing a Camber logo? From cruising around town to surfing the tube, NC is all over. It's a sign of where you're at in the world when your logo makes it on the Discovery Channel and your parties are legendary. The "Un-club" deserves Club of the Year for the second year in a row -- no doubt in my mind.

Joe Greeves - MT Freelancer
Animated Attractions
Although I've worked with and nominated several great clubs in the last few years, my choice for 2004 is Animated Attractions in Greenville, North Carolina. One of the oldest clubs in the Carolinas, it's done so much for the sport that it deserves special recognition. Brothers Glenn and Mike Pilgreen have been involved with this long-running club since the outset and they, along with the other very active members, continue to put on several successful shows every year. This club built a strong following because, in addition to some of the wildest entertainment you'll ever find, its members hold true to their philosophy of always giving something back to the competitors who enter their events.

Justin Cross - MT Freelancer
Acrophobia
I've been watching these guys ever since the first time I saw the logo in Ocala, Florida, five years ago. I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of them over the years, and you couldn't ask for a more down-to-earth bunch. The dedication this club brings to the scene is great, so don't expect Acrophobia to disappear anytime soon.

Brandi Gulow - MT Freelancer
Pebble Pushers
This question gets harder each year because the same clubs continue to build cool rides. The clubs that I consider best are the ones that are like family -- not only with each other, but with all mini-truckers. I'm going to have to go with the club that always stands out to me as a stand-up, do-the-right-thing family club: Pebble Pushers.

Mini Truckin's Best of 2004:

2004 Truck of the Year
Congratulations to Brent Zuehlke for winning our choice for 2004's Mini Truckin' Truck of the Year and ingeniously homogenizing a Toyota mini-truck with components from a VW bus to come up with the most insane creation of the year.

2004 Show of the Year
Assorted Miniatures' Showfest wins again. This makes two trophies for the show that, so far, mini-truckers the nation over can't seem to get enough of. Everyone else who holds a show has to step up big time now, since the Assorted Miniatures staff has two of these to rub together.

2004 Club of the Year
Wow, dreams can come true since Pebble Pushers squeaked by with its first-ever win for Mini Truckin' Club of the Year. Congratulations to Pebble Pushers for proving that its quality, not quantity, that counts. It's kind of cool when you also realize that 2004 marked the club's 10th year in existence, and the members will be celebrating their first decade all season long.