It generally takes a while for a car and truck show to mature. The early years are a struggle, but once attendance picks up, the locations get better, fun and games increase, and a higher number and quality of vehicles arrive as the perfect finishing touch. That's when the event gets engraved on your "gotta be there" list.

Started in 2003, the Southeast Showdown has been one of those top shows for several years. Show promoter Jon Fulmer has been a veteran of the show circuit for decades and his innovative approach keeps drivers coming back for more. His cash prize for the best debuting vehicle encourages drivers to unveil their latest creations at SESD and everyone looks forward to seeing something new.

The location adds to the fun with the Anderson Motor Speedway in Williamston, South Carolina, just far enough out of town that the noise and smoke from the burnout competition doesn't annoy the neighbors. Several classic truck drivers took their turn on the banked turns of the Speedway demonstrating lots of modern horsepower.

Adding to the fun, the downhill entry road to the track became the perfect spot for SESD's traditional soap box derby competition with drivers and spectators enjoying this gravity-powered event. If you'd like something a little quieter, the tattoo competition gave participants an opportunity to show off their latest body art, competing in several categories. Multiple vendors and professional pinstripers rounded out the list of options.

The Sunday afternoon awards ceremony presented 180 laser-cut steel trophies as permanent reminders of this year's fun with beautiful stained glass versions going to the top winners. Capturing the award for the Best Classic Truck was Sam Turner and his Indigo Bow Tie, a former feature in CLASSIC TRUCKS. His 1951 five-window Chevy was a four-year build with a complete body-off restoration, new 5.3L V-8, modern suspension, and custom interior. Sam also won the CLASSIC TRUCKS Editor's Choice award.

Shows like this are a group effort. Special thanks to Cagney, Allison, Clell, Logan, Justin, Jason, Kent, and the rest of the supportive team who helped make this event a success. Sponsors also play a vital part and this year's list of supporters include Sam's Garage, DropEmWear, Welch's Chop Shop, Ruff Zone, Tint Plus, NOPI, Glassworx, Palmetto Rod Worx, Williamson Auto, and Fastech Chassis and Rods. If you'd like more info on this South Carolina favorite, check out www.southeastshowdown.com. Dates for 2014 are July 26 and 27.