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  • Monday, November 27, 2023 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Excellence in Craft Competition and Texas Truck Invitational.

    Launched in 2007, The Texas Auto Writers Association Excellence in Craft Competition has moved forward with the goal of featuring, recognizing and encouraging excellence in automotive journalism and content creation. Together with the Texas Truck Invitational competition, TAWA invites members along with non-members from around the globe to enter their works in exclusive categories related exclusively to truck and truck-adjacent writing.

    "Once again, the entries displayed a cross-section of the best in automotive journalism and were both consistently of a high quality and impressive in their competitive categories" said Teia Collier, President. "TAWA offers our thanks to all our judges for sharing their time and energy reading, watching and listening to the submissions entered in this year’s competition."

    Thank you to Kristin Shaw for facilitating, Daryl Killian, Kevin McCarthy, Jaime Florez, Steven Cole Smith, Harvey Briggs, Jason Fogelson, Jared Rosenholtz, Amelia Dalgaard and Chris Teague for their assistance with judging the dynamic entries.

    2023 Awardees: 

    PHOTOGRAPHY 

    3rd: Sean Tajipour (Jeep Gladiator) 

    JUDGE: An inviting scene that highlights what makes the Gladiator unique.  

    2nd: Jill Ciminillo (Ioniq 6) 

    JUDGE: Beautiful tones of gray and blue throughout the image — a great combination of subject and setting.

    1st: One Off productions (Kia Stinger) 

    JUDGE: Falling leaves, low perspective, and canopy of trees give a great sense of speed.

    PODCAST

    3. GT Garage Talk: Racing for a Cause with Bryant Blakemore

    2. AutoNetwork Reports: Inside the Modern Car Industry  

    1. In Wheel Time: Solar Car Challenge.

    JUDGE: I chose this "In Wheel Time Car Talk" podcast for a couple of reasons. First the topic is timely and much needed for the industry and for the opportunity that the program offers for the future generations. Also, it's a testament to the effort involved in editing down a Live radio show to an interesting podcast.

    RADIO 

    2. In Wheel Time: So, what is holding Americans back from widespread EV adoption?

    1. The Car Pro Radio Show: Randy Parker Interview (Hyundai)

    JUDGE: Very nice interview with the right person, entertaining and informative, about a brand that has been conquering more and more happy customers every year, not only in the US, but also in the rest of the world, due to their ability to bring to the market innovative and high-quality products.

    VIDEO 

    3. 1 Off Productions  

    2. The Fast Lane Truck

    1.  GT Premium Reviews

    JUDGE: I had never seen this reviewer before, but the cinematography is excellent with great music and editing at the opening. This is a very polished product.

    SOCIAL MEDIA 

    3. WHM Automotive Media (Sean Tajipour): Nissan Z

    2. Raiti’s Rides: Ford Mustang GT

    1. Crankshaft Culture: Alcan Rally

    JUDGE: The quality of this real is excellent, as is the copy. It really gives the viewer a sense of the pleasure and the pain of such an adventure.

    WRITING: FEATURE

    3. Ricardo Rodriguez-Long: Hopes of Argentina

    2. Mercedes Lilienthal: 10 States, 2,400 Miles and More Than 100 Classic Cars

    1. Holli Fourniquet: Celebrating Black History Month with The Custom Truckers Car Club

    JUDGE: A wonderful feel-good story about an African-American truck club that does more than show off its ’55 -’59 Chevy Task Force pickups – it does good in the community.

    WRITING: REVIEW

    3. Cory Fourniquet: 2023 Chrysler Pacifica eHybrid Pinnacle: Better than a Telluride or Tahoe?

    2. Mercedes Lilienthal: First Drive: Production-Ready INEOS Grenadier 4×4

    1. Jim Nelson: Genesis G80

    JUDGE: Jim's review of the Genesis G80 balanced key facts with an assessment of features and drivability in a way that made the review engaging and easy to read.

    TEXAS TRUCK INVITATIONAL: FEATURE

    2. Holli Fourniquet: Celebrating Black History Month with The Custom Truckers Car Club

    1. Mercedes Lilienthal: From The Driver’s Seat: 2022 Rebelle Rally – A Journey And Adventure

    JUDGE: Mercedes’ recap of the 2022 Rebelle Rally was thorough and engaging. I felt as though I were there!

