Miami is a great place to kick off the 2004 Lowrider Evolution Tour. The South Florida gente are enthusiastic, knowledgeable about the sport of lowriding, and always turn out by the thousands to support this first show of the new season. While the Miami weather was warm, you can always count on the action being red-hot, especially for the fans who packed the bleachers during this year’s opening Hydraulic Competition. A dozen or so eager switchmen were ready to show off their talents.

Red’s-Miami, led by Frank Carralero, always makes a strong showing in the East with Frank personally delivering half of the vehicles for the Miami event. Frank started things off in the Single-Pump category, but his Cadillac had electrical problems on the starting line. The fire in the trunk prevented him from scoring. First up in Double-Pump was last year’s record holder, the ’86 Olds Cutlass of Chris Ponder that hit 63 inches. With just a few bounces, Chris was easily able to achieve 56 inches. Although it was not good enough for a new record, it became the number to beat in his class. Frank Carralero rolled his green and white ’63 Chevy Impala into place, and was able to reach 55 inches for a solid Second Place finish. The orange and blue ’87 Cutlass of Ken Louis was the third competitor in the class and Ken bounced his Cutlass to a high of 47 inches, destroying the Continental kit in the process. Ken had to settle for Third.

The Radical Hop is always a crowd favorite and the excitement begins when the Go-Lo Entertainment staff adds the extensions to the sticks. The white metalflake ’83 Buick Regal of Douglas Hughes started by raising the rear bumper almost 6 feet off the ground. The tall rear end did not provide as much help as Doug had hoped for and, even though he lightened the front end by shedding the front bumper during the run, he was only able to score 37 inches. Marcal was next with his CCE-equipped silver ’85 Pontiac, but the hydro-barbecue that occurred inside halfway through his run put an end to his hopes for a class win. He reached 32 inches.

Steven Mendez from Red’s was next and immediately got the crowds attention when he drove his radical green ’88 Ford Ranger onto the field. One look at the engineering on the undercarriage told you that this truck was looking to win! Strut bars extending from the middle of the truck to the rear axle underscored the fact that this vehicle was aiming for the gold. Steven started the routine by jacking up the rear end until the taillights were a little higher than his head. The crisscrossed chains in the back pulled tight and, with three easy taps of the switch, Steven had launched the Ranger on its tailgate, registering 90 inches on the sticks. After the pictures, a few nudges from the floor jack brought the Ranger back to Earth.

Frank Carralero had a tough act to follow as he positioned his yellow Mazda at the sticks. The Miami crowd knew Frank’s famous “back-flip” truck very well. The reinforced roll bars in the bed and the dented roof of the cab was proof of its capabilities, having already bounced high enough in the past to roll over backwards. Unfortunately, the truck batteries were not quite up to par and Frank could only reach 82 inches, not enough for the win but good for Second Place.

The Street Truck Dance saw Frank again demonstrating his talents with his ’94 Suzuki Samurai. Frank had a good routine but electrical problems prevented a complete run. Stopping early, he was only able to score five points. David Newman from T&D Customs rolled out his Hi-Jacker-equipped ’87 Chevy S-10. From the outset, it was clear that David had his bright orange, anti-gravity machine dialed in, keeping the truck in the air throughout most of his routine. David nearly rolled the truck on its side several times during the performance, to the delight of the crowd. The judges awarded him a 22 for his efforts.

The final round was Radical Dance with Frank Carralero once again leading off. The purple ’87 Mazda, with Individuals IV Life on the back, had a good routine, scoring all of the essentials and taking a 15-point score. Frank was followed by David Newman, who once again had everything dialed in tightly, keeping his blue truck well off of the ground for most of the routine. David was awarded 21 points and captured his second win of the day.

Although no records were broken during this first show of the season, the crowd still got to see a great demonstration of hydraulic skills. If you would like to be part of the fun, check out the Go-Lo schedule or Calendar of Events published in every issue of Lowrider Magazine. We’ll see you there.