This year has been pretty action packed. In the few months since the beginning of the year there has been a lot of activity in the Spektrum camp. The year started off with us going to the Rose Parade (of which was one of the coolest things that we have ever done), and then continued with the Long Beach Grand Prix, the Latin Food Fest, LA Cookie Con, The Fit Expo, Star Wars Celebration and a whole range of other shows. I haven’t even begun counting the shows that we have had a booth at also. I really enjoy the kick off to a New Year and love to plan out what and where we will be going to. All of those shows are checkpoints throughout the year, and gauges to let me know what else is coming up and what we might want to check out. But, you know what? As I write this out and think about all of those shows, I am realizing that the year has gone really fast. You know how I know that? There is one show that takes place right in the middle of the year, and at least for me, signals the top of the mountain. After that, the rest of the year is all downhill, and even sooner than it took to get there we’re right back at the end of the year. I know when Extreme Autofest comes back to San Diego that it’s going to big one huge mid-year party. This time it came sooner than I planned, but, that wasn’t a bad thing. I looked forward to this one for a long time, and finally it was back!
Extreme Autofest tends to land in the middle of any given year. There are two shows that they do, one in Anaheim and the other in San Diego. Now, because I live in Orange County, you would think that I enjoy the Anaheim one more right? Well, I live there so, there are shows that I go to throughout the year there (as well as any baseball games that may take place there) that are always fun. I love the ambiance and the vibe that the OC brings, but, I gotta admit. I love the San Diego show. I think I may be a little biased though. As a fat body, anytime you have a show or event in the sun I’m sure to be sweating my ass off. Considering the OC show tends to land on the hottest day of all time, every time(!), then it’s easy to see that it can be a little uncomfortable. Sure, you can say that it’s not about me, it’s all about the cars. But, let’s be honest, there’s something truly enjoyable about going to a show and the weather being super nice. It’s pretty damn nice, and the San Diego show has that going on in spades. I think a lot of it has to do with that nice breeze from the ocean, and the open air of the area.
But, while the weather is one of the things I enjoy about the San Diego show, it isn’t the only thing. Truth is, that it has a bit of a different vibe compared to some of the other shows. Sure, a lot of the cars and vendors that we normally see make the trip down to San Diego, but, there is also a nice mix of locals and travelers from all around. Gone are the super-hot days (the benefit of having a venue that is not far from the ocean and particularly breezy makes it a world apart from Angel Stadium in Anaheim) and crazy funky traffic. The drive-in is pretty pleasant and if you leave early enough you can avoid the craziness near Esconido. I like taking the 5 freeway down towards San Diego the most. That drive along the coast is something I always look forward to doing. With the cool weather and beach stretching for the better part of the drive, it is definitely a lot more scenic than the drive on the 15. So, when the opportunity came up for us to go back to Extreme Autofest, we knew we just had to be there. Just like years past, this one promised to be a big one (like it usually turns out to be).
We were at Extreme Autofest last year, and that one was one of the funnest shows that I had ever been to. It started out a little stressful (as I was a one man show for the first half of the show), and had to set up everything at the event. Normally it isn’t a problem to do that. But, the wind was up and kicking that day, and it made putting up the flags and tent a little tricky. But, once the team started to show up, and we all started to have a great time, then the show really kicked into high gear. I’m not one to brag, but, hell, our girls joined the bikini contest this time, and did extremely well. Our newest member Sam ended up winning. That was freaking nuts, and while I didn’t expect that (I should have never doubted them to be honest) it was just one notch in the awesome things that went on that day. So, when this year’s show was going down, I and the team were stoked to go. Just like last time I would be going at it alone (a few of our teammates couldn’t make it), but, I wasn’t worried in the least. In fact, I wasn’t stressed out about it all. I don’t know what it was about this year. Maybe it was the fact that we had done a ton of shows since that last one, and setting up came like second nature to me.
I don’t know what it was to be honest, but man, when I set out on that early morning drive I was cooler than a cucumber. The day was beautiful and the drive was smoother than a baby’s bottom, and as I picked up a breakfast crunchwrap from Taco Bell (which if you’ve never had before, you are really missing out) I knew it was going to be a good day. When I arrived at Qualcomm the mood was lowkey, and I had missed a lot of that early morning rush. I was able to check-in in really fast, and in no time at all, I was already on my way in. Just from that short time at check in I noticed some of the cars there. Imports are to be expected at these shows, but, the one thing that I love about Extreme Autofest is that they merge a few different genres of cars all into one place. It’s one of the few shows where you can see a Supra, a Viper and a Master Deluxe right next to each other. It’s awesome, and I was really trying not to look at the cars on either side of me as I drove in. I wanted my time inside the show to be just like the people walking into the show. Sure I was going to be aware of what was around me, but, I always like to experience shows like the fans that come to them. I like being surprised just like everyone else that shows up. There’s no real honest way to talk about it than to experience it just like the people that come in through the gates.
