Holidays are those special times throughout the year when we take a break from the daily routine and have some fun. Whether it's Fourth of July picnics or Christmas reunions, they are moments we look forward to all year long. Although not quite on the same level, certain favorite car and truck shows have also become part of our traditions, and many of us would rather cancel our birthday party before missing one of these events. The long-running Slamfest in Tampa has become one of those time-honored traditions for truckers in the Southeast. Club-sponsored and going strong for the past 14 years, this event has it all.

Using the lessons learned from previous shows, along with the combination of experience and enthusiasm that characterizes MiniMadness, the host club refines each show with the goal of making this year's event better than the last. It starts even before you get to the gate with budget-friendly prices, if you preregister, and the option of either showing your truck or just hanging out.

For those interested in competing, the drive-through judging was quick and thorough, thanks to multiple lanes and dozens of pink-shirted club members expediting the process. With the score sheets taken care of, roll out and park with your friends in the spacious Florida State Fairgrounds. More than 1,000 registered vehicles were on display, outside in the balmy Tampa weather or inside in the air-conditioned Expo Hall. You can check out the trucks, then check out the action.

Lots of crowd-captivating events gave you the choice of participating or watching. One of the noisiest activities was the burnout contest, drawing a huge crowd. The unusual mix of big bikes, small bikes, mini-trucks, fullsize trucks, front-wheel-drive imports, and full-blown, rear-wheel-drive musclecars guaranteed an exciting competition. Brittney Kenny did a great job with her '73 Blazer convertible, showing the boys how the girls do it, but Rodney Hutto took the purse with his strong 396 Chevelle. Judging by the sound of that engine, Rodney could have fried the doughnuts down to crumbs.

Club games are a tradition at Slamfest, and everyone enjoys the fun. Whether it was the Dizzy Izzy (Circle Bat Relay), measuring your lack of straight-line equilibrium, the Loud Mouth Drags which assessed the volume of your vocal cords, or the Fear Factor kidney hors d'oeuvres gauging your gastric stamina, each was a challenge that entertained the crowds and participants alike. Thoroughly more pleasant than wolfing down red meat, however, there was one event with undeniable group appeal. The Miss Slamfest Bikini Contest has become a traditional part of the show, and no one wants to miss it. A half-dozen of the area's finest came out to compete, looking for a share of the $1,000 prize money. Beautiful Cory took home the title and the cash, creating an instant fan club in the process.

More than100 trophies changed hands at the awards ceremony, with Jennifer Lacy's House of Kolor Pink S-10 cover truck taking the Best of Show Mini-Truck trophy, along with a check for $500. Ken Knaebel was also smiling, winning Best of Show Fullsize with his bright-yellow '55 Chevy, completed just the day before. Driving it for the first time the day of the show, Ken was the happiest fella at the fairgrounds when he received his trophy and a $500 check for his spankin'-new ride.

As always, the good times at Slamfest are mixed with solid community awareness and responsibility. In addition to their Red Cross donations to help families displaced by Hurricane Katrina and the Adopt-a-Family Program that the club participates in during the Christmas season, the members of MiniMadness also held an auction to benefit the family of Matt Klausing, a good friend and member of Life Style Car Club, tragically killed in an auto accident.

If you would like to be part of an event that is not only good fun but always supports a good cause, get the details at www.minimadness.com. Next year's dates are set for October 7-8, 2006, and club members are planning to go all out to make the '06 show even more special. It will mark their 20th anniversary as a club and the 15th anniversary of the show. Don't miss it. We'll see you there.

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