No doubt about it--Texas is truck country. Take a cruise down any Lone Star highway and you'll quickly see that pick-'em-up trucks are the preferred mode of transportation for real ranch-hands and urban cowboys alike. So it's only fitting that one of the most prestigious classic truck awards of the year is handed out at an event in Texas.

The award is the Goodguys Truck of the Year, and the event is the Lone Star Nationals, which was held October 27-28 (rescheduled from October 6-7) at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. And even though 2001 marked only the second year for Truck of the Year honors, it still drew a host of heavy hitters to vie for the title (actually two titles--one for pre-'53 trucks and another for '53-and-newer trucks). One of the ten finalist trucks (five for each category) came all the way from Canada by way of California. Another made the trek from Arizona. A third came from Las Vegas, Nevada. All ten pickups were great rides, but only two could return home with the trophies, the bragging rights, and the $1,000 cash prize.

Truck of the Year judging took a little twist at the 2001 event, as the folks at Goodguys decided to get the participants involved. First, a panel of judges including Goodguys representatives and a CLASSIC TRUCKS staffer narrowed the field down to five trucks in each group. Then the finalists themselves were asked to participate in the final judging, with "Early" finalists voting on the "Late" trucks, and "Late" finalists voting on the "Early" trucks. Competition was close, but in the end the honors went to Steve Sandlin's '48 Chevy pickup and Dave Kimmerle's '56 F-100.

Even if you weren't a contender for Truck of the Year, the Lone Star Nationals held plenty of appeal. With around 1,500 vehicles on hand from at least half a dozen states, there was a lot of old iron to see. There was also a sizeable swap meet at the event, as well as a bunch of commercial vendors selling aftermarket parts to help keep that on-going project progressing. You could even rent a ride in a NASCAR machine, with a professional driver taking you for a 140 mph spin. But the coolest part of all had to be the track cruise Saturday evening, where participants were allowed to test out their rides on the banked turns of Texas Motor Speedway.

Trick trucks, cool cars, and big-time fun. It's all standard fare for a Goodguys event in the Lone Star State. See y'all next year!