Miami, Florida, is honored every year to be the kickoff event of the Lowrider Tour series, with this year made even more special as we mark three decades of Lowrider fun. While the 30th Anniversary Tour certainly adds a whole new dimension, the gente in Miami are always primed and ready for the opening of each new season. This year, sponsors Quaker State, Lowrider Car Care, HD Wheels, CCE Hydraulics, Hispanic Lending and Thump Records made it possible.
This year, everything was perfect, but as you may recall, last year there were some problems. The Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center that has been hosting our show for the last decade was still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Two of the three buildings normally used to display vehicles indoors were damaged and ruled unsafe, making them unavailable. The shortage of supplies, the competition for skilled labor, and delays with insurance payments prevented the buildings from being repaired in time.
You also may remember that debris was still stacked in piles waiting for cleanup and, to make things worse, the temperatures last year were very un-Miami-like, in the upper 40s. This year, we're happy to report that the full range of facilities was once again available, the temps were back to Miami's warm 70s, and the buildings and outdoor spaces were filled with a display of some of the hottest vehicles in the country.
The gathering of radical customs could keep you intrigued for hours, just trying to see them all. Passionate about their automobiles, Miami fans admire excellence, but they can be a tough crowd if you show up unprepared. Customizers need to pay attention to details and hoppers need to send their rigs skyward if you want to impress this knowledgeable group.
Luckily, the imagination and talent of this year's customizers delivered more than expected with an awe-inspiring collection of bicycles, motorcycles, cars, pickups, bombs, SUVs and more adding to the fun. Hoppers entertained the crowd with their feats of engineering skill, thanks to an exciting group of tail-standing pickups and high-flying car dancers. But this year, hydro fans got to see a first in lowrider history.
The last performer of the day, six-year-old Keith "Lil' Flip" Christensen, brought the crowd to its feet. Growing up in the sport, young Keith is the son of longtime competitor Rodney Christensen, well known on the lowrider circuit. It's apparent that Lil' Flip is following in dad's footsteps, as the six-year-old deftly worked the switches on the family pickup, taking it through its routine and capping off the performance by flipping it on its side in front of a packed house! The first grader quickly became the crowd favorite.
Excitement on a different level occurred on the stage with Miami's favorite, DJ Laz, hosting the crowd-pleasing Bikini Contest and musical artist Jim Jones entertaining the fans with his high-energy sound. The sounds were hot, but when half a dozen people on stage started flinging handfuls of money to the crowd during the finale, Jones really got the attention of his Miami fans.
If you'd like to spend a great day enjoying the company of old friends, seeing a great collection of innovative automotive art, watching hoppers and dancers defy a little gravity, and maybe catch a handful of dollars falling from the sky, check out the Lowrider calendar for an event that you will remember long after the money's spent! Until then, we'll catch you at the next Tour stop.
Miami WinnersBest Car Of ShowFirst-Bowtie Connection South, '64 Chevy ImpalaSecond-Augustin Cruz, '82 Buick RegalThird-Denise Hayes, '68 Chevy Impala
Best Traditional LowriderFirst-Danny Rodriguez, '61 Chevy ImpalaSecond-Jorge Maciera, '64 Chevy ImpalaThird-Juan Gonzalez, '65 Ford Thunderbird
Best Original '69 & Below First-Bowtie Connection South, '57 Chevy Bel Air
Best TruckFirst-Isidro Juarez, '50 ChevySecond-Juan Gonzalez, '89 Ford RangerThird-Arturo Fuentes, Ford F-150
Best Custom CompactFirst-Paul Ireson, '65 Mini CooperSecond-Jaime Morales, '93 NissanThird-Rolando Puerto, 2001 Toyota Corolla
Best BicycleFirst-Michael LinvilleSecond-Richard CantuThird-Cynthia Garcia
Best TrikeFirst-Michael MerrimanSecond-J.R. NathalieThird-Chris Lopez
Lowrider Excellence AwardBowtie Connection South, '64 Chevy Impala