Nothing creates fear in a show promoter's heart more quickly than bad weather. All the careful promotion, months of planning, and big financial expenditures can be wiped out by a single, heavy rainstorm. Thanks to its legendary reputation, threats of rain did not slow the huge numbers of vehicles pouring into this year's Slam Session. Although the weatherman predicted poor weather for both Saturday and Sunday, in fact the weather was delightful with mild temperatures throughout the weekend and only a brief Sunday morning shower to cool things off.

Part of the reason for the huge attendance is that Slam Session, now in its thirteenth year, has become a must-attend event for thousands of truckers in the Carolinas. Every year, the event's party reputation draws drivers from hundreds of miles away because Animated Attractions, celebrating its fifteenth anniversary as a club, knows its target audience and gives them what they want. From Friday's welcome to the closing ceremonies late Sunday, everything about the event is geared toward great automotive entertainment. Returning spectators know that this show is a guaranteed good time. Word of mouth lures new arrivals, and when they leave, they understand why everyone automatically makes plans to attend this get-together the following year.

The Pitt County Fairgrounds in Greenville, North Carolina, has been the location of the show for several years. Plenty of indoor and outdoor display space makes it a favorite. This year, the dozens of rows of customs filled up quickly, and the club had to use overflow parking. The huge collection of more than 800 vehicles meant the crowd spent a pleasant Saturday afternoon investigating some of the East Coast's finest rides. Club members were busy judging throughout the weekend, choosing the winners in 120 car, truck, lowrider, and motorcycle classes.

Saturday night, however, is when the real action begins. The crowd of several thousand gathered around the huge stage, knowing they were in for a treat. Fear Factor-type games led off the entertainment, with contestants enjoying such delicacies as jalapeno peppers, pickled pigs' feet, and worms to demonstrate their courage. The winners were rewarded with concert tickets and cash. And, cash was also the attraction for the bikini contest, with more than a dozen of the area's finest Southern Belles, looking for a share of the $850 prize money. Hundreds of digital cameras went into overload from the red-hot action. The wet T-shirt contest continued the fun, and another $500 was presented to the beautiful winner. For many, the on-site camping facilities at the fairgrounds meant the afterparty would last until dawn.

Sunday morning started quietly out of respect for those who partied heartily the night before, but like all other Slam Session events, the action was nonstop. The Sunday fun, aptly named "Hangover Games," helped to ease many back into the world of the living with the egg toss, amp toss, bat spin, and tug of war. The National Sound Pressure League held its stereo contest throughout the weekend, giving the audiophiles a chance to register some big numbers, gain some bragging rights, and score some trophies. The hydraulic contest pitted some of the area's most enthusiastic switchmen against each other, all looking for the big cash prizes. Animated Attractions had the green ready and the winners of the hop-'n'-dance competition pocketed $500 each. New to Slam Session this year was the burnout contest, and judging by its popularity, it will probably become a regular part of the show. The $250 prize handed to the top smoker helped replace some of the rubber he had converted to dust in the process. The awards ceremony was also a combination of gold and cash, with more than 400 trophies awarded to talented customizers.

For most events, that would have been the end of it and everyone would have gone home happy. However, at Slam Session, the best was yet to come. As a matter of fact, there were 10 Best Of categories, and each paid excited class winners a cool $500. Trash 4 Cash fattened club treasuries by $500, $250, and $100 for the three largest trash piles. The overall Best of Show winner, Glenn Krofchic, from New Bern, North Carolina, received his cash award for his sweet '67 F-100, a $1,000 check that was in addition to all the rest of the fun that weekend. Magazine crews including Sport Truck were on hand to immortalize your ride, making it a truly memorable event for those selected. If you'd like to experience the excitement at this long-running Carolina event (and maybe score some cash to really bump up the adrenaline), put the 2006 Slam Session on your calendar now. For details about next year's show, check the club website, www.animatedattractionscc.com.

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