In the last few years, we have seen lots of car and truck shows fall by the wayside, with the sluggish economy getting most of the blame. Pay the entry fee or pay the rent! But we've also seen that truckers will prioritize their hard earned bucks and support the top shows on the circuit. One of the best examples of that success is the Southeast Showdown, now in its eighth year. Run by Jon Fulmer and a few close friends, the event retains its popularity year after year because Jon is an active enthusiast himself and genuinely enjoys the truck scene. Formerly held at the Anderson County Fairgrounds, this year's event saw a new location, the Anderson Motor Speedway just across the line in Williamston, South Carolina. The track is a popular local attraction with six divisions of stock cars pumping out high horsepower, racing thrills every weekend. With a somewhat easier set of rules than the old location, the track should be the perfect site for creative burnouts, Bikini contests, and more.

Unfortunately, no one could predict the searing heat wave that enveloped much of the East Coast the weekend of the show, with temperatures at the track registering 104° on Saturday and Sunday. Most truckers enjoyed the show during the day but took an early break, heading to their air-conditioned hotels and pools. Saturday late night action at the local air-conditioned Hooters however, was nonstop.

One of the widely known features of this event is the big cash payout for the Best Debuting Car and Truck, something we magazine photographers enjoy because we get a chance to bring you fresh new vehicles. Even though lots of truck builders were burning the midnight oil and many trucks were close, none were complete enough to qualify. John's Rod Shop easily captured the Best Debuting Car with their stunning 1950 Pontiac Chieftain convertible but several truck owners will be heading back to the drawing board. Lots of completed trucks did qualify for the more than 130 unique Plexiglas trophies however, like Chase Webb and his Autumn Orange and Sandstone Pearl F-350, a former feature vehicle in our sister publication 8-Lug. Chase's bagged dually was the winner of the Best Full Size award. Jevon Herbert's custom Ranger, slammed to the ground and loaded with spooky skull graphics took Best Mini. Truckin' Editor's Choice went to the cool classic '51 Chevrolet 5-Window of Sam Turner. The Indigo Blue restomod was equipped with a 5.3 L Corvette V-8, Ride Tech suspension, and custom interior. Multiple club awards were also part of the Sunday afternoon fun with laser-cut steel awards (careful, they're hot!) commemorating the achievements. Aftermath won the Best Quality Club, No Regrets captured the Best Attitude trophy and Twisted Minis took Club Participation.

Naturally with the first year at a new location, there are lots of plans to refine and expand the activities at next year's event. Jon sez' he has received several calls from well-meaning truckers suggesting an air-conditioning dome for the race track next year and promises that he will take it under advisement! The 2012 event is scheduled for July 21 and 22 at the Speedway. Check out the details at the website, www.southeastshowdown.com. Supportive sponsors make the event possible and Jon would like to thank Presenting Sponsor Auto Extremes along with PRW, Hooters, Rusty Nuts Originals, TC Rodz, Tint Plus, Mautofied.com, and Sam's Garage. Special thanks goes to Lucas, Melissa, Jonathan, Cagney, Logan, Allison, Clell and the guys from Connecticut who flew in to help with the show.