Lowrider enthusiasm is always high in Florida. Check out the huge turnout for both stops on the 2002 Lowrider Scrapin’ Tour, Miami in January and Tampa in April. Besides the great collection of cars, big name acts on the stage, hundreds of trophies and fat sweepstakes checks, the gente in the Sunshine State know that there is action here that only a Lowrider Magazine show can provide. Dozens of hoppers and dancers converged on Tampa to showcase their talents and entertain the capacity crowd in the Florida Fairgrounds. Thousands of people filled the balcony seats for a perfect view of the indoor contest and no one had to wait very long before the wild action began.Jerry Sweeney’s Mazda, competing in the Truck Hop category, opened the show with a bang. After just a few warmup bounces, it was clear the efforts of this first truck to compete was destined for greatness. Before he was done, Sweeney’s Mazda nosed skyward, setting a new world record of 64 inches, breaking the old record by 3 inches. Great start! Next was the Luxury Hop with the North Tampa Customs team showing their talents, bouncing their flamed Lincoln Town Car to an easy class win with 27 inches.
Some might say that Ed Quintero might be bragging because his ’87 Chevy Monte Carlo says, “87 Proof Can’t Be Stopped.” But it’s not bragging if you can do it. The San Antonio, Texas, switchman showed that he was more than just talk, dancing the root beer flake Monte to a class winning score of 23 in the Street Car Dance.
The Street Truck Dance competition had an unusual twist when Frank Carralero of Red’s-Miami had to cut his routine short, after his ’93 Suzuki SideKick broke a wheel. The high-tech floor in the Fairgrounds has cooling coils used for ice shows. Officials stopped the performance for fear of damaging the floor and regrettably Frank wound up with a No Score. John Grushon had problems of his own with a huge fire in the back seat of his ’91 Geo Tracker from Bonified Customs. He kept going however and scored a 13, taking the Street Truck Dance win.
Bryan Gillespie and Jason Grimes also qualified for a piece of the Hard Luck Award. Their CCE-equipped ’87 Olds Cutlass opened up the Street Car Dance with moves guaranteed to please the crowd and capture the title. The Marzocchi pumps lifted all four wheels well off the ground and the Cutlass was on its way to an easy class win when disaster struck. It too lost a wheel and their routine was also stopped by the judges for fear of damaging the floor. The second competitor in the class, Jason Marchese wasn’t able to duplicate his outstanding performance in Charlotte. His “Run For Cover” Toyota 4Runner was suffering technical difficulties and only scored a 13. Ronnie Seprish was next with his high powered ’73 Volkswagen Super Beetle putting on a great show for the crowd. During his wild routine, he came the closest of all the competitors to rolling the car on its side. Blowing some serious smoke at the end of its run, the “Love Bug” scored a 15 for the class win.
But the class the crowd was waiting for did not disappoint. The Radical Hop saw several big names on the hydro circuit looking to topple Jorge Guzman’s record of 90 inches set in Phoenix, Arizona, this year. After several competitors tried their hand, Frank from Red’s took over the lead, sending his ’87 Mazda to 76 inches. It didn’t last long however because Steve Menendez was able to plant the bumper of his ’88 Ford Ranger effortlessly, scoring 88 inches in the process.Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better, Orlando Adkins and Raul Martinez from Showtime Customs of Newport News, Virginia, rolled in with “Viagra”! They began by running the rear end several feet in the air, letting the crowd know that this was going to be something special. With just a few taps of the switch, the dark blue ’91 Ranger not only rose to a new world record, it stayed there! Resting on its rear bumper and towering over the sticks, the truck patiently waited for the news while the screaming crowd roared its approval. Since the truck was off the scale, officials added a tape measure to see just how high it was. When all of the checking was done, the team of Adkins and Martinez owned a new world record, with the Ranger resting comfortably at 93 inches! It took a floor jack and several people to get the truck back on four wheels. Obviously the hydro action was wild in Tampa, but that’s no surprise to anyone who has witnessed firsthand the antics of these hoppers and dancers.