Once upon a time there were plenty of warriors on the LRM battlefield, aka the hop pit. Now that it's been whittled down to five per category, the fight at the Super Show has become more intense and now more than ever it's critical to bring your "A" game. We were a little low on topflight, record-breaking performances at the Super Show this year, to be honest. In previous years, most of the records are set at the show, as opposed to the ones set at the show this year, but with that said, it was still a great contest.

Sometimes it becomes a job just getting to the show. For starters, the Double-Pump category was short one competitor for Vegas. No one knows that better than Roy Romero who lost his '83 Regal off his trailer on the way to Vegas. Thankfully Roy was fine, but his car became a write-off. Hopefully he's down but not out and will build another car for next year. Everyone should read our "Trailer Safety" article (Aug. '08, page 102) because this can happen to anyone. Just a suggestion.

A strange quietness seemed to lull over the hop, maybe having to do with the unusually cold weather that greeted everyone. Many of the hop competitors felt that the weather did play a major part in why their cars didn't get off as well as they normally do. Fact or fiction we don't know, but we do know that the numbers weren't hopping like the usual numbers at previous hopping contests, but factor in some of the usual madness and you have the makings of an interesting hop nonetheless. In the Single-Pump category Dave Marquez and Shorty's Hydraulics split First Place, both topping out at 68 inches. This was 4 inches shy of the tour record, which is held by Dave, who took home an additional $1,500. Shorty's other vehicle, a '64 Impala, hit 63 inches and placed Third, winning $250.

In the Double-Pump class there were only three competitors present, so it was just a matter of where they placed. In the end, the Black Magic '78 Cutlass took First with 78 inches and won $1,000. This was off 1 inch from the tour record, but luckily Ron was also the one to hit that extra inch at an earlier show. He also won an additional $1,500 for the tour record, but that didn't come without some controversy. After his win in the Double-Pump category, and soon after his post-inspection by the head hop judge, Ron packed up the car and rolled out. A few of the competitors complained, stating that the rules clearly say you're not allowed to leave with the vehicle until given the OK by a hop judge. Some of the competitors felt it was suspicious, but the judges said that since they did do a post inspection of the vehicle, the win should stand.

The Truck Hop also saw an upset at the Super Show. Shorty's Hydraulics has dominated this class for quite a while now and ironically is the tour's current record holder in this class. Brian Gillespie of Cool Cars beat out Shorty by 4 inches, but was short of the tour record by 3 inches. Shorty, however, did take Second, Third, and the tour record, winning a combined $2,250, which isn't too bad for a day's work in one class.

There was also a change in the rules this year for the Radical Hop category that allowed cars to have 16 batteries and hold the trucks to 14 batteries in an effort to level the playing field for cars. It seemed to have worked, upping the amount of cars in the Double-Pump field and giving them a chance against the longer wheelbase trucks. The Radical Hop saw a field of two trucks and three Impalas with Mondo and his '62 Impala from Hi-Low taking the win with a 105-inch swing. In doing so, he was the only person in the hop competition this year to break a record at the Super Show. He received $2,500 total for the win and the record. Todd Land took Second and Third with 98 and 97 inches in his '64 and '61, respectively. Many of the cars seemed to like hopping down hill, which was evident by the number of cars that were chased as they rolled toward the stage.