Okay, what can make a beautiful sunny day even better? Why, a car hop, of course. The pounding of raw metal, the crowd screaming, the juice flowing makes the hop pit one of the biggest crowd stoppers on the 2003 LRM Legends Tour, and the Dallas, Texas, stop was no exception. As the tension mounted in Dallas Fair Park, the crowd got louder, building the competitors’ spirits to switch-hitting mode. The announcer pumped up the crowd even further by announcing the first competitor of the day, Gilbert Vasquez in the Truck Hop with his ’88 Chevy S10. Gilbert hit 42 inches. Then “Shorty” Villareal brought out his mean “Texas Ranger” and hit a whopping 78 inches to take First Place bragging rights.
The next category was the Single-Pump Hop, where Eddie Baeza broke the Tour record by hitting 36 inches with his ’63 Chevy Impala. Eddie’s record proved to be short-lived, however, as Shorty Villareal then came out and hit an awesome 39 inches to again take First Place and set a new Tour record. Zefe Carrizales did not have any competitors in the Double-Pump Hop, but still managed to hit 31 inches with his blue Impala.
The competition became more difficult in the Luxury Hop, where a pumped-up field of competitors gave it everything that they had. Luis Morales from LM Kustoms of Dallas hit 49 inches with his ’86 Olds Cutlass to take home the cash. In Second Place was Perry Bunker’s Hi-Jacker-equipped ’78 Chevy Monte Carlo at 40 inches. Greg James was giving it his all until his front axle broke, but he still managed to hit 35 inches and claim Third Place.
In the Radical Hop, Jesse Alaniz went first with a clean Impala and set the pace at 53 inches. When the crowd saw Shorty Villareal walking to his ’85 Buick LeSabre they all started cheering him on by yelling, “Shorty, Shorty.” After the car was in position, the crowd went silent and Shorty made the ride jump up to 54 inches for another First Place finish.
After a short pause came the Street Car Dance where the first competitor out was Fernando Casas. Fernando made his ’81 Cutlass jump, twist and turn to a 28-point score and First Place. Juan Luna made his ’87 shuffle its way to a 23-point finish and Second Place. Last but not least was James Perez’ ’87 Cutlass, which ended up with 21 points.
The Street Truck Dance competitors looked like they all had hydraulic fluid pumping through their veins. In this category, Josh Garza moved his car to the cheers of the crowd. As the yelling got louder, the car moved faster and finished with 29 points, good enough for First Place in the class. In Second was Jose Martinez, who scored 12 points with his ’86 Chevy Blazer. In Third Place was Rodrigo Garza’s Chevy S10 with 10 points.
The last competition of the day was the Radical Dance, a class where anything goes, and that’s exactly what these competitors had in mind. Silverio Rojas did not complete the required time, but had the crowd yelling until his front axle gave out on him and his car had to be towed way from the pit to make room for the next guy. T&D Customs knew that they had to give the crowd something to go home and talk about. Within 10 seconds of their routine, they tumbled the truck on its side to make the crowd go wild. They did everything imaginable to keep the crowd’s spirits up and took home First Place with 23 points.
After the spectators left the stands, the pit grew quiet. It seems that the crowd is what drives these competitors and fuels their systems with adrenaline for the next show. There’s many more Tour hops to come, including two more in Texas alone, with future dates planned for Houston and San Antonio. We can expect more of what we saw in Dallas at these Lone Star State Tour dates.