It feels like just yesterday we were in Las Vegas for the Super Show and now we're at it again, working on our 30th Anniversary Tour. Once again, the first Tour event of the season was held at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center, and one of the big attractions was the Hop sponsored by CCE Hydraulics.
There were just 12 competitors at the Miami Hop, but that didn't stop them from giving it their all for the appreciative crowd. Kicking off the competition and the first to hop in 2007 was Jose Bernal with his '94 Buick Roadmaster. Being the only competitor in the Double-Pump Hop class, Frank Carralero of Red's Hydraulics-Miami just needed to avoid breaking down with his '64 Chevy Impala to take home a $750 cash prize. Frank hit 54 inches on the stick to take home a nice check for just driving down the street. In the Truck Hop, Mike "Lefty" Gonzales hit the switch on his Mazda truck and smashed the tailgate when he reached 77 inches.
The Radical Hop category is always a crowd favorite as the rules are pretty simple and almost anything goes. First up was Ken Lewis who reached 50 inches with his Oldsmobile Cutlass. Next up was local Daniel Davis, who brought out his done-up '83 Euro-clip Caddy and ended up taking Second Place after hitting 54 inches and smashing the back bumper. Rob Robertson's Toyota hopper got stuck at 80 inches to claim the Radical Hop win.
Kicking of the popular car dancing categories was the Street Dance class. Frank Carralero got the proceedings underway by scoring 13 points with his Chevy Blazer. Rob Robertson then rang up 16 points with his Isuzu Amigo dancer to momentarily take the lead. Rodney Christensen has an entirely new attitude this year and he seems to be in Super Show mode already. Rodney's Hijacker Hydraulics-equipped Cutlass performed all of the required moves to earn 25 points and the class win.
There was a first time ever moment in the Radical Dance class, one that will go down in Lowrider Tour Hop history. First, Indiana native Rob Robertson returned with his new Indianapolis Colts tribute Blazer, which had a little more difficulty in Miami than the Colts players did against the Chicago Bears the previous weekend at the Super Bowl. The blue and white Blazer just barely managed the required time of 75 seconds. The 15-point score was enough to place but not to qualify for the Las Vegas Super Show.
Next up in the Radical Dance was six-year-old Keith "Lil' Flip" Christensen, who was escorted by his dad Rodney. After the ride was set up, Lil' Flip was allowed on the switch of the dancer, and with a little coaching, he did well and showed us that he had rhythm. When the 75 seconds were up, Lil' Flip had made a name for himself by being the youngest ever to flip a vehicle during a competition. Keith pretty much schooled his class and even qualified for Vegas as the T&D Customs Chevy truck earned 22 points.
Lil' Flip's crowd-pleasing performance capped the first Tour Hop of the year. The season got off to a good start in Miami and we'll have to see what the next show brings when the 30th Anniversary Tour continues in Phoenix, Arizona. We look forward to catching you there.