The hot summer sun penetrated every inch of Phoenix's Fairplex campus, the home of the biggest truck jamboree in the west. It was only 11:15 a.m. and still we found ourselves huddling next to awe-struck attendees, crammed amidst the shadow of a monstrous white Jeep Scrambler on 49-inch Iroks. Dodging direct sunlight wasn't an easy game at this show because every direction we turned, a custom vehicle beckoned, requiring several minutes of inspection to digest. Amazed by the sheer numbers of tricked-out fullsize trucks on display, we simply accepted our fate and gave into the reality that our vanilla-colored skin would likely resemble the deep red hues of Arizona's stunning sunsets by days end.
Local residents and shop owners were responsible for most of the rigs featured at the Arizona 4x4 Nationals, held each October in Phoenix. As such, it never ceases to amaze us how many purpose-built show trucks come out of the woodwork for this event each year. Everything from slammed K-5s on big-blingin' wheels to full-blown race-prepped Trophy Trucks could be found on display for the masses to enjoy. Tons of product vendors were on hand to show off their newest gadgets and whiz-bang devices, while at least a dozen attractive young ladies strutted their stuff during each day's bikini competition. The weekend schedule featured various forms of competition ranging from diesel drag racing to rockcrawling to a monster truck freestyle showdown. As if those events were not enough, there was also a ride-and-drive arena, sponsored by GM, where attendees could get behind the wheel of brand-new GM vehicles and take several passes on a man-made obstacle course.
All in all, the 4x4 Nationals made for a thoroughly entertaining weekend, our only words of advice for next year are: Don't forget sunscreen.