Ask almost any classic truck owner and they'll be quick to tell you that summer holds the keys to paradise...a time when a full tank of high test rules with the sun cracking the horizon and a well planned destination in mind. Sometimes selecting just where to go is the hardest part of the plan 'cuz there are just so many cool places across the country to visit. With the overwhelming success of the first ever Syracuse Nationals in 2000, a buzz was created that quickly spread to lots of East Coast and Canadian truck and car owners, helping to make their 2001 road trip plans even easier. When you take a city like Syracuse that is so rich in automotive history, this event seems like a natural. But lets not forget that the city also offers plenty of dramatic architecture, museums, great restaurants, and exciting nightlife to check out.
With so many great points of interest available, those who arrived early for the event were in for a real treat! In the historic downtown area, the Museum of Automotive History boasts having one of the world's largest collections of automobile memorabilia with over 10,000 pieces to be seen. This time out they were featuring a special exhibit on American Presidents and their automobiles-sweet! If you were in the driving mood, you could plot a day trip over to the Finger Lakes region to not only take in the breathtaking shorelines, but to stop by and visit with some of the region's finest wineries (there are over 60 to see!). Let's not forget that the region is a stone's throw away from the historic Watkins Glen International Speedway, which first opened in 1948 and fast became one of the premier road racing facilities in the country today. Throughout the week there were also cruises to such favorite local venues like Sweet Inspirations, the Jordan Diner, and Sam's Lakeside Restaurant, all of which were a tremendous hit. If you're into music, you were likely to be blown away since the New York State Rhythm and Blues Festival was also in town for the weekend.
At the crack of dawn on Friday, attendees began flocking to the massive 360-acre New York State Fairgrounds to get in and get settled. The grounds feature lots of tree-lined areas to park under, expansive cruising lanes to roam, and plenty of great camping facilities. With fantastic summer weather in the high 80s, it was a perfect time to check out all that the weekend had to offer. There were plenty of vendors in attendance this year, from event presenters PPG to Gibbon Fiberglass Reproductions, Pro's Pick Engineered Components, and American Racing Wheels, just to mention a few. If your ride needed updating, this was the place to meet with suppliers on a face-to-face level and check out their products first hand. Strolling through the fairgrounds you were treated to a visual assault of just about every type of rolling sculpture imaginable from super high-tech beauties to ultra stoke hardcore rides. When your hunger pains hit, there were more than enough vendors satisfy all of your cravings. If your thirst needed quenching, you could literally just look over your shoulder and there was probably a vendor looking back smiling and ready to help.
The excitement that was building amongst event participants was quite evident, thanks to the grand prize giveaway that was slated for mid-day Saturday. You see, event promoters Bob O'Connor and Fred Fibiger decided to have a wicked little three-window Deuce coupe put together with materials and products supplied solely by sponsors and vendors of the Syracuse Nationals. Well, everyone knows that it's one thing to obtain all of the parts, but who would offer to assemble the whole enchilada? Tucci Engineering of Marcy, New York stepped in and created one amazing coupe that had everyone in attendance hoping that his or her lucky number would be called. In the end after all of the nail biting was complete, it was Harold Smart from New Haven, New York who lucked out and got the keys to this signature rod. By the time Sunday afternoon came, everyone had been treated to a great weekend of weather, socializing with friends, and numerous bands performing live on different stages throughout the grounds. Sounds like a pretty full weekend, right? Well there were even more giveaways, with a literal busload of prizes still waiting to be presented. The promoters of this event are firm believers of giving back to the community also, and thanks to the overwhelming cooperation of the Central New York Car Club Association (the official hosts of the event) at the final ceremonies they presented five $3,000 checks to local charities to show their support. The exciting success of this second year event has clearly shown that thanks to the 5,840 vehicle owners in attendance and 40,000 visitors through the gate, this happening is here to stay. All we can say is that three days of seeing truck and car owners smiling with joy and diggin' the scene is more than enough to make us want to come back next year!