Back in the old days, there was a pretty famous truck show back in Owensboro, Kentucky, known as the Sport Truck Nationals. Held at the Executive Inn Rivermont Hotel and overlooking the Ohio River, it was a popular destination for truck enthusiasts on Fourth of July weekends. Since then, the downtown area of Owensboro has undergone a major makeover and has become somewhat of an arts district. It also now boasts the Bluegrass museum, as well as the Museum of Science, not to mention shops, restaurants, and a river walk with spectacular views up and down the waterway.

Bret Voelkel of Air Ride Technologies saw this as a perfect opportunity to bring the trucks back to town for a three-day event that included lots of entertainment, but more importantly, lots of trucks. This year was the inaugural event, and it went off without a hitch. It almost seemed like a reunion of CLASSIC TRUCKS feature vehicles, which made us rather proud. But there was plenty of new stuff for us to ogle, as well. Bret and the Air Ride crew took a more casual approach to the judging, selecting 12 trucks known as the Dirty Dozen instead of hard-set classes and points. There was also $7,000 in cash prizes for the Top Truck awards, which included categories like overall truck, classic truck, sport truck, paint, engine, interior, and even top truck builder, which went to our friend Chris Smith of Smitty's in Tiffin, Ohio.

In addition to all the killer trucks and vendor displays, there was live entertainment along the river walk, sometimes simultaneously at each end of the walk. Saturday was especially cool, since CLASSIC TRUCKS co-sponsored the Dirty Dozen awards, which were followed by the band Dalton, which country-rocked out late into the night.

Hot Rod Trucks was a great event for its first year, and our guess is that it will quickly become a must-attend show for all us truck people. Next year promises to be even bigger, so for more information, contact Air Ride Technologies at www.ridetech.com or the event Web site at www.hotrodtrucks-owensboro.com.