If not for truck clubs, I would have a lot less friends in the world. If there weren't any truck clubs in the world, I would have driven a musclecar to work today, and sadly, work would have been as far away from automotive enthusiast publishing as possible. If it weren't for truck clubs, I might never have met my wife, never discovered the joys of removing road dots from the highway with my truck, and never experienced the thrills of drag racing, truck runs, or road trips. Were it not for truck clubs, I might have gone to jail a few times less and missed out on those valuable experiences, and I would never have seen a Texas tornado or have partaken in Rudy's BBQ. In short, if it weren't for truck clubs, in general, I wouldn't be the man I am today or live the life I lead. I owe much of my adult existence to truck clubs (and you, Mom and Dad).
Truck clubs have gotten a bad rap lately, and it's mostly our own fault. We build trucks that for the most part are illegal to drive on public roads, and we flaunt this fact in magazines, on the internet, and in DVDs sold nationwide. We like to party. We like our trucks spicy and as far away from stock as possible so that normal people take notice. We like that "normal" people don't understand our lifestyle because it gives us a sense of pride. We are outsiders who don't fit into the mainstream automotive society. We like our trucks fast, whether low or high, but many of us will never be caught racing at an NHRA drag racing event. We go out of our way to emulate the styles pioneered by street- and hot-rodders, and then we throw our own truck shows that don't cater to those idols. We live life our way, and unfortunately, this life doesn't always make sense to the rest of the world. And truck clubs usually take the blame for our indiscretions.
I'm here to say that truck clubs are a good thing, though, and I'm proud to not only hang out with them but be part of them, as well. For me, life didn't really get rollin' until I joined a club. Back in the day, the guys from Drop Zone in California got me into the lifestyle. After finding out that I had the slightest bit of interest in lowering my stock Toyota mini, they came by my job and took the truck from me and brought it back later that day completely hammered. Those guys didn't know me from Jack, but they were more than willing to become friends with me all for the love of customizing trucks.
A short while later, I moved to New York and made a few more lifelong friends, thanks to driving my freshly lowered truck through a town that had never seen a mini-truck before. These friends would eventually start a chapter of the club Severed Ties. We spent the next few years building our rides and exploring truck shows across the East Coast, together. I had the time of my life. My time in New York led to a job in the publishing industry at none other than a truck magazine, but not before I made a ridiculous road trip across the nation in my truck.
The road trip was a successful disaster. I got lost, broke down, broke into, lived through hail storms, tornadoes, broken ball joints, broken driveshafts, and all the usual calamities like blown tires that inevitably occur during a road trip. No doubt about it, my truck and I made it through, thanks to the club I was in. I literally had friends in every state I drove through who were more than willing to lend me a hand when I ran into trouble. These were guys who had never met me before, and yet, just because I had their club logo painted on my back window, they went out of their way to help. Josh Long and the crew from Severed Ties, Tennessee, fixed the ball joints and 'bag mounts on my Tacoma after everything broke during the Mini Truck Nats show. After making it to Texas Heat Wave, Mitch Rall and the guys from Severed Ties, Texas, actually took up a collection to help me with gas money when I nearly ran out just a few days outside of California. I think they actually took pity on me because 20 minutes after I reached their home state I had blown an air line and had the stereo stolen out of my truck in a hotel parking lot. Again, I had never met them, our only connection was our club logo, and they still dropped everything to make sure I made it through their state safely.
When I did finally reach California, I was aided by members of Drop Zone, Severed Ties, and Negative Camber. Before I even arrived, I had a place to stay, references to find an apartment, and people to hang out with at the end of the day. I can't imagine moving across the country like that without the help of truck clubs and the good people in them. But, these memories mean more to me than any club logo. I've long since parted ways with Severed Ties but still remain in contact with members of the club. Every year, I run into my old friends at truck shows across the nation, and although we don't see each other as often as we'd like, we can still bench-race about trucks as if nothing's changed. For all the drama, inconvenience, and trouble joining a club and attending its meetings can be, there's still a ton of good that comes from it. The experiences, the network of friends, and the knowledge that other club members can pass on to you when you want to make a new modification to your truck is without measure. So join a club, go to some shows, and be proud of your truck and your new friends, and I'll see you next month.