The last year the F-100 Super Nationals called the Grand Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home was 2003. Due to the show's incredible growth over the last several years and changes in the management of the Grand Hotel, show promoter Pat Ford and his staff made the tough decision to find a new home for the event. Pat would have liked to have kept the show in Pigeon Forge but just couldn't find a place big enough to handle a show the size of the Super Nat's. So, after a lot of thought, searching, and negotiating, Pat and his staff made the decision to move the show to Chilhowee Park in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2004.
Chilhowee is a great place for a show this size. There is plenty of space for everyone to spread out and not be parked door handle to door handle. There is also plenty of room for more vendors, which is great for the show. Pat didn't have to turn down any requests for vendor space this year. There was a great vendor turn-out this year, filling the Jacobs building, selling everything needed to build a complete truck from the ground up. The Jacobs building is a large two-story building, about as long as a football field, and it was full of vendors from end to end, as well as the parking lots in front and on the south end of the building. One of the things that helped make this event a big success was the help Pat and his staff received from the city of Knoxville and the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation. They really helped to promote the show around the Knoxville area and the eastern part of Tennessee. There were at least three television stations on hand, and they all wanted to interview show promoter Pat Ford.
As always, the awards presentation took place on Saturday night and was presided over by Pat and assisted by the show deejay, known as Koto. One of the first activities Pat orchestrated was to bring all of the participants' children, ages ranging from infant to teen, to the stage to present them with huge suckers. Hopefully, these kids are going to carry on the F-100 tradition. Next, Pat introduced the head show judge for the Super Nationals, Pat Martin. If you've had the opportunity to meet Pat, you will never forget him. He stands about 6 feet 4 inches and calls it like he sees it.
On the evening's agenda were the specialty awards, with two of the most prestigious being the Brett Ford Incredible Youth Award and the Dan Ford Spirit Award. The Brett Ford Incredible Youth award is in honor of Pat and Jan's daughter Brett, who was killed by a drunk driver a couple of years ago. The award is given to a most deserving young person involved with F-100 trucks. This year's recipient was Ryan Fleck of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Next was the Dan Ford Spirit Award, presented in honor of Pat's brother Dan, who died of a heart attack several years ago. This award is given to someone who is instrumental in promoting Ford trucks. This year's award went to Bill Lee from Long Beach, California, a major player in promoting Ford trucks on the West Coast. More than 250 trophies were handed out, with Truck of the Year going to Rick Clutte from Lancaster, California.
We have left out a lot of things about this year's Super Nat's, but there are a lot of stories surrounding the show, so you better be there to take it all in. There were a lot of great trucks, and each one had a story about how it came to be. We have heard that Pat and his staff are working on a lot of big plans for the '06 edition of the Super Nationals. The '06 show will also be the 50th anniversary of the '56 F-100 truck. So, with a little help from a lot of vendors, Pat is planning to give away a '56 F-100 truck, which will be valued at nearly 100,000 dollars. So, if you want to be part of this great event and maybe win a truck, give Pat a call at (704) 872-7327, or check out the show website at www.f100supernationals.com. Sport Truck magazine will be there to see who the lucky winners will be.