The 5th annual Truck Show Latino brought a quiet end to the 2009 truck show season.  After an exciting but grueling year filled with plenty of travel throughout the country, we were glad to attend this “local” show in Southern California, which is always a relaxing and fun event, and the last show of the year (at least for us).  Looking forward to a few months over the winter that did not include any plane rides or long drives, we headed to the Fairplex in Pomona, CA to attend and exhibit at the Truck Show Latino on October 17-18, 2009.

Like all of the other shows this year, Truck Show Latino saw a drop in most areas of the event including the quantity of exhibitors, the amount of floor space occupied, and the number of truck show competitors.  One area that did not decline was attendees – that number was about the same as last year – around 5,000.  In previous years, the show filled two buildings (one for exhibitors and one for the show trucks), but this year, everything fit just fine in one building.  But even with all of these challenges, it was still a very productive truck show.  Walking the aisles and talking to other vendors, we realized that everyone we talked to said about the same thing – that the show was small, but they were making great contacts and doing lots of business – and we had to agree.

Another last-minute “glitch” (if you want to call it that) was the fact that the coordinators of the truck beauty contest, Randall-Reilly’s Pride & Polish organization, announced that they were withdrawing from the show just a few weeks prior to the event, leaving show producers Roger Sherrard and Sue Fena scrambling to fill the void.  They called our mutual friends Frank & Dianna Pangburn, promoters and producers of the Truckin’ for Kids charity events, and asked them for some help.  Without hesitation, they agreed to step up and take it on, and then called us at 10-4 Magazine for a little sponsorship assistance, which we gladly agreed to do.

Wanting to come up with a new and catchy name for the truck beauty contest portion of the show, we put our heads together and came up with the “Best of the West Truck Show Competition” handle, which seemed to fit the bill.  Unfortunately, this little last-minute snag caused the amount of competitors to drop significantly, down to only 16 trucks.  Obviously, no records were broken, but the competition was still tough.  And in addition to the trucks entered in the competition, there were also a few eye-catching show trucks on display including Roadworks’ Peterbilt 389, Mike Ryan’s Freightliner race truck, and RJ Taylor’s Ol’ Blue 1951 Kenworth, just to name a few.

Always looking good, brothers Mark & Keith Pounds from Bakersfield, CA brought out their two flamed Freightliner rigs and took home a few awards, and Yamko Truck Lines out of Long Beach, CA, with three trucks entered, took a few trophies home, too.  Their super clean black cherry-colored Peterbilt 389s were tough to beat, and some of the nicest “container haulers” we had ever seen.  Ernie Rubio of Jessica Martinez Trucking walked away with two trophies for their pirate-themed, orange and black “Dead Man’s Chest” Peterbilt, complete with simulated (painted) wood plank rear fenders and a host of other neat details.  Kris Gaare and his long and low 1998 blue Peterbilt, which features under-hood air cleaners, 8” powder-coated exhaust, a custom interior and handmade body drop panels, earned our Sponsor’s Choice award.  Rolando Nava also brought out three of his finest KW’s and took home a trophy as well.

All the way from Atascosa, Texas (San Antonio area), the Mendez brothers of Texas Chrome Shop came out and set up a nice booth that featured parts and apparel for sale, as well as their now-famous “Project One” Peterbilt show truck on display.  This truck was not only on display, but it was also entered to compete in the truck beauty contest.  The brothers were happy that their insane creation earned them two awards, but they were much more excited that a truck they built took the Best of Show award.  In fact, this winning truck was the one that pulled their show truck (on a trailer) all the way to California from Texas.

Hank Hall’s Texas-based “Vamonos” truck took home the coveted Best of Show trophy.  This black 2004 Peterbilt 379, which features a 600 Cat engine, an 18-speed transmission and 3.55 rears, was painted and customized by the guys at Texas Chrome Shop and Triple R Diesel.  Featuring suicide doors, a chopped sleeper, an awesome interior, painted steps and visor, many custom-fabricated pieces and a billet grille, Hank’s rig was the one to beat – but nobody could!  And no one was happier about Hank’s win than the Mendez brothers – they were like proud parents, bragging about their kids and posing for pictures, celebrating the accomplishments both Hank and themselves had achieved.

During the award ceremony, many valuable items were given away to some lucky competitors’ whose names were randomly drawn – but what can be better than cold hard cash?  Well, nothing.  We at 10-4 Magazine gave away our usual “10-4 Bucks” ($104 cash) to two lucky truckers.  When giving away cash, the crowd tends to get pretty excited, and at this show, “Fast Eddie” Hall and his driver Tray Atkins were the two names drawn.  If any of you know Fast Eddie or Tray, you can imagine the commotion these two caused when going up to collect their cash.  It was a lot of fun!

As always, we had a great time at this show, and all of the others we attended throughout the year.  This year, during the Truck Show Latino, we also got the chance to enjoy some evening fun with show producers Roger Sherrard and his wife Joanne, as well as Sue Fena and her husband Frank.  On behalf of everyone involved with this event, we’d like to thank everyone who came out to the show – whether you came out to exhibit, compete or just attend, your presence was appreciated.  Dates for the 2010 show have not yet been announced, so stay tuned – we’ll let you know just as soon as we know so you can begin to make your plans to attend.  Ah, now its time for a few months of well-deserved time off!  See you next year!!

BEST ART/GRAPHICS: Ernie Rubio, Jessica Martinez Trucking

BEST METAL SHINE: Texas Chrome Shop’s “Project One”

BEST ENGINE: Mando Burguan, Yamko Truck Lines

BEST SLEEPER: Jesus Saucedo, Nava Trucking

BEST INTERIOR: John Gonzales, Yamko Truck Lines

BEST CABOVER: Keith Pounds, Central Valley Transport

BEST CONVENTIONAL: Mark Pounds, Central Valley Transport

SPONSOR’S CHOICE (10-4): Kris Gaare, Kriss Trucking

TRUCKIN’ FOR KIDS’ CHOICE: Texas Chrome Shop’s “Project One”

PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Ernie Rubio, Jessica Martinez Trucking

BEST OF SHOW: Henry Hall, Halls Trucking “Vamonos”