First Stop: Dealers Sport Truck
It's hard to say who's crazier, the cruisers or the hosts. The sun's just barely throwing light on the scene around Dealers Sport Truck in Los Alamitos, California, and already the trucks are lining up. Some of the hard-core arrived before 5:00 a.m. We were thinking about awarding a prize for the earliest arrival, but nobody wanted to judge that category.
But, hey, the crew from Truckin', Sport Truck, Mini Truckin', Truckin's SUV, and Custom Classic Trucks arrived plenty early anyway to handle registration duties through the cargo doors of Dealers Sport Truck. They also arranged a continental breakfast to make wading through the registration process a little more humane.
A traditional part of the cruise is the Poker Run. Basically you play a hand of poker by picking a card out of a hat at each stop on the cruise. So assuming it's a five-stop cruise, you'll have five cards when you reach your last stop. That's where all the players show their cards and the one with the best hand wins.
Since there can be only one winner of the Poker Run, we also raffled off a Van Demon flame paintjob and a Vortex spray-on bedliner - we're just doin' our best to spread the love around.
After we got everyone registered, Joe Rafael, associate publisher of Primedia's Truck Group, kicked off the cruise with a warm welcome and a raffle for a $100 gift certificate from Dealers Sport Truck. He even led a "no rain" chant. Old-school sport truckers will no doubt recall the scene from Woodstock. If you don't get the Woodstock reference, go ask your dad.
Second Stop: Auto & Truck Specialties
After a quick cruise up the freeway, the State 2 State Cruise arrived at Auto & Truck Specialties (we just call 'em ATS).
We arrived early and watched as the parade of sport trucks filled the ATS parking lot, then overflowed into the cul de sac and around the corner. Trucks were even parking in the grass dividers separating the parking lots from the roads through the business park. After running the gauntlet of the parking lot, you could hook up with the ATS crew for a tour of the company's facility.
We also had refreshments, and participants reached into the hat for their second Poker Run card as well as got a free ATS T-shirt. And right after that, we raffled off five $100 gift certificates graciously donated by ATS. Truckin' magazine's editor, Steve Warner, fished the winning numbers out of a hat, and after all five gift certificates were awarded, we all saddled up and moved out to stop number three.
Third Stop: Advance Flow Engineering
From ATS we headed east about 37 miles to Corona, California, to rendezvous in the business park surrounding advanced FLOW engineering (aFe). The company makes some of the best cold-air systems you can put on your truck, and because we were rollin' on a Friday, the shops surrounding aFe got an eye-full of some rocking customs. Fortunately, there was plenty of parking and most of the folks in the local shops appreciated the unexpected truck show while the participants collected a third card for the Poker Run.
We had a lot on our agenda at this stop, so we had to move fast to give away the $100 gift certificate donated by aFe. Kevin Wilson, editorial director and editor of Sport Truck magazine, got on the bullhorn and called the numbers for the raffle, while Rob Sara from aFe went into Triple-A baseball promo mode as he rifled aFe T-shirts out into the crowd. All that was left to do was hand the gift certificate over and hit the road to the NHRA's museum in Pomona, California.