Texas Heat Wave’s 30th An­niver­sary

THE FIRE THAT WON’T GO OUT

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - WORDS BY JOHN MATA JR. PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY TEXAS HEAT WAVE ARCHIVE

The Fire That Won’t Go Out

IF YOU EVEN PARTLY FOL­LOW THE CUS­TOM TRUCK SHOW SCENE, YOU MUST’VE HEARD ABOUT TEXAS HEAT WAVE AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE. Pound for pound, it is in a class of car shows that reaches way fur­ther than your av­er­age week­end show ‘n shine. Heat Wave has reached epic pro­por­tions, as it is now known as a huge an­nual cus­tom au­to­mo­tive ex­trav­a­ganza mixed with a full-blown tat­too expo. It even car­ries some se­ri­ous weight in the live entertainment arena, too. If you haven’t been, you’re re­ally miss­ing out on a very unique “car show” ex­pe­ri­ence like no other.

Of course, a show of this size didn’t start out this way. Texas Heat Wave has taken a long time—30 years to be pre­cise—to grow into what it is to­day. The main Heat Wave show that takes place in Austin is the orig­i­nal show that has been a sta­ple event in the cus­tom car and truck cir­cuit since 1990. Presently, there are numer­ous af­fil­i­ated Heat Wave brand events all across the state of Texas that all have their own in­di­vid­ual fla­vor. South Padre Is­land (Spring Break Jam), Hous­ton (Texas Show­down), Cor­pus Christi (Heat Wave Auto Fest) and the Rio Grand Val­ley

(Bor­der Bash) are all of­fi­cial Heat Wave branded shows that draw the best of the best from within the state, as well as the rest of the coun­try. Back in the day, how­ever, there was only the one show that started it all, and it re­quired a cal­cu­lated ef­fort to get that one go­ing.

The Heat Wave show it­self sprung from the void of “Cal­i­for­nia style” truck shows in Texas. Back then the West Coast was where the rest of the coun­try looked for in­spi­ra­tion, whether it be for truck builds and truck events. Cal­i­for­nia seemed to have a lock on the grav­i­ta­tional pull of the cus­tom truck scene in the 80s and into the 90s but that all changed when David Macdon­ald, founder of the Heat Wave mad­ness, acted on his in­spi­ra­tion to bring his take on throw­ing a car show in Texas to match those be­ing held on the West.

David, along with a group of friends in the mini-truck club scene in Texas, be­gan weigh­ing out pos­si­ble venues at mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions around the Austin area that could serve as the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for their big car and truck show. The guys knew they wanted their event to take place in the sum­mer since that’s when show sea­son is in full swing, but at that point the show was still just a blob of an idea with­out a name. The guys soon found a place that could fa­cil­i­tate a large crowd along with their ve­hi­cles smack dab in the mid­dle of sum­mer.

Old Set­tler’s Park in Round Rock, Texas, be­came the show’s first home. The dates were July 28-19, 1990. Heat Wave was a name as good as any, and worked dou­ble duty as it played on the “hot” cars that would be show­ing up in the ac­tual in­ferno-like weather of sum­mer. For any­one who lives in or has vis­ited Texas in July knows that triple-digit tem­per­a­tures are the norm, so it was a fit­ting name for the event. The first show was a big suc­cess, which led to plan­ning of an­nual Heat Wave events for the next 30 years. There might not have been any idea that sin­gle show would’ve blown up into what it is now three decades later, but Heat Wave re­ally has served as a back­bone in the cus­tom truck scene all th­ese years.

In all his wildest dreams, David Macdon­ald prob­a­bly wouldn’t have guessed that he would still be pro­mot­ing car shows in 2019—and mak­ing a de­cent liv­ing from it at that. Willingly or not, David and his many trusted as­so­ciates have changed the way auto en­thu­si­asts ex­pe­ri­ence their cul­ture. By rec­og­niz­ing the fact that car guys like other things be­sides cars, and ca­ter­ing to those in­ter­ests, the Heat Wave event has gained a huge fol­low­ing who come for the cars, the art, the mu­sic, and stay for the op­por­tu­nity to see some­thing new in the other many events the show of­fers.

As Street Trucks cel­e­brates its

20th year on the news­stands and in mail­boxes all over the globe, we’d like to rec­og­nize the play­ers in the scene that con­stantly give us some­thing to write about. Con­grat­u­la­tions to David Macdon­ald and the en­tire Heat Wave Inc. crew. Thank you for the com­mit­ment over the last 30 years— we’re look­ing for­ward to what the next 30 will bring.

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