Planning a large show is no easy task. There are many outside factors that you don’t have any control over. Pandemics. Weather. Trying to coordinate vendors, hotels, merchandise, site planning, and staff is just the beginning. Like many events, this year’s Battle in Bama was not immune to these outside factors. With many shows postponed or canceled, Craig Rowley was able to dodge multiple hurricanes and a Covid-forced reschedule.
This event is usually in early May, when the weather is nice and you can leave the baby powder at home. In 2020, it was moved to Labor Day weekend in September, which in itself is a big risk. Having shows on a holiday weekend are typically not your first choice, but Craig and his team made the right call. Not only did the weather cooperate, but people were itching to get out and go to a show.
I made the trek from Ohio a few days before so we could make a family vacation out of it. Getting to the beach was something we had wanted to do all summer while we were on lock down. I was there early on Friday and had a chance to ride around with Craig while he was doing the last minute prep and answering the radio calls from staff.
For those of you that have never been to the show, Battle in Bama started as an all-vehicle event that is now a truck show within that show. It’s held at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama, right on the gulf coast, so the setting is great and you can taste the sea. Friday had a solid turnout with trucks from all over the south, from the Carolinas to Texas. Saturday also had great weather and the turnout didn’t disappoint.
One unique feature of Battle in Bama is their Million Dollar Row. It highlights the best of the best in truck builds. It’s a prestigious and elite group to be in and they are hand selected by Craig himself. We go to a lot of shows, and see a lot of trucks, but this was one of the nicer collections that we have seen, and there were many flavors, something for everyone. It was impressive.
I’m a northern boy, born and raised, and we don’t have humidity like they do in late summer down on the gulf in the sunbelt states. It was hot and humid. You could feel the sun sucking the moisture out of the ground. As I looked out over the shine of hundreds of trucks glimmering off the bright sun, I noticed there were lots of popup tents and some trees scatted throughout. One large group of trees was out by Million Dollar Row, so I decided to head that direction to take a break in the shade.
Once I got over to the group of trees I felt a little like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. But instead of the tin man and lion, I found Squarebodies and C10s. Outside the trees, there were even more trucks, or what Craig calls C10s of the South. Jackpot. This is what we had heard about and it’s why we came. One of the largest gatherings of C10s in the southeast. It was a bit overwhelming at first, there were so many trucks! As I started to cruise through and click some of the highlights, I started to get asked, “Will this be in a magazine?” That started conversations with many people that seemed to be some of the friendliest that I had met in a while. Southern hospitality, I suppose.
The atmosphere was great. There were families, couples, lawn chairs, and trucks. Lots of them. I felt at home with this group of people. We all love our trucks, our hobby. In strange days like this when we are supposed to stay six feet apart, I felt we were all a bit closer. Everyone was out doing what they enjoy. Hanging with friends, talking trucks, sharing stories, and just enjoying the moment.
In 2021 Battle in Bama is scheduled to be back on its usual dates, April 30-May 2. That’s a short turn for Craig and his crew, but I expect an even better turnout. It seems like it’s just around the corner.
We hope you were able to make the most of this summer with the limited shows. We also hope to see all of you in 2021. No matter what’s going on out of our control, we can always count on getting behind the wheel of our truck and forgetting about life for a while. See you down the road!