Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Nevada, can hold almost 700 custom lowriders both indoors and out, and on the long-awaited Super Show weekend the lot was so full that guys would have paid a grip of peachy new 20s just to park and compete with an automotive treasury calculated at well into the millions. Welcome to the official 2003 Lowrider Magazine Super Show! A mega-low show of this size requires more than one camera pro to capture all of the glamour, glitz and hopping action. There was a media man covering the outdoor lot and sponsor booths, another dude hunting honeys on the indoor floor, a hydro hound at the Hop and one rookie rotating on the main stage.
First off, it takes a lot of corporate negotiation and big gobs of financing to put the 2003 Legends Tour show on the highway and into production so we gotta do our duty, like any self-respecting organization and thank our truly beloved sponsors who believe in the custom car sport just as much as we do. Here’s our shouts to Quaker State, Nitto Tires, Black Magic, Player Wire Wheels, Exide Orbital Batteries, CCE Hydraulics, Limited Alloy Wheels and video game entertainment maker Jaleco. Thanks for all of the support in 2003.
Fans and competitors pay to play at the show for different reasons and everybody has their own independent voice on who’s gonna outrank the entire floor as the owner of the absolute best lowrider in the nation. In no particular order, the winning Sweepstakes champions were struck with pride and asked how they felt about their end of the year standings while others refused to show up for their trophies because sometimes Second or Third just isn’t good enough to brag about.
Under the main building, droppin’ big bombs this year and winning another Bomb of the Year title in 2003 was Frank and Rosie Requena. In ’97 they won a Bomb championship with their “La Carcacha” ’48 Chevy Fleetline and another title in 2002 with another ’48 Chevy called “Outer Limits.” “It did not hit me until the next day,” said Frank after the show. “I called my oldest brother and other family and friends to thank them and tell ’em that we won.”
Through the year, Joe Phillips used up his vacation and sick days from work just to compete ’til there was no time left. Joe trekked to Vegas with his own family and the Low Creations Car Club family and claimed the Second Place runner-up Bomb Sweepstakes trophy. And without an equalizing 20×20 turntable space, Joe felt weakened on the points with his ’51 Chevy Fleetline dubbed “Funky ’51.” Like so many before him, Frank Sanchez, the Third Place Bomb winner, didn’t even know that he won the game until two days later when he got a cell call from the Orgullo Mexicano club. “It was great, we finally made it to be one of the three top dogs out there,” says Frank. “It was great and we’ll probably show it off at our City Hall. We’ll definitely comeback next year.”
Speaking of making comebacks there’s one group of guys who did just that in the Sweepstakes Lowrider Bomb Truck of the Year category. Defending champ Alex Mercado made this year a trifecta after winning previously in ’01 and in ’02. “It feels good to win,’ claims Alex. “I have the trophy in my house with the rest of the other trophies from 2001 and 2002.” And hittin’ the lowrider jackpot after a long lay-off from the car show circuit was Low Conspiracy member Sal Sierra and his family. It was the new chromed-out undercarriage on a ’36 Ford that helped them win Second Place Sweepstakes in the class, while Uniques C.C. veteran Bobby Enz drove his fat-fendered ’50 Chevy truck into Third Place and collected some pocket change for one last pull of the arm before heading home to get started on another ride for ’04.
Remember that the Euro of the Year crowning is a national event that will only get better with time. Enjoying the fruits of a 10-year journey and bowing gracefully with much respect to the Rodriguez family from Chicago, Illinois, and other challengers is Ronnie Payan. Now the three-time Lowrider Euro of the Year champion has certainly attained champion status, but not without a lot of bumps along the way. “I had a lot of ups and downs,” relates Ronnie. “It’s kinda like a boxer training and training. I felt that I was due after 10 years of trying.” And after the Rodriguez brothers came in Second, Ronnie says that he has a lot respect for them because they come all the way from Chicago. “They got a lot of heart,” admitted Ronnie.
To be a top Sweepstakes champion is a hell of a lot of work and you don’t have to tell that to Second and Third Places Euro winners Rick and Claudia Fletes with their convertible two-tone candied ’91 Nissan Maxima. Rick expresses how he felt about the show’s results. “I’m glad that I took Second since there’s a lot of competition in the Radical class,” says Rick. “Ronnie’s car is truly one of the best on the circuit. Since last year, I changed to hand-drive steering and had a lot of parts two-tone engraved.” Rick also says that he’ll be back out next year. And Reynaldo Rodriguez took Third with the final version of “Precious Moments,” a crazy ’87 Toyota Corolla.
Restoring an old car is where all intelligent customizers begin. There has certainly been some memorable characters in Lowrider Magazine, but none with as much energy and drive (like that of a raging bull) as that of the late multiple Euro of the Year champion George Jaramillo, who was sadly missed at the Super Show by many, including his wife, Natalia, who thanked the lowrider community for their support at the Super Show.
In the Original ’69 and Below Sweepstakes class, three guys made it out to the trophy field knowing that they had a good chance of winning something. Erik Wisterman from Low Creations C.C. won his very first Original title with a ride named “Mint Condition,” a ’63 Chevy Impala convertible with factory straight body panels. Defending a title is tough enough because dudes like the guys in Oldies C.C. are relentless in this custom car game. Rafael Millan showcased a ’66 Chevy Impala Super Sport and scored points for Second Place sweepstakes while Ricardo Alvarado joined the title chase and landed Third with a fully accessorized black ’37 Cadillac LaSalle.
