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One show united the group of us last year. This show took place down in San Diego and was a total and complete blowout. This was a show that we had gone to before, but, it wouldn’t be the same as it was the previous time. Last year when we had gone to this show we shared a booth with another group. It was a great time for sure, but, this time around, we would be going on our own, as a team. In some ways we knew what to expect, but, knowing that we would be going on representing ourselves, I trembled at the thought of how it was going to go. Not because I was scared by any means. But, because I know what this show is like. Let’s just say that this show is bonkers. From beginning to end there’s so much going on, that it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. In other words, it was a perfect fit for us, and something we definitely wanted to be a part of once again. What other show could it be than the one and only, Extreme Autofest!?
There’s just something special about this show. Maybe it’s the beautiful end of summer weather (the show usually takes place around the end of July or early August), or maybe it’s just the fact that everyone is in a great mood, but, Extreme Autofest is a real good time. We go to a lot of car events and more often than not, there are one’s that kind of get lost in the mix. It’s sad to say, but, nowadays, with a car show going on every week, and in some cases, at the same time (as others), it takes something special to come along to really get us to notice. We were lucky enough back in 2015 to have shared a booth with our then partners, the WWLC (World Wide Lancer Club). For those of you that haven’t experienced it, it is a world of difference being on the vendor side than it is being on the media side, let alone being a regular attendee. Getting there super early, and helping to set up was something that took a lot of getting used to. Especially this show being down south in San Diego. Traveling and taking a boatload of items and supplies opens up a whole new can of worms when it comes to logistics. But, 2016 would be a different story altogether. Working with the folks from Extreme Autofest, we were able to secure a booth spot for the show, and it would be the first time we would be going the series on our own. It was also the first time the whole lot of us wold be together (that included all of the team members and myself, including two new members that we added just before the San Diego show), and needless to say, being confirmed for the show would the first in a long line of memorable events.
The road to this show was tumultuous though and like most events, there were a lot of little things that happened behind the scenes that a lot of people didn’t get to see. In a lot of ways, that’s part of the fun. Well, at least it adds to the whirlwind of excitement that follows any event we do . We had done the show a year before and were wondering how this one was going to be. It was a total blast a year before, and we had a good feeling about this one. But, the thing about being in a show is that you never really know how it is going to be until it actually goes down. That was the case for this show from the get go. It was the first time that I would be hauling everything into the show and setting up by myself. While that isn’t particularly worrying, it was something that I would like to avoid. But, sadly there were a few people that couldn’t make this event, and I had to go at it alone. Being a one man wolfpack, I just had to grin and bear it. That’s what us tough guys do. Complaining only delays the inevitable and so, barely awake with crust under my eyelids, I began the trek towards San Diego.
5 in the morning was my cutoff time to head out and by that time I had finished loading up my hatch full of show bits and Spektrum merchandise, and my little road trip south was ready to get rolling. If any of you have driven down to San Diego on a Saturday, you know that if you don’t hit the road by a certain time, you are better off walking than driving that way. I thought that I was making the right choice by leaving earlier than usual to make it out to SD (San Diego) in time. Boy, was that a mistake. You see, for those of us that live in Orange County (as well as Los Angeles), there are basically two main highways that go that direction. Out towards the desert you have the 15 freeway, and closer to the water in the west, you have the 5 freeway. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but, depending on where you live, you usually take the one closest to you. Needless to say, everyone west of the IE (Inland Empire) takes the 5 Freeway towards SD, and in no time that road gets crammed full of people. It really sucks too. You have at least four lanes of traffic going in either direction, and it is packed bumper to bumper for miles on end. I was not looking forward to heading that way and by the time I had left my house, it was looking like I was going to avoid it.
That was the case for the most part, until I got to Escondido. I was hauling butt all the way down the 5 and I could tell my SC(300) was breaking a sweat just keeping up with my impatience. But, in just a short time after spotting the Marine Base Camp Pendleton the 5(freeway) would come to a complete stop. I figured, if I was going to be stuck in the hell hole known as the 5 freeway, that I would at least stop and pick up a few things that I might need. That ended up being a blessing in disguise though. Bringing up Google Maps, I found an alternate route around the jammed freeway and without even hesitating I turned and burned towards Qualcomm Stadium (where the show was going to be). Now, I may have had to drive three thousand miles around the traffic and through alligator infested swamps (believe it or not), but, it was totally worth the re-route. I was able to get to where I needed to go and I made it just in time for vendor roll-in. I was shitting bricks at the thought of not making it through the gates in time, and I did whatever I had to to make it.
