Hello, and welcome to another jam-packed edition of The Hot Seat. In case you missed last month's story, each month we take a person that has been a vital part, a mentor, or made some significant impact in the scene, and expose him or her and make them blush for your reading enjoyment.
So sit back, light a match, do a courtesy flush, and enjoy this month's installment.
If you have an idea for someone you want to see in The Hot Seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions, questions, or comments, and maybe your favorite person will be our next victim!
This month, we bring you Courtney "Tito" Halowell; if you don't know him yet, you're about to know it all!
Full Name: Courtney Thomas Halowell
Place of birth: San Diego, CA
Current residence: Corona, CA
Daily driver: '08 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner with full Total Chaos Fabrication long-travel suspension
Who are you?: Was the Editor of Mini Truckin', founding member of Negative Camber, Editorial Director of the Source Interlink Media American Motorcycle Group, fat guy, slacker, wannabe fabricator, a guy who splits lanes on a Harley everyday, occasional minitruck builder.
Q: What is in your Toilet Tower/Lavatory Library? Be honest, not the obvious ones like Mini Truckin', we want to know about the US Weekly, the Better Homes & Gardens and the Luscious Large Woman mags.
A: I get inspiration from lots of sources outside the truck scene. Rodders Journal, Hop-Up, Classic Trucks, Dirt Sports and Cycle Source.
Q: Tell us one thing people either don't know about you or would be very surprised to hear?
A: I am no big deal, man. I am just like you, I love everything with wheels and I was an enthusiast before I ever went to work at a magazine. If I had to get a regular job tomorrow, I would still build stuff in my garage-with some help from my friends of course.
Q. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what is it, and do you regret it?
A: A lot of tattoos! I don't regret any of them; they all tell a little part of my life story, like chapters in a book.
Q. Do you consider yourself "regular"?
A: If by regular you mean a regular kind of guy, then sure. I am pretty simple, I like my coffee with cream and sugar, not some foo-foo coffee drink all mixed with hot chocolate. If by regular you mean I poop everyday, then yes to that too.
Q. What is your favorite show of all time? Why?
A: Spring Splash, Endless Summer, West Coast Nationals... basically any show at the river. Boats, girls in bikinis, a reason to barbecue, and some of the coolest trucks on the planet - who could argue with that?
Q. What got you into the scene?
A: There were a lot of kids my age in San Diego that were into minitrucks and I just fell in with that crowd. I got an old Datsun 620 and that only lasted a couple months before I sold that and bought a brand new '87 Mazdawg.
Q. How many magazines have you worked for?
A: I went to work for Mini Truckin' back in '92. Then in '94 I transferred over to Hot Bike and in '99 I went back to Mini Truckin' for a few issues before I left the company all together. I went to start Street Trucks with Steve Stillwell and Brian McCormick, two guys I respect a ton and was honored to work with them. Then we all left to go work on TEN Trucks Magazine as well as learn the internet side of the business. After a little over a year of that, it was time to start looking around again, and that's how I ended up back here working for the Source Interlink Media American Motorcycle Group overseeing the production of Hot Bike, Baggers and Street Chopper.
Q. Rumor has it that you only have one testicle, any funny nicknames you want to share? How did you manage to have that happen?
A: It all started with an accident on a BMX bike when I was a kid. Then about a year later I crashed a dirt bike up in the hills by my house and I do believe that did me in. Flash forward a bunch of years and I am getting a physical from my doctor and he notices I have a hernia. So during surgery he notices that the hernia has been blocking off the blood flow to one of my boys on-and-off and because of the damage that had been done. He decided that the safe road was to remove it. You can imagine how the conversation in the recovery room went. "Everything went fine right up until the point where we had to remove one of your testicles..."
Q. There is a couple versions of the story behind Wyatt Strange. Can you clear this up for us?
A: It goes way back to a series of stories that Brian McCormick wrote that he called "Yo Mike" that were in the first ten issues of Mini Truckin' or so. When I went to work at Mini Truckin' they asked me if I could write a column like that and that's where Wyatt Hertz and Mini Truckin' Diary started. Steve Stillwell didn't like the name Wyatt Hertz so he changed the last name to Strange. I wrote the column after I transferred to Hot Bike, until they asked if Clint Walker could take a crack at it and see if he would be a suitable replacement. He obviously had been paying attention because he never even missed a beat and wrote some of the most remembered stories.
Q. What's your most memorable experience as an editor?
A: It is hard to pick just one. Almost killing Shaun Carlson and Chris Schmidt in East Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania when I came inches from driving off a cliff in a golf cart in the dark is pretty memorable. Every trip to Austin, Texas was good. But none of the experiences as an editor would mean a thing without the friends I have made along the way.
Q. So what are you doing these days? Where can we find you on weekends?
A: Lets see, last weekend I went to my buddy Rudy's hot rod shop, Fullerton Fabrication on Saturday. Sunday I went to visit my family in San Diego. This weekend I am supposed to take my Pre-Runner out to the desert with the folks from Total Chaos Fabrication. And next weekend is California Bike Week/Love Ride, so I keep pretty busy.
Q.What would you like to be most remembered for?
A: Being honest, having more fun than should be allowed by law, and using off road parts on street trucks. The off road industry makes some of the coolest parts that are perfect for street-driven projects like shock mounts, battery boxes, and a lot of the fabrication goodies.
Q. Who do you look up to in the industry?
A: Depends if you mean publishing or the automotive aftermarket? In publishing there's Steve Stillwell and the late Grey Baskerville. In the automotive aftermarket there is Jeff Davy, Bill Carlton, James Crosby, Cory Scott, and Sal Solarzano from TCI.
Q. What have you gained from this industry?
A: Friends; lots and lots of friends
Q: And of course, the plugs or anyone you would like to thank?
A: I get a lot of my stuff from Devious Customs, Extensive Metal Works, Total Cost Involved, Total Chaos Fabrication, King Shock Technologies, Kartek Off Road, CGS Motorsports, Oasis Compressors, No Limit Engineering, Nitto Tires, Devious Wheel Co., Classic Performance Products, LMC Truck, LB Threads, Line-X of Long Beach, Akuza Wheels, Robby Gordon Off Road, and Chappell's in El Cajon, California.