It was hot and dusty, but that didn't deter more than 2,000 sport truck owners and almost 40,000 sport truck enthusiasts from attending the 2003 Carlisle All-Truck Nationals. Carlisle, located in the foothills southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is one of the larger, if not the largest, gathering of show trucks east of the Mississippi.

While the show field was packed with every kind of lowered, lifted, modified, mini, fullsize, vintage, and late-model truck, the best thing about any event at Carlisle (www.carsatcarlisle.com) is the extensive collection of vendors on hand.

While we're always amazed at some of the hidden treasures that the flea-market vendors haul to events like this, in talking with several of them, they made it clear that the hassle involved is almost always worth it. Sport truck enthusiasts come to Carlisle to buy; everything from fenders for your vintage Effie down to the latest die-casts painted to match their fullsize counterparts.

New for 2003 was an invitational event held indoors. Twenty stock, modified, lifted, and slammed trucks were invited, including the Nuno Fernandez '02 Yukon featured in the September issue of Sport Truck. As promised, Fernandez discarded the set of wheels installed on his Yukon back when it was shot last winter, and it now rides on a set of 22s. The wildest truck on display in the invitational hall was a fully restored '58 Mack Model-H tractor displayed in period-correct Roadway livery.

While walking the show field, not only did we see many interesting trucks, but we spoke with many owners, all of whom had great stories to share. That's what makes these events so nice: the hours of bench racing you can do while you sit around and soak in the custom atmosphere. The Carlisle All-Truck nationals is a three-day gathering held the first weekend of the summer, so if you are in the neighborhood and want to find that swap-meet part or just look around, mark your calendar.