The results of the 2012 Texas Truck Rodeo are in and this year the Texas Auto Writers Association has bestowed top honors on the 2013 Ram 1500 along with the 2013 Buick Enclave and 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Air haulers notwithstanding
It’s no secret that I find the idea of an average family riding around in a heavily-optioned, leather-lined, extended cab four-by-four pickup truck to be the ultimate absurdity. The closest many of these “air haulers” will come to off-pavement is jumping a curb or clipping a well-manicured flower bed at the local shopping mall. But with the price of a gallon of gas again retreating to under $3.50, many urban cowboys are once again thinking of parking a pickup in front of their own suburban Ponderosas.
Texas is big. From Beaumont in the east to El Paso in the west it’s nearly 840 miles across primarily open prairie. That’s further than Salt Lake City to Los Angeles and only 50 miles short of the drive from Rome, Italy to Paris, France.
Texas is also big into oil drilling, oil refining, cattle ranching, farming and construction. Knowing that, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (although there are plenty at the Johnson Space Center south of Houston) to see why most pickup owners in Texas are serious about their trucks. Texans, in fact, are so big on trucks (it’s the biggest market in the U.S.) that 20 years ago, in 1992, the Texas Auto Writers Association founded its “Texas Truck Rodeo.”
As in the previous three years, the 2012 “Truck Rodeo” was held in October at the Knibbe Ranch, a Texas Century Heritage Ranch in the hill country outside San Antonio. For two days 50 members of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) drove more than 60 trucks and SUV’s in a true “working ranch” setting. Winners were then announced in the various categories, with the overall winner receiving a silver cup “traveling trophy” (held by Ford in 2012) along with the honor of being named the latest “Truck of Texas.”
According to TAWA Past President Harold Gunn, “‘ Truck of Texas’ is really the most important award of its type in the industry. We love trucks down here, and we really use these vehicles every day. And since we spend so much time in our vehicles, for us it’s not just about how the horse feels being towed, but how your butt feels sitting in the truck, too.”
Results of the 2012 Texas Truck Rodeo
Taking the crown away from Ford, a Ram truck took top honors as it did in 2011 – this year it went to the new 2013 Ram 1500. Ram was also named Truck Line of Texas for the first time in four years another Chrysler vehicle, the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee, took home “SUV of Texas” honors for the third year in a row.
Truck of Texas – 2013 Ram 1500
SUV of Texas – 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
CUV of Texas – 2013 Buick Enclave
Truck Line of Texas – Ram
Full-size sport utility vehicle: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Mid-size sport utility vehicle: 2013 Jeep Wrangler
Compact sport utility vehicle: 2013 Ford Escape
Full-size luxury sport utility vehicle: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit
Mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport
Full-size crossover utility vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia
Mid-size crossover utility vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain
Compact crossover utility vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Full-size luxury crossover utility vehicle: 2013 Buick Enclave
Mid-size luxury crossover utility vehicle: 2013 Cadillac SRX
Full-size pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500
Mid-size pickup truck: 2013 Toyota Tacoma
Luxury pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
Heavy-duty pickup truck: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Off-road truck: 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
“There are really no losers in this event,” said Michael Herzing, president of TAWA. “The big winners are the consumers of Texas, the No. 1 state in the nation for trucks and sport utility vehicles.”
But if you are keeping score (and Chrysler certainly is), of the 19 categories awarded, Chrysler captured 8 (including 3 major awards), General Motors snagged 6 (including 1 major award), Ford grabbed 4, Hyundai snatched 1, and Toyota hooked 1.