That was it this time around too. I was able to set the booth up pretty quickly (thanks to some help from the guys at JDM Sport and Firm 400) and get things going. We didn’t have room for a car, and I was a little bummed about that. To my surprise though, one of the booths right next to us was Bumpboxx and their booth car asked if they could park right next to us. I didn’t expect that, but, I was stoked and happily agreed. The car was one that I had seen at a few shows and I was a huge fan of. It was a green FR-S with some heavy modding done to it. I could sit here and describe it, but, if you’ve been to any shows in the SoCal area, then you’ve for sure seen this car. The car is pretty iconic at this point, and seeing it instantly stops a person that is walking by. So, having that car next to us turned out to be a blessing that we didn’t anticipate. It was great.
Just like every show though, in that short amount of time that we had to set up and get ready, the show kicked off. The lines were already getting longer at the front gate one-by-one the people were pouring in. In just a few minutes there were tons of people all over the place. We were fortunate enough to be in the middle of the action and experiencing the action was just incredible. Our team members Sam and Kena were there with me, as well as some of the crew from 360 Products (which included Teresa, Daniel and Jessica). We’ve worked with those folks before and putting them all together made for a really nice looking crew. It made it a lot more fun too when the music started blasting and the girls started dancing. I personally enjoy seeing the ladies dance, so, I allowed that to happen. Yep, even if I wasn’t there, I’m sure the bystanders walking by would allow it as well. hehe. But, I loved that, and the mood was definitely set. All around us were cars glistening in the sun and all kinds of music bumping. I couldn’t help but take a stroll and see some of the craziness going on. While I can’t seem to make it five feet from our booth without being stopped (that’s what happens when you are in the scene long enough and start to make friends and family at all the shows), I was able to sneak away and see the cars and people that were there. And you bet your ass that I was able to sneak away and see one of my favorite events of the entire show. I’m sure I don’t even have to say too much about that, as it is one of the favorites for a lot of people. Yep, you probably guessed what it was by now. It was the bikini contest.
The bikini contest at the Extreme Autofest shows are pretty notorious by now. If you have never been to one of them, this one tends to be a bit um….sexier than most. If you were to ask me, it is a hell of a lot sexier. Sure, bikini contests always tend to run sexy, but, it’s how this one is run that tends to put it over the top. The girls are all gorgeous and the bikinis show just enough in all of the right places to be nice. Those bikinis (by the show sponsor HeyBaby) are usually really nice, and I love how the colors match with the girls. Then there’s the models themselves. I don’t know how they do it, but, man, they manage to pick some winners. Sure, every show has some beautiful women, but, this one has some particularly lovely picks. While I’ll admit that I am a little biased (hell, our team members did very well last year), and would compete again this time around, I think it’s always nice to see who else shows up. The contestants this time around were lovely. With bikini contest veteran Lilly Evans (who always manages to whip the crowd into a frenzy), to NorCal model Monique Greene, and the fantastically gorgeous South African(!) model Michelle Van Rooyen (who would go on to win the contest), it was easy to see that there was no shortage of talent. The competition was fierce through and through, and while I was rooting for our homegirls Sam and Kena, it was nice to play the neutral ground and appreciate the competition for what it was. In the end, Michelle would go on to win the crowd, and Sam (who we love and is a winner every day for us) along with Lilly Evans would take second and third respectfully. It was a great competition, and seeing just how crazy the crowd was really set it off for us. It’s moments like that, that make shows like this more exciting, and it was one of the highlights for me that day.
The one thing I was sad about though was not seeing one of the big name acts that had come through before. Seeing Xzibit, Warren G, Too Short and a few others was always one of the biggest highlights of any of the Extreme Autofest shows for me. You would think that the crowd would be ready to roll after the bikini contest, and for a few that was the case. But, damn. You get these guys on stage and the crowd goes nuts. Hearing them (and myself) sing along to our favorite old school songs is something that I can never forget, and I was hoping that this time around we would get a chance to see one of them again. Sadly, that wouldn’t happen, and the show would taper off slowly after the contest. I was a little sad to not see that, but, I did enjoy myself, and I’m sure that the crowds did as well. There were a ton of people, and even though it was hotter than normal, there was a lot of fun to be had. Being with the Spektrum fam is always exciting, and taking some moments to meet all of the car fans that night was a lot of fun. I loved meeting some of the folks that had made the trek from over the border as well. Their dedication to the scene was so much so that they would hop on over to another country just to follow up with it. Yeah, that’s the kind of show that Extreme Autofest is. This one in San Diego is right in the middle of the action, and a lot of folks (including myself) have no regrets in making the trek down south. It’s always been one of my favorite shows. This time was no different. I had a great time and so did our team. Of course, so did the people that went. With the variety of cars, vendors and the laid back vibe, it’s no wonder people keep coming back. I know we’ll be there one way or another. And maybe next time around, I’ll follow my gut instinct and and make a trip to the land down south and keep the party going. We’ll see. I get into enough trouble up here. But, that my friends, is a story for a different day…
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on Extreme Autofest and any upcoming Shows check out their website at www.http://extremeautofest.com/
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.