Slamfest has always had a reputation for being one of the best shows in Florida and once again in 2000, no one went away disappointed from the big-time Tampa event. Over the past nine years, the members of Mini Madness have been perfecting their technique of high-volume partying. Everything is always well organized, they accommodate the crowd in a dozen different ways, prizes are huge, judging is quick and fair, and folks keep coming back for more.
The sheer variety of Slamfest events is part of its unique attraction, from its crowd pleasing contests to the thousands of dollars worth of prizes given away like sets of wheels, tires and accessories. Now, major sponsors have recognized the show’s enduring quality and have become part of the event. BFGoodrich, Wheel Tec of Tampa, Street Heat, Car Tricks, N2 Audio, Giovanna Wheels, H&R and more have put Slamfest on their schedule.
When you attend Slamfest, expect to find more going on at this show than the last three or four shows that you attended combined. The Florida State Fairgrounds is a marvelous location with loads of spread-out room for your display, space for wild and smoky burnouts, a large center stage for the Bikini Contest and award presentations, sanctioned Sound Quality and dB Drag Racing, plus the park is centrally located near action-packed Tampa with all of its late night activity. It’s always a fun-filled weekend.
Once again, the fabulous collection of custom Euros was a significant part of the scene. Displaying both performance and custom styling touches, this group made up a large portion of the colorful group of vehicles on display. To get an in-depth look at the event and the club, we spoke to Alex Piovano, charter member and current treasurer of Mini Madness. Alex informed us that the club is 11 years old and that this was their ninth show. “Our original club members traveled to shows and always had complaints about how they were run,” revealed Alex. “Then we decided, ‘Well, if we know so much, why don’t we do it ourselves?’ So we did! We look at a show put on by a car club as an extension of its members. Slamfest is a reflection of who we are. It’s the kind of show we like and it also invites the kinds of vehicles that we drive.”
Alex admitted that many of the club members are getting older and planning families and careers. “Most of us have been in the hobby for quite awhile,” he said. “Now, we also have lots of younger members, with several 16-year-olds in the club. We want to help the new members focus on what’s really important in the sport. We want them to gear more toward getting educated and learning how to take care of a vehicle rather than trying to compete with already established custom vehicles. They’re not ready for that yet.”
Asked why they throw such a big party every year, Alex said, “We do it because it’s fun. It’s hard work but great fun. The event is also a fundraiser for the club. It helps to pay for out-of-state shows that we attend in order to promote Slamfest and Mini Madness. This year, we’ve traveled to Texas; Indiana; Las Vegas; Nevada; and California; as well as several trips to Georgia and Tennessee.”
Pressed for details on what the club does with the money raised, Alex declared, “We give a lot of money back to the people who attend our shows and we support several charities in the Tampa area. This year, we are also supporting a local nine-year-old boy named Michael. Michael has cystic fibrosis and needs a living transplant that can only be done in St. Louis, Missouri. With the money that we raise, we will be able to help his single mother during this critical operation. At the show, we also have more than 170 trophies, two sets of wheels, new suspension parts, custom muffler setups and lots of cash awards. Our overall Best of Show takes home $1,000. We also have $500 checks for each Best of Show Lowrider, Car and Truck. There are also new sets of tires for the Burnout Contest winners and the top three Bikini contestants share $500.”
When we inquired about how they make the show better every year, Alex said, “Our club is big on organization. We have smoothed out the registration process by speeding up the lines and allowing people to pull up to the gate, pay the registration fee, we check their license and insurance, and then they go inside. Later, they can go to a classification table if they want to compete. Lots of folks don’t come to Slamfest to compete. They just want to hang out with friends. We try to keep the costs of the show down with a $25 preregistration fee. We’ve taken it one step further and if you get here the day before, the Friday preregistration is $30. If you absolutely can’t arrive ahead of time, the cost is $40 on the day of the show. This year we had more than 500 preregistered entries.”
If you’d like to be part of the fun at Slamfest this year, put the 2001 event on your “must-attend” list. The show dates are November 3 and 4. If you’d like to see more of the action from this year’s event, check out the club’s web site at www.minimadness.com.