So here it goes. In 2003, we began a Water Toys section dedicated exclusively to matching trucks and boats or matching trucks and personal watercraft. We even went so far as to build three separate color-matched trucks and boats, signed a major promotional sponsorship between Truckin' and Vortec engines, and went all around the country touring these matching themed toys. Judging from the response we received, most people either loved the novel concept of color coordinated trucks and boats, or absolutely despised it. But, hey, there are also those readers we met at the shows who think we are absolutely crazy to be featuring old classic trucks, SUVs, or mini-trucks in the magazine. Upon further questioning by the crack editorial team we are, most people's likes and dislikes stem from the vehicles or hobbies they are actually involved in. So, those people who didn't like the matching truck and boat combination would have liked to have seen matching trucks with Harley-Davidsons, matching trucks with dirt bikes, or matching trucks with desert sand cars. But such is the flavor of those people. So, don't be surprised if you see some of these aforementioned matching combinations in the coming months. We attempt to please everyone.
Again, further reflection told us we went to war with Iraq, the outcome of which we are still unsure of, for the most part, but hopefully the resolution will become much clearer in the coming months. From an economic standpoint, especially from a magazine's perspective, hopefully we will transition from one of the softest economies in terms of advertising revenue ever experienced. While Truckin' magazine's overall ad revenue was just slightly down as a whole, the entire enthusiast publishing community was way off. I am sure many of our readers' businesses were the same. Hopefully, the sluggish economy didn't force too many people to actually close their doors, because we sure hate seeing once-thriving and prospering businesses go under. Some of our truck magazine competitors experienced downsizing because of the economy, and yes, we even wish them the best because it is certainly no fun to compete with ourselves, so to all our magazine brethren and competitors alike, we wish you the best in 2004 and can hardly wait to see you all again at the summer shows.
On a personal note, 2003 has been extremely good and bad for my family. In early March, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world, a little girl whose picture I have already displayed in the magazine before. On a sour note, one of my best friends in the world who was also my brother-in-law passed away at age 36 of a heart attack and missed the birth of my sister's and his second child, a little boy, by roughly 24 hours, a truly tragic and blessed event at the same time. For those in the industry who knew this and sent well wishes, my family and I appreciate it. Events such as these should make everyone reflective.
So, as we ring out 2003 and welcome 2004, please each and every one of our readers take a moment to sit back and reflect on the past year's events. Hopefully, we will see all of you back in '04 and watch as we roll along with Truckin' magazine's continuing 30th Anniversary retrospective.