And from pristine originals to tricked-out trucks, the Super Show has what others might call insanity. We the editors see it all of the time. Guys will walk by a full-custom ride like Anthony Fuentes’ “South Side” ‘57 Chevy Bel Air and desire it although they’ll never have the cash to see it in their garage. Anthony is the new Traditional Lowrider of the Year winner. Last year’s champion, Chris Roark, failed to show, leaving the spot undefended and wide open for other custom car professionals. Robert Rueda from Eminence C.C. took Second with a ragtop ’63 Impala. The guys from Rollerz Only have a lot to be proud of with their Sweepstakes championship history over the years and a lot of that history was led by George Jaramillo. Third Place Traditional winner Romel Bako from Arizona looked up to George and his much-improved ’63 Impala convertible represented well.
We guarantee that you’ve never seen rides like what Frank Silva spun on a turntable to gain a three-time victory above all for the Lowrider Truck of the Year title. He won his class in 2001, 2002 and again in 2003. “It felt great,” Frank relates. “It’s tough to win it every year. I just want everyone to know that it’s the first time that something other than a truck won the title of Truck of the Year because my truck is a Chevy Blazer… a sports utility vehicle. A lot of people don’t know that.” Only a bent brain could radically freak-out an ’85 Blazer with an all-new paint job and a Cadillac Escalade front and that’s just the beginning.
It’s hard to know what a hardcore champion will bring to the super bowl of lowrider shows, but Mario Benavides made damn sure that he gave it his best shot with a multicolored candy green full-size ’99 Ford F-150 for Second Place in the Sweepstakes run. So what made you build a truck named “Unique” (like his club)? “Everybody builds Chevys,” says the Ford man from San Benito, Texas. “I wanted to be different.” Sometimes the attitude is to just “go for it” and that’s what Ricky Sanchez (Texas) did with his full-size ’93 Chevy Extended Cab truck, which earned him a much deserved Third Place slot.
And now, the class you’ve all been waiting for… the 2003 Lowrider Car of the Year Sweepstakes. Naturally, being in Las Vegas raises the stakes of any contest be it a blackjack game or whatever, but the stakes could not have been any higher for the Car of the Year title. Not only was the title on the line, Tour sponsor Quaker State raised the stakes even higher with a point accumulation factor for attending the most shows. Alejandro Vega won the 10 Gs. Alejandro’s ’79 Chevy Monte Carlo, “Orgullo Mexicano,” titled as Lowrider Car of the Year and captured the crown of victory while Favian Garcia (Rollerz Only, Dallas, Texas) settled for Second after fiercely defending his 2002 Car of the Year title with his completely and masterfully redone and revamped ’78 Monte, “Rollin’ Malo.” There was enough financing to start a war in this class and that’s exactly what the judges were facing on Saturday and Sunday. The battle for lowrider supremacy was extremely close, so much so that senior judging staff assigned every available judge to score the two Monte Carlos so absolutely no appeals or challenges would be able to turn the final decision. Joel Garcia (Los Angeles C.C.) took Third Place in the stakes for the baddest lowrider in the country with his blue ’63 Impala ragtop.
In years past, Texas entries were always trading the top Bike and Trike championship spots with wild, wicked and sick ape-hangers, but this year there was a shift in the tide for the Bike and Trike of the Year Sweepstakes. Grinning big were brothers Chris and Pete Moreno with “Wolverine,” a bike with blue neon that splits apart in more than one direction. All agreed that this bike had super-powers. Well, a lot can be said about the father and son team of Gene and Cody Bare who have been putting the heat on the Legends Tour (and other tours for three years now) with their fire-breathing three-wheeler named “Dragon’s Revenge.”
Recording artists like the two street-educated pros booked on Sunday are no rap rookies nor are they familiar with jamming to a crowd quite a distance away. For bumpin’ sounds, rhythm and first-rate entertainment, Houston, Texas-based Baby Bash ain’t shy either. In fact, he’s quite confident on stage and you know that he was rapping to the ladies in the house. Baby Bash put on a killer performance that included his hit single “Suga, Suga,” which really pleased his fans. For the final music jam, the one and only Lil’ Rob arrived in the classic gangsta fashion that he’s known for and never wears out… black locster sunglasses, T-shirt and Dickies all while riding a lowrider tricycle. The crowd went crazy (especially the ladies in the audience) when Rob performed a mix of newer and older songs from his albums. Rob gave his fans an up close and personal look of himself when he came off the stage and walked right up to the first rows of spectators. Finishing up the entertainment was the bikini and hardbody contest, which gave the people an eye full of candy!
The 2003 Super Show was reminiscent of the 2001 show in Vegas. On the Anniversary Tour, every custom car and truck was fully show-worthy with a lot of time and money invested in those G-rides. Dudes opened every door, spun their wheels off and invited everyone to see their chrome-plated undercarriages. A lot of guys drove home wondering how they could have lost. The 2003 Super Show was much the same with more than a million dollars worth of automobiles displayed on the show floor. And if the cars were there you know that the crowd was off the hook and ready to party.
A lot was on the line this year and more than one car competitor was willing to roll the dice. Lowrider Magazine and lowrider builders are always rolling, changing and competing, and you’ll notice that in 2004 as “Aztec Dos” evolves with an all-new highway design. So as the Legends Tour comes to a close, don’t let your ride rust, start your engines and get out the polish because the Evolution Tour is coming at you.