Trucks are as much a part of the Texas landscape as armadillos, bluebonnets and, wide open prairies. From highways to dirt roads, trucks are king of the Texas road so it’s no wonder that the truck market can be a highly competitive here in the lone star state. Such a robust truck market can be overwhelming for consumers, which is why every fall an organization of journalist called the Texas Auto Writer’s Association gathers once a year to crown one truck with a very prestige honor: Truck of Texas.
Like the super bowl for trucks, the Texas Auto Writers Association – or TAWA as their known – gathers all the major truck manufacturers together in one place, along with their chosen truck lineup, and automotive journalists are allowed to test drive each vehicle. TAWA calls the event The Truck Rodeo – an appropriate name considering that the event takes place over classic Texas terrain; namely the rocky hills and picturesque valleys of Texas’ hill country. Driving paths are coursed out over various elevations and road conditions as representations of what drivers can expect to encounter while in a truck. A slow climb up a boulder filled hill? Check. Steep drops over small streams? Check. Sharp cornering through fresh mud? You betcha.
The Truck Rodeo is unique in that not only do journalists have the opportunity to drive the latest innovation in truck technology over terrain that is meant to be driven in a truck, but they also get to experience that same ground in multiple vehicles from a range of truck classes. Side by side comparison is the result and its what the idea behind Truck Rodeo is all about. Over 60 automotive journalists and 100-plus manufacturer representatives from throughout the nation meet each year for this two-day evaluation and it’s not just trucks that get some love – many manufactures bring their latest SUV and crossover vehicles as well. Journalist rate each vehicle on a variety of scales, considering experiences like off-road capability, styling, consumer value and technological advancements.
At the end of the two-day event, votes are tallied and winners are announced. While Truck of Texas is the most sought after title, other vehicles are also recognized and awarded in one of the other 17 categories. For instance, last fall the 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was awarded the 2017 Mid-size Truck of Texas, for the second year in a row, while the 2017 Nissan Armada was named the SUV of Texas and the 2017 Volvo XC90 was named the CUV of Texas.
However, only one truck a year has what it takes to be the king and in the fall 2016 the coveted Truck of Texas was awarded to the 2017 Ford Super Duty.
“We are honored to win the ‘Truck of Texas’ award as it underscores how the all-new 2017 Ford Super Duty lineup are the toughest, smartest and most capable trucks we’ve ever built,” said Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group Marketing Manager. “This prestigious award from the Texas Auto Writer’s Association further solidifies Ford’s truck leadership in Texas, where F-series continues to be the best-selling truck and builds on our momentum as the top-selling truck in the United States for 39 consecutive years.”
The 2017 Ford Super Duty holds on to the Truck of Texas title until this coming fall when it competes to retain its crown and pass it on to a new champion. Interestingly, Truck Rodeo typically takes place during the same time period as the Texas Auto Show, so the Truck of Texas is announced while many of the very trucks represented in the evaluation are on display at the State Fair of Texas. This means that visiting the 2017 Texas Auto Show might very well be an opportunity to experience the 2018 Truck of Texas for yourself, up close and personal.