Big Trucks in the Lonestar State – a Recap of the Texas Truck Rodeo

This is a guest post courtesy of Nic Phillips, President, Texas Auto Writers Association

If you think trucks are a BIG deal in Texas you should know that the coveted title of “The Truck of Texas” is almost as big as the state itself.

The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) gathered in Dripping Springs, Texas for the 26th annual Texas Truck Rodeo where more than 70 journalists named the 2017 Ford Super Duty the 2017 “Truck of Texas.”


It is the growth of the truck market that inspired the Texas Auto Writers Association to create the Texas Truck Rodeo.  This unique event pairs journalists directly with truck manufacturers, who many times ride shotgun to talk about the features of their vehicle. The journalists spend two days driving as many trucks as they can. This year, manufacturers brought in more than 71 vehicles valued at nearly $4 million. These vehicles were evaluated in 17 categories.

The TAWA Truck Rodeo that was held in the scenic Texas Hill Country and is sponsored by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI).  TAWA members were able to evaluate vehicles both on and off-road while climbing rocks, crossing creeks and dodging exotic wildlife. Longhorn River Ranch was an ideal location for hosting this event, the nearly 1,650 acre ranch boasted picturesque hilltops, ample rich bottom land and vibrant creeks.

LongHorn Ranch

LongHorn Ranch

It is through partnerships with groups such as SMDI that organizations such as the Texas Auto Writers Association are able to learn more about the inside of the automotive industry.  This type of opportunity provides additional membership value in the form of expanding educational opportunities.  Members learn more about the products on the market, which also enhances their capabilities and hopefully will lead to more opportunities in the automotive journalist market place.

“Steel remains the fastest growing material in automotive applications and the North American steel industry continues to develop new grades and advanced manufacturing technologies to respond to the changing needs of automakers, as it is an important material in the designer’s toolbox,” said Dr. Jody Hall, vice president, automotive for SMDI.

Nissan Armadas

Nissan Armadas

Other noteworthy wins were the SUV of Texas, the 2017 Nissan Armada built with a steel frame. The CUV of Texas, the 2017 Volvo XC90, steel intensive with the use of ultra-high strength (boron) steel in the safety cage. Best Commercial vehicle, the 2017 Nissan Titan XD Single Cab which features 58 percent high and advanced high-strength steel in its body structure. Luxury Pickup truck, the 2017 Ram 1500 with a ladder-type frame, steel cab, and double-wall steel pickup box. Full-Size Pickup, the 2017 Nissan Titan built with a reinforced steel-frame structure that helps maintain the integrity of the passenger compartment, while crumple zones absorb crash energy.

The Texas Auto Writers Association, Inc., is a non-profit organization providing growth, development, and networking opportunities for media members, as well as providing scholarships for journalism majors in the State of Texas education system.   

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