    TEXAS TRUCK INVITATIONAL: REVIEW

    3: Cory Fourniquet: 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R: Better than the Ram TRX in Many Ways

    2. David Boldt: RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD 6.2

    1. Mercedes Lilienthal: His and Hers Mitsubishi Pajeros

    JUDGE: This quirky vehicle deserves its time in the spotlight, and Mercedes and Andy did a fantastic job teaching us about it.

     

    TEXAS TRUCK INVITATIONAL 

    TOP PICK:

    Mercedes and Andy Lilienthal: His and Hers Mitsubishi Pajeros


    Congratulations to all of this year's winners, and we look forward to seeing more fantastic content from our community.

     



  • Monday, November 06, 2023 7:13 PM | Anonymous

    Automotive journalists from around the country joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in Decatur, Texas for the 2024 Texas Truck Rodeo to name the Vehicles of Texas. Held at the spectacular Eagles Canyon Raceway on September 28-29, 2023, 32 automotive media and content creators tested a cross-section of the most capable vehicles on the market.   


    Image Credit: 1Off Productions

    On-road and on a closed off-road course, TAWA members evaluated vehicles based on their interior, exterior, value, performance and overall personal appeal. Attendees rated 28 vehicles from automakers including Acura, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Mazda, Nissan, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, Polaris, Volkswagen and Wagoneer. The Texas Truck Rodeo provides a unique opportunity for the media members of the TAWA to create stories, content and evaluate trucks, SUVs and crossovers side-by-side and consecutively on the same roads and off-road course for an accurate assessment. 

    Once the testing is complete, the votes will be collected digitally and tallied by a third-party accounting firm to be presented and crown the upcoming model year’s Vehicles of Texas. This year, the title awards are Truck of Texas and Sport Utility Vehicle of Texas. An additional 12 category awards, two feature-based awards and 5 calculated merit awards will also be awarded by TAWA’s Member Journalists.

     “The Texas Auto Writers Association would like to thank all of our members and congratulate all of our partners for joining us first at the State Fair of Texas and then at this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo. It’s a special experience, and we are delighted to honor the title and category winners of this year’s Rodeo,” said TAWA President Teia Collier. “To experience these world-class vehicles on the dynamic course at Eagles Canyon Raceway is an exciting opportunity to see what these legendary machines can do.” 



    About the Texas Auto Writers Association Texas Truck Rodeo

    The Texas Auto Writers Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 by automotive journalists who wanted to provide an avenue for professional growth, development, and networking. These media professionals sought to create an automotive event that was unique to Texas, and as a result the TAWA Truck Rodeo was created. Since 1993, Truck Rodeos have been held in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Granbury, Spring Branch, Dripping Springs, Bee Cave and most recently at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur, Texas.

    In 2003, TAWA created an event for sedans, sports cars and other vehicles not eligible for the Truck Rodeo. The event as it is called today is the Texas Auto Roundup. For more information, visit www.texasautowriters.org.



  • Monday, November 06, 2023 5:14 PM | Anonymous

    Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) members joined the team at Toyota Gulf States for an intimate preview and test drive of the 2024 Grand Highlander in Houston, Texas.


    While there, TAWA members partook in a full product briefing of the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander with exclusive test drives of the all-new Prius, the Prius Prime, the all-electric bZ4X and the new Crown. These offers stand tall as representatives of Toyota's strategic and steady progress toward "beyond zero" carbon neutrality in manufacturing and production. 

    Members also toured the Houston-area facilities at Toyota North America and test drove each of the three powertrains of the all-new Grand Highlander. Designed to provide a well-balanced, efficient experience across all-three grades, the Grand Highlander proved it is a long haul, three-row SUV worth waiting for.

    Available as a 2.L Turbo Gas engine, a 2.5L Hybrid and the performance-minded 2.4L 4-cylinder Hybrid Max, there is an option for every buyer seeking a vehicle that fits their budget and size-wise between the award-winning Sequoia and the beloved classic Highlander. In the first-ever Grand Highlander, drivers will have the benefit of three terrain-specific drive modes for more on and off-road capability as well as a generous suite of safety and support features. All combined, regardless of grade, the 2024 Grand Highlander is an impressive package suited to wherever the road takes you.


    "We would like to thank Toyota for granting our members time and space to experience the first-ever Grand Highlander and the other forward-thinking vehicles from Toyota. They are important steps along the road to carbon neutrality and still meeting the needs of our readers." said Teia Collier, President, Texas Auto Writers Association.

