27 YEARS AND STILL RUNNING STRONG
IF YOU’RE IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY OR JUST SIMPLY LOVE SEEING CUSTOM TRUCKS LAID OUT AND SITTIN’ PRETTY, THEN YOU HAVE EITHER HEARD OF SLAMFEST OR POSSIBLY ATTENDED IT A TIME OR TWO. If you haven’t, then I suggest you mark your calendars now for next year’s fest.
This impressive event has been rolling strong for over 27 years now and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. Putting together a unique, successful yearly show doesn’t come easy. Slamfest is promoted and put into motion by the Mini Madness car and truck club. The club members put together the perfect compounds of hard work, commitment and dedication, resulting in a successful event year after year.
Commitment doesn’t come just from the event promoters and staff. Slamfest has dedicated clubs that come out each year to support the love for this show. Acrophobia, Negative Camber and Relaxed Atmosphere are just a few of the well-known names that attend each and every year. Showing up early and taping off their favorite sections are common practices to post up their rides, or should I say lay them out, in just the right location to enjoy this passionate lifestyle we all love.
With thousands of people attending the show to take in all the creative vehicles, along with afternoon entertainment like the burnout contest, club games and the gorgeous bikini contest, there is surely something to please everyone’s eyes. After this year’s event, I was lucky enough to snag some time with Mini Madness’ club president for a quick Q&A session.
Street Trucks: The first question we have is probably your most commonly asked query: Exactly how long has Slamfest been running?
Mini Madness: Slamfest’s first year was 1991. In 2019, it will be the 28th anniversary of our show.
ST: Who promoted the very first event, where was it held and about how many people attended?
MM: Mini Madness has always prided themselves on promoting and holding the show each year with club members. The first show was held by approximately 20 members and had about 320 vehicles in attendance in a Belz Factory Outlet parking lot in Tampa, Florida.
ST: How did the name Slamfest originally come about?
MM: The name Slamfest came about from no real reason other than the club’s passion for “slammed” vehicles.
ST: How long have you been the man behind the magic?
MM: I have only recently stepped into the role as president but have been involved in the club since around 2001. The show is not held by me or any one person. The club members all play their roles in holding our two annual shows. Some members play more of a role than others, but at the end of the day, if it wasn’t for the Mini Madness members, Slamfest would not run the way it does.
ST: What is the overall atmosphere you like to achieve at each event?
MM: Of course, we push to promote the best quality show that we can. And the cars/trucks that have been showing these past few years are, hands down, some of the best in the scene. Without the participants, we wouldn’t be putting on our 28th year of Slamfest. But we want the show to be an event as well. Come for the car show, leave with memories and laughs. We have cornhole competition, club games, burnout competition, car/truck limbo, and who can forget the beloved bikini contest.
ST: After an event is over, how much time do you take off before you start the planning process for the next show?
MM: After Slamfest, we immediately button down the date for the following year, and even though we may keep in touch with vendors and sponsors year-round, we take a small break to promote our other show, Doin it in the Dark. Doin it in the Dark is a one-night show in Clearwater, Florida, that grows each year and is quickly becoming the go-to show for a quick cruise night and show!
ST: Have any companies sponsored the event all 27 years, or at least the last 20?
MM: Over the years, sponsors and vendors have come and gone. One of our longest-standing vendors has got to be the famous Drop Em Wear. Also, sometimes the people representing a specific vendor or sponsor change their paths but then support Slamfest with their new company.
ST: How does the city of Tampa take to the event each year? Do they accept it with open arms?
MM: The city and its businesses accept and love the show. We have sheriff’s deputies at the show each year and we get praised for the people in our scene. We rarely have any problems, and when there’s 10,000 people in one place over the course of two days, that shows how good of a scene we are part of and are promoting.
ST: What do you have in mind for the next 20 years?
MM: All we can hope for is to continue supplying the scene with an outlet and a reason to build the baddest rides on the streets. Mini Madness will continue to progress and grow Slamfest and prove why Slamfest has been around for what will be 28 years and continue to move forward.
ST: How far have people traveled to come to this event?
MM: Each year we honor those who have traveled with an award for farthest traveled. This year was won by Acrophobia member Todd Robinson from Canada, but in the past we have had California participants and even had spectators from Japan.
ST: Aside from Mini Madness, which truck and car clubs have supported Slamfest since day one?
MM: The only club that is known to have supported Slamfest since the first show is Hardcore Minis out of the Orlando area. ST
COMMENTS FROM JOE GREEVES…
The great Joe Greeves, a longtime chronicler of all things automotive, shared his history in the industry and what he thinks of Slamfest.
“I have been an active freelance writer/ photographer since my very first article was published in a truck magazine back in 1974,” Greeves says. “Custom vans were the popular thing back then and I built six totally custom versions over the years.”
He also equally active in the automotive hobby while on active duty in the Marine Corps, he says.
“When I retired as a Marine Lt. Col. in 1987, I stepped up my involvement with the scene and at one point was writing for more than 20 different magazines around the world,” Greeves says. “I have been published in titles like ‘Wheels Afield,’ ‘Popular Photography’ and ‘Mechanics Illustrated.’ I now write exclusively for the automotive industry, which is where my passion lies. When Steve Stillwell and Brian McCormick left their jobs to start ‘Street Trucks,’ I was among their first contributors and I am proud to still be a regular today. I currently average seven or eight published articles a month and write for 11 magazines. I have a short attention span, so I need lots of variety!”
Greeves says he’s more than a writer/photographer—he’s a builder, too.
“My last custom, built in my garage with the help of three very talented friends, was a unique blend of car and truck,” he says. “Initially, the my Super Stepside was invited to SEMA as a booth vehicle, then a four-month headliner on the World of Wheels, and finally, the star of a Speed Channel TV series. The truck was great fun and was featured in 23 magazines around the world. You can see it on my personal website, www. Greevesphotography.com.
“Slamfest has always been my favorite show in Florida, and I hope to continue covering it for many years to come,” Greeves says. “My wife Ann and I live in St. Augustine, Florida, so Slamfest is considered a home show, which makes the event even more special.”
PHOTOS BY THE GREAT JOE GREEVES!