Something new was in the air as word got out that Gardner Trucking of Chino, California was hosting a first-ever ‘CALI CUSTOM’ truck show. Held on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at their huge property on Merrill Avenue in Ontario, the show’s layout took full advantage of the massive parking lot, allowing space for plenty of trucks, hot rods, motorcycles, vendor booths, food and entertainment of all sorts.
Lining the entire perimeter of the parking lot with Gardner van trailers, parked front to back tightly, formed a slick and creative barrier around the whole event and was a really nice touch. Organizers and coordinators Alex Larzola and JP Estrada, along with many other volunteers, were on location in the wee hours of the morning to make sure everything got started smoothly and that the rest of the day was a fun and relaxing Sunday for everyone in attendance.
Being an early spring day, before the real summer heat kicked in, the weather could not have been better. Greeted with clear and sunny skies and temps in the 70’s, the truck show participants arrived early to get parked and settled while the vendors unpacked their wares and set up their displays. By mid-morning, the show was in full swing, with the kids already bouncing up and down in the bounce house, which was provided by Toro Towing, while the truckers and truck enthusiasts alike walked around in groups and got caught up on the latest big rig “water cooler” talk. All in all, we counted about 65 trucks, parked in a few neatly-aligned rows, with plenty of room to spare.
In addition to all of the great trucks, this show also had some cool cars and motorcycles that stopped you in your tracks to admire their awesome craftsmanship, quality and imagination. The vendors, showing their early support for this inaugural event, included MESquite BBQ of Upland, which had their smoker full of tri-tip, as well as ID Industries, Stay Loaded Apparel, Grote Lighting, T&T-D (Tarps & Tie-Downs), showcasing their various cargo control products and tarps, and several others. It was also good to see our friend Laura from Truck Club Publishing out working hard on a Sunday afternoon.
As we walked around the show lot, we found ourselves bumping into many longtime friends and past cover truckers, including Albert Guzman (our June 2011 cover). In fact, Albert was the one who called the office and told us about this event. It was also nice to see Joe Arias (our April 2004 cover), Steve Vermeer (our February 2010 cover), Kelvin Monzon (our April 2013 cover), Bert Cano (our August 2007 cover and then featured in “Clint’s Creations” in March 2014 when he got a new ride), our old friend Pete Carrillo, the boys from Rollin R Enterprises (Nava Trucking) out of Oxnard, and so many others.
Under a couple open-aired shade canopies, with flatbed trailers for a stage, “Jumping Jack Benny” played a great mix of Rock ‘N’ Roll favorites, as well as some South Texas Blues style of songs – and Benny was jumping in all directions non-stop! A one day show, complete with music, food, games, raffles and vendors, can go by very quickly when you’re having so much family fun, and before we knew it, it was time to hand out all of the trophies. At the end of the day, the big winner was our good friend Rolando Nava – his head-turning Eclipse Orange 2005 Kenworth W900L (our March 2014 cover) earned the coveted “Best of Show” award.
The show came to a close around 4:30 that afternoon, and there was already talk about another show in the future, but with no exact dates, as of yet. A big shout-out goes to Alex and the entire Gardner crew for a job well done – it was a great way to spend a beautiful spring Sunday in Southern California. We hope this “CALI CUSTOM” show continues next year, and for many years to come. If dates for 2016 become available, we will be sure to let you know!