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All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department also can be reached through the Web site at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.
Reader: Your coverage of Top Truck Challenge this year was awful. In fact, it was an embarrassment. You had nearly as many pages telling us about the prizes as you did covering the event. For all of the hype and hoopla you propagated about this event, the coverage was a real let-down.
Just so you don't feel that I'm only criticizing you, I will point to the coverage of the event last year. Each event received its own page in the magazine complete with reports of how each competitor fared. This type of coverage really allows for us readers to follow the competition because, unlike you, we are not there. This is the type of coverage we loyal subscribers want. I realize that you cover the event through video and over the Internet, but there are still some of us who like to read (and look at pictures) in a concrete medium. I had to search just to find the final standings!.
Come on, guys. If you are going to hype this event like you do, then you need to deliver the goods. Thanks for hearing my complaint, and I hope you revert your format to the superior coverage from the previous year.
via the Internet
Reader: Waiting for the December '05 issue was almost too much. I couldn't wait to see what happened at Top Truck Challenge about the inevitable carnage. But then I opened up the cover and found some of what I believe is the shortest coverage I've seen. I don't know about other readers, but part of what draws me to TTC is reading about the rigs the month before and then finding out if what they have really works the next month. I want to hear about whose rig broke what, where, and the drama of the event.
You tell me that in the Tow Test, only one rig broke, but which one was it? Am I missing something? Then there is a spectacular pic of Josh Tippit's truck with the side of his bed smashed in. What happened? Most of us don't have TTC rigs, but we can dream about them and your magazine can throw us in to the drama. These competitors drove their rigs to the max, and I think it is owed to them and the readers to be told more of their story.
You got me-I'm gonna buy the video to see more. But the amount of time I spend with the video is nothing compared to the amount of time I spend with back issues of your magazine. It looks like Tippit destroyed his truck out there-yeah, you give him the cover shot and show his carnage, but your description of what happened is already explained by the picture itself. I was glad to see more pictures on your Web site, but again, where is the coverage? Where is the written description? How did those PTO winches work? What about the waterproofing? Do we all need to upgrade to Rockwells, or did the guys with lesser axles do just fine? Tell me more.
via the Internet
Reader: Boy, you guys blew it. This year's TTC coverage just plain sucked. Great action, terrible story. Sorry, Ken, but I think you left for Montana before TTC even started. No play-by-play, just blah-blah-blah about each event. So I guess I have to buy the video, huh? Sorry guys, but I subscribed to a magazine, not a video club or a sales brochure.
Which brings me to my last point: Not one Nissan was voted in, but there's one in almost every picture. You guys even made the competitors wear the hats! Sorry, but your tribute to corporate sponsorship started on page 38 and ended when I puked in the margin. Get back to writing for the reader, or cancel my subscription.
via the Internet
Editor: How did the PTOs work? Great, so long as your engine's running. Waterproofing? Yeah, you need it. Rockwells? Well, last year's champion-who won by the biggest margin ever-runs plain ol' Dana 60s (OK, plain ol' Dynatrac 60s). Who broke in the Tow Test? What happened in the Tank Trap? Check out the Top Truck DVD! Which leads to the issues raised here:
Yes, we did significantly revise our coverage of TTC in the magazine this year. The reason for this was simple: With the expanded, in-depth exposure of Top Truck we now provide year-round via the Web site, the DVD, and our Four Wheeler TV series, it simply doesn't make sense for us to sacrifice a lot of increasingly valuable pages in the magazine to depict the kinds of action and carnage that are done better, more compellingly, and in greater detail by other available media.
One of the things that we can do better than video, though, is provide an up-close look at the technology and engineering that go into any given vehicle. We'd never done this before in relation to Top Truck, but we thought that a detailed and lengthy feature treatment of Jerry Duffy's winning Scrambler might help answer a question we're often asked, namely: "What does it take to build a winning TTC rig?"
About sponsorship: Sad but true, it takes money to hold an event like TTC (you ought to see our insurance premiums), and to produce the DVD and episodes of the TV series. We could always raise the price of your subscription to cover the costs, but we think it's more prudent to go the sponsorship route. Product placement? Sure, we do it ... and if you want to sign up as a sponsor next year, we'll put your picture on every page too.
Bottom line, we're never going to abandon Top Truck coverage altogether in these pages, but nowadays, with the growing popularity of digital media, let's just say we'll be doing things a little differently in the future. And for those of you who are still mad, don't blame Brubaker-he's not the boss.