It was hard to build the magazine, but I had a great anchor in Dina Loya. I remember going to the South Gate show and there were a few Lowriders, but the majority of that show featured Hot Rods at the time. We would go to all the Chicano and Gringo shows from San Jose to Indio in Southern California. Then one year, we wanted to make an impact, so we did SEMA, I remember we had a 10x20 - just enough space to fit in a car and a table and banners. By 1995, we had our own semi on the SEMA floor and people had taken notice of us. The people couldn't believe the Chicanos were strong.
By then, we were accepted by mainstream America - it was like when you listen to rap, you know it was a black culture we accepted and took it for what it is. Lowriding was a Chicano trend or lifestyle that was accepted by different cultures, but we never changed it. We had the Raza Report, I never took out what made us. I never took out Chicano Primero; our mentality was 'take it or leave it.' That's why all the Chicanos and Hispanic community wanted to be part of it, since it was something that gave us pride.
I'm sure it has lost a little flavor since it went corporate, but not much. I think for this magazine to survive it needed to go corporate. If I still had it, it might not be around because of today's distribution and the internet. Realistically, the distribution companies would have killed the book. For me, it was time to step back, I was able to go nationally even international, producing a quality magazine that we would put out monthly with pride.
I'm really proud of what I did for Lowriding. I was able to establish a positive image for the culture. We took it out of the barrios where our roots began, and we were lucky enough to go international. It was taken to a new level from where Sonny had it because I was fortunate enough to learn from his mistakes. You know, I could honestly say I had a great run in my era.
This mentality of creating a quality magazine that stood out from the rest earned Alberto Lopez this visionary award.