Lone Star Throwdown 2014
If there was one show that I was looking forward to more than any other show, it would have been this show. LST was so badass last year that I knew I had to make the trip down to Texas again. I flew last year but that wasn’t going to work this time around. Setting up a vendor booth was the plan so I packed my Suburban full and made the looooong drive down by myself late Wednesday.
(Scroll down to see all the photos, or keep reading if you like text better than images.) I remember saying last year that trying to fit all my gear in my old Subaru car wasn’t going to work, so I upgraded to a ’97 Suburban C2500 with a 454. Yes, gas mileage wasn’t the greatest on this trip, but it wasn’t terrible. But now I’ve found out that I’ve already maxed out the space inside the Suburban. So next on the list of things to get is a trailer. Just a regular open trailer so I can take my truck to shows and have a little more storage room for my stuff. Hopefully I’ll have one by Layd Out! Anyways, back to the show…
My first pit stop was Waffle House at 4am in Nashville. I was only able to drive a couple hours after that, then passed out at a rest stop. I woke up an hour or two later and continued on. Drove another 8-10 hours and landed in Shreveport, LA to pick up some stuff for the vendor booth. It saved me $100 shipping by picking it up, but it was so ghetto down there and I basically unpacked the whole truck to fit the new stuff in there.
Now I began my final descent to Houston, TX… still another 4-6 hours away. I don’t mind driving, I actually enjoy it, but doing this far alone with almost no sleep, I’ll get a passenger next time to take turns. Haha. I made it to Texas and found a Walmart parking lot to pass out in for a minute. An hour later, I woke up and was about to leave, but I noticed a Whataburger. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this place so I gave it a try. Yes, you need to try it. So damn good! #spicyketchup
I arrived at a buddy’s house late Thursday and hung out with the rest of my Ohio posse that flew down. A couple hours later, we ventured out to find a hotel in the hood, and we succeeded. This hotel encounter included a couple drug pushers making deals all night in the parking lot. At least a few of my friends had a room with a view of all this. I was just glad to get 8 straight hours of sleep!
Friday was a little more exciting… temperatures in the 70s, lost $20 playing scratch off lottery tickets at the gas station, stopped by Pristine Paint to see what they were working on, rode on an Elvis golf cart, setup the vendor booth at the show, then checked into the new hotel. Texas does seem pretty damn big, but I will say this, the roads were confusing as shit! At least hotel had a Mexican restaurant and a Waffle House next door. Friday night included both of those! Stayed up late drinking a few beers with my friends then passed out.
Got to the show later than I planned on Saturday, but that usually happens (I’m gonna try to be better this year). I helped jump start a Cummins Suburban, I had to pick up some last minute merch that was shipped to Texas, but the line in Conroe to get into the show was insane. This is a show that you need to get to the gates at 6am. Haha. Once I got to my booth, I tried to get everything setup perfectly, but that doesn’t work out when there are already hundreds of people at the show and a bunch of them want to buy stuff. So all day Saturday, I felt in constant rush mode. I barely got a bite to eat and the only time I left the booth was to go to port-o-potty across from my booth. I didn’t even get my camera out the whole weekend! Thankfully, John Mata (RIP Minitruckin’ Magazine) was kind enough to shoot coverage for me the whole weekend. What a swell guy!
This was also the first show where I had more than just MTS stuff for sale. I recently started Full Size Truck Scene and had a bunch of koozies, magnets, and stickers for sale. The new Truck Stop Ram shirts weren’t finished in time for the show but I’ll plan better for the next shirt release. It was cool to see a bunch of people excited for the FSTS merch to come out. I have a full-size truck myself so it was only natural for it to progress to this. I have also been working on Hot Rod Avenue, but that’s just getting started. Be on the lookout for these 2 brands to expand a lot this year!
I packed everything back up Saturday evening, got some Wicked Fries (pretty damn hot!), and watched some of the newest Surface DVD and some of the new SoLo Films DVD on a huge inflatable screen. Pretty cool idea having a ton of people watching a new release for the first time at a truck show! Pretty sure I didn’t leave the show til around 11:30pm, then headed back to the hotel to hang out for a bit. Another late walk to Waffle House, then back to the hotel to get some sleep in.
Sunday wasn’t as bad getting into the show, I still got there a little later than I wanted but the weather was perfect again. Definitely much better than the cold ass Midwest! A couple years ago, I used to leave shows early Sunday, and most cases not even go to the show on Sundays. Since I started setting up a vendor booth, I stay all weekend long. There are a lot of people that only stop by and talk to vendors on Sunday. I think some people only bring a little bit of cash to spend on a show weekend, and whatever they have left, they spend it on shirts on the last day. So it’s definitely worth it for me to stay all day Sunday, but I always enjoy the truck show atmosphere. Just hanging out and seeing laid out trucks as far as the eye can see if my kind of environment!
After awards were over and everyone started heading out, I began to deconstruct my booth. It took a good hour or two to pack everything up just right so that it would fit back in. I sold the most that I’ve sold at any show, but I also picked up a lot of new stuff. It was a huge life-size puzzle to say the least. I was one of the last to leave and it was cool to talk to one of the guys that puts on the show for a bit. Super down to earth and I can’t wait to see what they do for next year! The rest of the shows in 2014 have a lot of work to do if they want to be show of the year, because I can already tell LST is going to be a strong contender again.
As soon as I left the show venue, I headed to meet Sean with SoLo Films to pick up a bunch of the new Part 3 DVDs. Of course, they would have me meet them at a Mexican restaurant. I didn’t eat much all day so I had to get a quick bite to eat. I said my goodbyes to a few friends, fueled up the Burban, re-stocked up on my energy drinks, and started the long voyage back home. I made it just outside of Texas before I napped in another Walmart parking lot. I then drove pretty far before I had to get another couple hours of sleep in Kentucky. It was just about midnight on Monday by the time I pulled in my driveway, totally wore out.
Again, please check out this show if you’ve never been. All your friends have made the trip out and I’m sure they gave you shit for not showing up. I know we did our fair share of ball busting that weekend to the slackers who stayed home. Haha. The next show on our list is Layd Out at the Park in Morristown, TN on April 11-13. A lot of you seen our first vendor booth there last year. We have grown a lot so come check us out next month! Thanks for reading and here’s the photos.
All photos by John Mata.