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The GMC/Chevy Nationals

This Show Attracts Both Old and New Sport Trucks

Dan Sanchez
Aug 1, 2001
Photographers: Sport Truck Staff
The trip up the California coast to Paso Robles is an enchanting one. Especially when you combine the beauty of California’s sand and surf with the expectation of seeing a multitude of great sport trucks gathering for the annual Chevy/GMC Nationals. The show is hosted by Seth Doulton, former owner of Golden State Pickup Parts, and is sponsored by Brothers Truck Parts, Danchuck Manufacturing, and Napa Auto Parts. In its heyday, the show attracted nearly 1,000 vehicles, when it was held in the parking lot of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Although it has been struggling since, it has found a strong following in Paso Robles.
Doulton tells us that more than 400 vehicles were registered for this March show—of which the majority were trucks. Many of these vehicles wait for this show to strut their stuff. Since this is one of the first shows of the truck season, many vehicles are under construction. Because of this, it’s a great opportunity for us to get a look at many trucks that come from the Sacramento, Fresno, and Santa Barbara areas. If you come up to the show, we’d recommend getting in either Friday night or early Saturday morning, as both of these times are the easiest to register. Furthermore, you get the choicest spots to settle into with your group.
The show takes place at the local fairgrounds. It was built for horse shows and showing off your best head of cattle. Because of this, it’s best to park in one of the shaded areas among the food and vendor stands. Most of the newer trucks parked there, while the older trucks had to park in the field. Although the shaded area also has its disadvantages, such as the local rock band that obliterated every ’70s rock song it could think of. We guess it takes some talent to turn a Lynyrd Skynyrd song into a ballad, and the band did have a following of pregnant, tattooed biker women clapping at every missed beat of “Stairway to Heaven.” Thank heaven for the bass emanating from some of the cooler trucks at the show. This was also the area where the sound of exploding airbags filled the fairgrounds as contestants tried to outdo themselves using high-pressure air tanks chained to their beds.
We met up with several owners and spoke with them about their latest projects. One was Soupy Garcia from Santa Barbara, who had been taunting us with e-mailed images of his phantom dualie Chevy, equipped with a supercharger and custom tweed upholstery. The truck was as good as he said, which is normally not the case. Another interesting ride at the show was Finish Line’s Dodge Ram, which was equipped with a Vortech supercharger and an air-spring system that allowed it to set the truck on the ground. Since the truck is used to scraping the frame the owner of the truck went ahead and added some skidplates to the bottom of it, giving us his version of a fireworks display as the sun was setting that evening. Paso Robles is a farming town, so we figured there would be plenty of places to photograph a few trucks. We drove up and down the town until we finally found the Paso Robles Hot Springs & Spa, located along Buena Vista Drive at the far east side of town, off of Highway 46. Aside from offering massages and mineral spas, it also had a long driveway that wound its way around grass-covered hills, providing a perfect spot for us to shoot. Although we didn’t bring our swim trunks, we will most definitely dip our butts into some hot mineral water during our next visit.
All of the participants at the Chevy/GMC Nationals received a nice nylon bag, an event T-shirt, and the experience of a great weekend. The show has plenty of awards for its participants, meaning lots of winners. If you want more information on this show, contact Horsepower Promotions to find out when next year’s event will take place.


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