If you're a sport truck enthusiast in the Sunshine State, you probably already know about Slamfest and Mini Madness. The club's long-running event has been a Florida favorite for more than a decade. Mini Madness, headquartered in Brandon, Florida, with members located throughout the state, is celebrating its thirteenth year as a club. For the past 12 years, the club has been inviting friends from around the country to its legendary end-of-the-year blowout.

Regulars at Slamfest know that the easy flow from check-in to the final awards presentation is carefully orchestrated, with procedures refined over the years. To the event's first-timers, the show seems to transition seamlessly from one cool event to the next, with hardly a break in the action.

The Florida State Fairgrounds is the ideal location, with plenty of room to display your truck, space for hundreds of vendors, and air-conditioned indoor spaces that provided a break from the mild October sunshine. This past year was the first time the show was held in October, moved from its traditional November time slot to eliminate conflicts with other popular November automotive events.

Games are a Slamfest tradition and amazingly, everybody plays. Clubs engage in good-natured rivalry just to be able to joke later that "We won!" The burnout contest always draws an active field with strong players on both sides. The big-inch rear-drive V-8s use brute force, while the front-drive four-cylinders use high-tech finesse. Both factions have their fans, and both groups can blow tires at will, to the delight of everyone in the crowd. Winners get new rubber, while losers get a handshake and directions to the Falken store.

The bikini contest is always a favorite, and the prize money helps attract the best of the best. More than a dozen of the Southeast's hottest girls slipped into something skimpy for the occasion, and the crowd roared in approval. A dozen or so runway walks later, Stephanie captured the crowd, the judges, and the $500, in that order.

The end of the bikini contest meant the beginning of the awards ceremony, a particularly intense time for the 1,500 competitors at this year's event. Everyone can't take home a trophy, but the odds were very good, with 150 hearing their name called from the stage. A few achieved special recognition, such as Joe Schmelzer's fabulous '95 S-10, taking Best of Show. Joe detailed every inch of the body-dropped truck, inside and out; set it on 18s and 20s; then painted it Orange Metallic and Ice Silver. He took the trophy along with $500 in cash. The coveted Mini Madness pick went to Jason Robichaux and his beautiful slammed '99 Chevy dualie. Loaded with exquisite detail and sporting a one-of-a-kind fiberglass interior, the truck earned Jason a cool $1,000.

If you'd like a shot at some special recognition of your own, shine up your wheels and check out Florida's favorite fall show. Dates for 2004's Slamfest are October 2 and 3. Get details about this year's show at www.minimadness.com.