But, i’ll tell you. As soon as I got off the freeway (by this time I was coming down the 805 and burning through my tires) and saw Qualcomm (Stadium), I started jumping for joy. How I was able to do this in a moving vehicle is anyone’s guess, but, believe me when I say it happened. Those fifty-five hours of driving (well….maybe a little less than that I suppose, but, not by much) really set me up for the scene of Qualcomm. Just rolling in through the front gates greeted me with some of the finest imports and lowriders that i’ve ever laid eyes on. From the line in through those first gates all the way into the parking lot, the sight of car after car arriving was enough to get my heart pumping. I don’t know. The feeling of vendor (and car) roll-in is an experience that I can’t explain. It is the culmination of a lot of time and effort on everyone’s part that makes an event like that happen. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of it, but, just take a look at a single line of cars at any show and think about the amount of time, money and heart that goes into each and every build. The vendors are also putting their hearts on their sleeve when they show up to things like this. No one knows if anyone will show up to their booth and check out what they have, or let alone buy something from them, but, there is a lot going on. So, while a lot of the show cars sit there being polished before the event, and vendors spend their time putting up all of their tents, it’s easy to forget all of the things going on. All of this is in anticipation of the flood of people that will come through the show entrance. It’s that anticipation and knowing what will come later that is a bit of an aphrodisiac that I can hardly describe. I get excited for what is to come, and even more so knowing that my team will be there to share in the excitement with me.
Before Extreme Autofest had even started I was already pumped full of adrenaline and waiting for what would come. Never mind the fact that it was super windy, and all of the vendors around me were losing their flyers to the wind. One of the best parts of this show would be the fact that we were going to have a few new members join us. This time around, we would have Gladys, Sam and Karla join in the fun. I had worked with all of them before (minus Sam, who is the sister of one of the other models on our team) and was stoked to see them all together. I enjoy bringing people together, and seeing the group of beautiful and talented women on our team has really inspired me to push us further than I probably would have done on my own. Imagine my delight when Karla showed up first to the booth. Karla, in case you were wondering, is a model I had met years ago. We met at a car show down in Huntington Beach, and soon after shot several times. Way before the idea of a magazine had ever even crossed my mind, I was fortunate enough to work with one of the funniest and most beautiful model I had ever known. We had talked way back when I finally made the first step in starting Spektrum, and nearly three years later, she was with us at this very special San Diego show. Seeing her after all that time brought me back to the time I had seen her briefly at Extreme Autofest the year before. I knew that working with her and the rest of the gang would be amazing.
Once the rest of the girls showed up it was total and complete chaos. By that time the show had started and everything was already going. The music from the main stage was blaring and people were filing in like ants on a picnic table. All that pre-show adrenaline was kicked in to hyper gear and we were off to the races. It was nuts. Within an hour or two of the models showing up (sadly they showed up later than I would have liked. But, when there are two horrible crashes that close down the 5 in a row, it’s a miracle that they even showed up) they would throw their hats into the bikini show. Four of the six would enter the contest, and to my amazement, two of them would place in the top three. Even more incredible, our newest model, Sam, would go on to win the contest. Second place would belong to our team captain, Cristal, and in a one-two-punch, they would steal the show. Oh man, I was so elated that I couldn’t even believe it. The girls were all just as excited, and seeing their enthusiasm for one another was fantastic. It had only been a few hours and already things were going through the stratosphere. But, that is what Extreme Autofest is all about.
Beyond the craziness that we experienced on our end, there were a lot of other bits of wackiness going on all over the place. From the fun and fabulous team of JDM Sport to the luxurious lowriders and everything in between, this is one show that no one should miss. And if you did, no worries, there’s another one just around the corner. That is the beauty and curse of this show though. I kind of wish that there would be another one (Extreme Autofest Show) more than twice a year. This year we are being promised another two shows. One of those will be in Anaheim, and the other one will once again take place in San Diego. Both of them are equally as awesome, and if this next one is even half as crazy as this one that we went to, we are in for one hell of a ride. Just think, for as incredible as this last one was, the next one will be even crazier. We have more people on the team, and now we know what it’s like to be down there on our own. I can’t wait this next one. I’ll tell you one thing though. The next time we go to Qualcomm, it may not even be Qualcomm anymore. Hard to believe, but, in the world of sports, the team that owned that piece of land has decided that they are going to be relocating north in Los Angeles. Yes it’s true. Since the mid-90’s there have been no football teams in the LA area, and within two years, there would be two teams that would relocate. It’s pretty nuts, but, goes to show you that things are changing all of the time. They’re next show will be in July, but, knowing that the Chargers will be leaving that area, makes me wonder just what it’s going to be like. Will there be any signs of what it used to be? Who knows. All I know is that if this show is anything like what we experienced this last time, then it’s going to be incredible. Ah, the excitement that a new year and a new dawn brings. I love life and the twists and turns it holds for us.
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on Extreme Autofest and any of their upcoming events check out their website at 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.