“What is a Slamfest?” That is the question I usually get asked every year when I talk about my previous weekend’s event with coworkers, friends, and family. Agreed, it might not be evident by the name if you aren’t familiar with the culture. I would then explain it’s an outdoor truck show with vehicles of all types, lowered or “slammed” as some may call it, hence the name ‘Slamfest’. Modifications don’t just stop with how vertically challenged they are: aside from the large number of lowered (or lifted) trucks, the vehicles on display often also have custom interiors, modified suspensions, custom rims, engine swaps, mind blowing sound systems. These and more custom modifications are the norm at Slamfest. The weekend always has a lot in store for participants and spectators: Saturday is usually the day to show your ride and pride, and check out everyone else’s and the new trends on display from the vendors and sponsors. Saturday night after the gates close, it’s time to party, starting at Winghouse and then all night after-parties following. Then Sunday there are the competitions and club games, including the bikini competition, which all make the long-time tradition of Slamfest.
As much as the vehicles displayed make Slamfest the ever-growing success, it’s the people that own these vehicles, the clubs they belong to, and the comradery among them that makes the show what it is and a great success year after year. It actually feels more like a large family reunion than a truck show. Everybody brings their families and friends; canopies, folding chairs, tables are common, and most participants just make a family outing of it. And if thinking of a family reunion automatically reminds you of those crazy aunts and uncles, this is no different: some of these people may be considered a little off centered by most ‘normal’ people. Hell, look at what they do to these perfectly good vehicles, but do you blame them for trying to create their own vision of what Detroit couldn’t offer them?
These clubs drive from all over, sometimes hundreds of miles and from out of state, to show off their vehicles and rep their club pride. Club banners, apparel, club t-shirts, and decals let you know who is who. A big part of the show and the ability to claim bragging rights for the year are the club games. Several events and competitions take place throughout the weekend, giving each club a chance to prove who the best is. The event is loaded with its original and at times funny competitions, such as who can fit the most people into a PT Cruiser (surprisingly 28!), who can dance best for the judges, an entertaining version of musical chairs, and a game lovingly called “Suck and Blow” (we are talking playing cards, not fuel, just so you know). These clubs show no shame, put all pride aside and do whatever it takes to win the coveted Slamfest banner and bring home some of the 50 plus trophies available.
Car Show? Family Reunion? Bikini Contest? Add charitable event too, because everyone in those clubs is there to show that the Slamfest family has a big heart: every year they have a charity that they raise money for. This year’s charity was Second Chance Rescue and Rehoming where they raised $3,000 and over 1,000 items were donated. I’d be remised if I didn’t also mention that this is their 25-year anniversary of the show, you know it takes a good show and organizing team to have that type of longevity. Mike Murray aka “The Mayor” also was excited to announce the show will be returning back to the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa where it originated a quarter of a century ago, so make sure to mark it on your calendar (October 13th-15th) if you are within driving distance.
So now that I’m thinking about it, the next time I’m asked “What is a Slamfest?” I may change my answer to: A car show dedicated to a group of fun loving, big hearted people that have some of the coolest rides around.
You can find more images from this year’s show at: Slamfest 2016
You can find images from previous Slamfest Shows here: Previous Slamfest Shows