Texas Heat Wave’s 30th Anniversary
THE FIRE THAT WON’T GO OUT
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.