    For more information on the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, visit here.





    About Toyota:

    Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our nearly 1,500 dealerships. 

    Toyota directly employs more than 39,000 people in the U.S. who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of more than 33 million cars and trucks at our nine manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 10th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 22 electrified options. 

    To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched its virtual education hub at www.TourToyota.com with an immersive experience and chance to virtually visit many of our U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more. For more information about Toyota, visit www.ToyotaNewsroom.com.

    About TAWA:

    Founded in 1987, the Texas Auto Writers Association has grown to become one of the most recognized and reputable automotive media organizations in the industry. TAWA’s mission is to promote quality and accuracy in automotive content creation and to disseminate information about the automotive industry through news-related print, online and broadcast media. 



  • Tuesday, December 06, 2022 8:18 PM | Anonymous

    December 6, 2022 - The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Excellence in Craft Competition and Texas Truck Invitational.

    The Texas Auto Writers Association launched the Excellence in Craft Competition in 2007, the with the goal of recognizing and encouraging excellence in automotive journalism. In tandem, the Texas Truck Invitational competition invites TAWA members, along with non-members worldwide, to enter their works in exclusive truck-writing categories.

    Once again, the entries were high quality and impressive. A big thanks to all our judges for spending time reading, watching, and listening to all of this great work: Daryl Killian, Kevin McCarthy, Jaime Florez, Steven Cole Smith, Harvey Briggs, Jason Fogelson, Jared Rosenholtz, Amelia Dalgaard, and Chris Teague. 

    EICC

    Writing: Feature category

    • 1st: Elizabeth Blackstock

    • 2nd: Mercedes Lilienthal 
    • 3rd: Kristin Shaw

    1st place, Elizabeth Blackstock wowed the judges with “The Motorsport World Owes Cheryl Linn Glass, The First Black Woman of Racing, A Place in History” at Jalopnik. Our judges applauded Elizabeth’s solid journalism and storytelling, saying this is “a heartbreaking story of unfulfilled potential and a mysterious ending. Wonderful work with appeal beyond the world of motorsports.”

    2nd place goes to Mercedes Lilienthal with “Electric Realization: The Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Successfully Finishes The 2021 Rebelle Rally” for Forbes. Lilienthal told the story of the rally while still giving a review and evaluation of the ID.4 for the everyday buyer, which is not an easy task,” one judge said. “She lays out the issues with EV acceptance, proposes solutions, and makes the Rally seem like a worthy challenge.” 

    In 3rd place, it’s “Dad’s 1966 Corvette Is the One That Got Away – So I Brought Him a C8 for Father’s Day” by Kristin Shaw. One judge said: “A lovely story about a grown daughter’s gift to her father – a taste of his youth in the form of a new Corvette. Beautifully written with heart and emotion, but still manages to sneak in enough information about the C8 Corvette, along with the writer’s dad’s unique history with cars, to be a smile-inducing journey.”

    Writing: Reviews

    • 1st: Mercedes Lilienthal

    • 2nd: Jesus Garcia
    • 3rd: Phillip Morales

    1st place Mercedes Lilienthal picks up another award, this time for Tread magazine with her review she called “VW ID.4 Tackles the Rebelle Rally.” This epic article earned a 10-page spread alongside Mercedes’ beautiful photography. Would an all-wheel-drive Volkswagen ID.4 EV survive 1,400 miles of challenging terrain in the southwestern U.S. desert? Never backing away from a challenge, Mercedes embraced the opportunity. Not only does this in-depth Tread magazine vehicle review showcase stats and specs of the newly released customized ID.4 EV, but it features an intimate view of a brave new world: EV off-roading.

    2nd place is Jesus Garcia with his fun piece “Testing A Ford Expedition Limited Max By Working As A Roadie For A Mariachi Band” for Imboldn. Dubbed “the roadie test,” for one weekend, the Ford Expedition became the mariachi express as it raced through the city from gig to gig with band and gear in tow.   

    Taking 3rd place, Phillip Morales, who wrote “We’ll Always Have Paris: A Review of the 2022 Acura MDX” for his site DadDriver.com. “While not a traditional automotive review, this piece is an ideal representation of my writing style and my approach to storytelling,” Phillip told us. “Automobile reviews come in a variety of forms and with this piece, I wanted to contribute to that ever expanding genre using my love of film and novels as a basis for sharing my experience with this vehicle.” 

