To paraphrase a song, welcome back, our friends, to the show that never ends. Well, hydro fans came in droves to the hopping pit that was set up at Miami’s Fair and Expo facility to see the pumps push and pull heavy metal hitters to the top spots in their respective divisions. The “arena” seated some 3,000 people drooling to see the first LRM Hop for 2003, which this year is sponsored by CCE Hydraulics.

To kick off the show, Mr. Brett Kopitz of Simi Valley, California, brought out his funky orange Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme for the first of many appearances this year. The outrageous ride is outfitted with Hi-Low hydraulics equipment throughout the front and back. With the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey streaming out from the PA, the tension slowly mounted and then made a quick jump to a hard-hitting rap cut as Brett proceeded to flail away on the monster switch box that he built from scratch. The crowd gasped and cheered Brett on as he controlled the Olds into a metallic frenzy. Already things started creaking and you could hear the on-board pumps hiss and moan as the hydro juice churned through the system. The car was close to toppling over, but Brett kept it going. We can’t wait to see what other tricks Brett has up his sleeve.

As for the Hop and Dance contest, we had the distinct pleasure of listening to MC Dennis “Da Menace” Cervantes’ commentary and funny quips throughout the contest. Dennis had them laughing with colorful comments that seemed to help set the mood for the Miami masses. As far as the cash was broken down, it was decided that First Place received $750, Second got $500 and Third Place winners took home $250.

First up was the Truck Hop with Sotero “Shorty” Villareal banging out a mean 76 inches with his ’92 Ford Ranger to set the bar for the rest of the day. Jerry Sweeney was next with his ’89 Madza mini-truck and he eked out a decent 62 inches. Next up was Jason Grimes with his ’89 Ranger who came close to First with 74 inches, so Shorty took home the top spot that day in his class.

In the Single-Pump division it was “Miami Frank” Carralero and his Red’s powered ’94 Cadillac hitting 23 inches for First and Derrick Knight with his ’85 Cutlass with 17 inches for Second Place. As for the Double-Pump action, hometown favorite Frank Carralero got his ’63 Chevy Impala up to 52 inches for the only contestant in that division. Ah, but something told us that Frank was finished that day! That’s because it was all Frank again during the Radical Hop, this time with an ’87 Mazda pickup truck hitting an extreme height of 84 inches. This really got the crowd going as the truck climbed higher and higher. The Luxury class had a few contenders like Perry Bunker and his ’78 Chevy Monte Carlo hitting 45 solid inches to take First Place while William Sanchez did a cool 38 inches for Second Place and Ken Lewis of the Drop Zone finishing Third Place with 34 inches.

A little dancing was next on the card with Street Car dancers Brian Rehburg doing 18 points for First Place with his ’83 Cutlass wired to a school bus switch box. Second Place went to crowd favorite Frank “the next mayor of Miami” Carralero! Frank did 12 points with an ’87 Cutlass Supreme. As for the Truck Street Dance, big Frank was in the mix as his ’94 Geo Tracker danced and pranced around the hop area and took First with 14 points followed by Richard Armenta’s ’88 Mazda pickup with 12 points on the score sheet.

Lastly, we had the Radical Dance class with Mitch Joseph and his rowdy ’92 Ranger getting crazy with moves left and right. Mitch a did a decent nine points, but Jason Grimes stole the spotlight with his ’87 Cutlass, “El Sancho.” The car was whipped up into a kinetic frenzy and Jason flicked away at the switch box and had the crowd cheering him on as he won the Radical contest with 17 strong points. A great way to end the first Hop and Dance event for 2003. See you next in Fontana, California!