When I took over Mini Truckin', I had a bunch of things in mind about how I'd run a magazine. One important thing I wanted to accomplish was to give the magazine back to the enthusiasts who have supported it all these years. Another was to include many aspects of the lifestyle in one publication. Yet another was to put out a magazine that people would always be proud to be featured in, while not sucking up to anyone in the process. After being the errand boy for a few years, I finally got the chance to prove myself when I took over this title as its editor. One of the things I've always wanted to be is a person who stands behind his word. Not only did my mother instill this quality in me, but it's one that I've always admired in those who I consider my friends.
Over the years, we've had many trucks that we've photographed and a few that we've lost to other magazines that promised their cover position to those truck owners. Lucky for us, the number of people who are wholeheartedly devoted to Mini Truckin' magazine far outnumber those who aren't so loyal. Unfortunately for the truck owners who were shot by other magazines that don't cater strictly to mini-trucks and the mini-truckin' lifestyle, they got hosed. Many of those truck owners never got to see their prized mini-truck become the cover truck on any magazine and had to settle for a feature tucked into the back of some all-encompassing magazine catering to everything with a truck bed.
It was about this time that I realized that I had never lied to anyone, in all my years of publishing a magazine, about what the truck might become if published in any issue I've worked on over the past 10 years. When I was an upstart associate editor, I never said anything other than, "If my boss likes it enough, it'll run as a feature," or "I'll try to talk my boss into making a cover out of this, but no guarantees, OK?" When it comes to the magazine, I've always felt that being up front with people about their truck is the best way. You end up making a lot more friends than enemies, and over time, people will just learn to respect you a hell of a lot more.
When we published Chris Star's Mazda on the cover of our Feb. '05 issue, it marked the last promise I'd made to anyone about their truck becoming a cover. Although a few have fallen through the cracks over the years as I was told to start using models for all covers, that's just not the case anymore. Now, we try our best to mix up the trucks, with or without models, from month to month. With that issue, the last handshake to make any specific truck become the front-runner for MT has been fulfilled.
Now that we've done everything we've promised to do to date, I realize that there's nothing wrong with promising people that their truck will make the cover - as long as you stick to your word. It makes everyone who works on magazines look bad when you don't stick to what you say. It's important to remember that people are only as good as their word, and when they consistently let you down, it's a pretty strong reminder that you really don't matter to them once they go back to their offices after a weekend show out of state. Just like Larry H. Parker says - "I'll fight for you" - and I have been for almost 10 years.
Recently, I heard of a few guys who are starting up a new magazine. I imagine that it will be similar to Mini Truckin', although I'm not yet sure what it will contain. There's a mini-truck, however, on the mock-up cover posted on its nonfunctioning Web site. To me, this just gives us at MT more chances to shine as the foremost magazine on the planet that showcases and follows the pastime of mini-truckin'. Actually, the guys who are starting this magazine are friends of mine from the SoCal mini-truckin' scene. They're friends I've met because I work for Mini Truckin'. They are friends who we've helped by getting them the PR they were due, because of a show they are involved with. These friends are now trying to put out a magazine of their own. Unfortunately, friendships tend to go out the window when you try to bust out with competition. I do welcome it, though, because it can only make us rise to the occasion and put out a better-quality magazine in the long run.
If I had one bit of advice, it would be to always keep your word and put others before yourself at all times. Mini-truckin' as a pastime will always be around in some way, shape, or form, no matter who reports on it. I'm proud to be able to say that I've been working for MT for just over half of its existence, and I love it just as much today as I did when I was a reader. Enjoy this month's concoction - we've had a blast putting it together for you.