    RADIO

    • 1st: Jerry Reynolds, The CarPro Show

    • 2nd:  Michael Marrs, In Wheel Time
    • 3rd: Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, Garage Latino

    1st place: Jerry Reynolds with The Car Pro Unplugged. Jerry took on the unpopular topic of car dealers charging over window sticker price for short-in-supply cars, and he challenged Ford and General Motors for threatening their dealers instead of letting the free market set prices.

    2nd place: Michael Marrs submitted a solid entry with Moving to EVs - What Does it Take? on his show In Wheel Time. This episode takes an 'outsider' look at what it takes to collect the data and actually move to an EV society, and Lisa Whalen with Morning Consult shared how data is being used to move us forward.

    3rd place:  Ricardo Rodriguez-Long and his weekly show “Garage Latino” on BLeav.com. Ricardo covers EV news, a four-door corvette, a Ram EV, and the news that Ford has changed its plan and it may do without dealers in the future. Can this really happen? Ricardo investigates. 

    PODCAST

    • 1st: Bill Owney

    • 2nd: David Boldt
    • 3rd: Michael Marrs

    1st place goes to Bill Owney and his co-host Karl Richter with a discussion about the current car market, the future of EVs, how to cut your fuel bill, the new vehicles they love, and much more.

    The 2nd spot is occupied by David Boldt along with colleagues Roosevelt Gist, Greg Morrison, and Chris Lawrence. The AUTONETWORK REPORTS podcast celebrates Black History Month in 2022 with special guest Ed Lewis, Director of Toyota's Public Policy Communications at Toyota. 

    Placing 3rd   it’s Michael Marrs in the podcast category with his episode called “Cat attack? Catalytic converter theft on the rise!” for his show In Wheel Time. During his show, Michael interviewed automotive journalist Jeff Yip for a look at the increase in automobile catalytic converter theft and the reasons why.

    VIDEO

    • 1st: Roman Mica TFL Studios

    • 2nd: Jennifer Jensen
    • 3rd: Tim Esterdahl

    In 1st place, it’s Roman Mica and his TFL Studios crew with “Easy Part Is Over: Driving an EV Truck Into the Alaskan Wilderness Is HARDER Than We Thought!” In this video, the team takes their Ford F-150 Lightning 3,500 miles from Boulder, Colorado up through the west side of Canada all the way to Dead Horse, Alaska. Driving an electric truck in the Northern wilderness turns out to be no joke! Don’t miss it. 

    Jennifer Jensen, our 2nd place winner, submitted a fascinating video called “Tanks” for her channel Auto Exotica TV. Jennifer says this video is much different than her regular episodes. “This one was a hoot to film and create though the conditions were less than ideal,” she said. “Ambient temperatures soared over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while inside the tanks it was MUCH hotter. There were multiple issues with the hardware that day and we literally had one day on location to film. This episode showcases tanks in a way most automotive TV shows don't...what they are actually built for.” 

    In 3rd place, Tim Esterdahl earned a podium spot with the video “Tundra vs  Tacoma:TRD Pro Off-Road Battle!” on his channel Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk. In this video, Tim and Phillip Van der Vossen hit the trails of Colorado in the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and 2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro in order to decide which one is better off-road. While there are some definite similarities between these two trucks, Tim and Phillip found there are plenty of differences as well. Air down those tires and enjoy the ride when you watch these TRD Pro Trucks on an epic off-road adventure!

    PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 1st: Chris Collard

    • 2nd: Jennifer Jensen
    • 3rd: Sean Tajipour

    In 1st place, the talented Chris Collard took our judges’ breath away with a Ram Rebel under the Aurora Borealis. One judge called it “an amazing capture in an incredible setting” and it is truly otherworldly in its beauty. 

    2nd place goes to Jennifer Jensen and her snapshot “Nighttime Droptop” depicting an Aston Martin Vantage Roadster near Orlando for an issue of Auto Exotica magazine. None of the roads were particularly appealing, she said, but her night shoot highlights the curves of the Vantage and accentuates its open-top features. 

    Sean Tajipour takes 3rd place for his photo “EV Liftoff”, a stunning composition of a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT in Grabber Blue Metallic next to a rocketship. 

    SOCIAL MEDIA

    1st place: Joe and Lori Raiti, Raiti's Rides and their 2023 Toyota GR Corolla social media campaign.  LINK

    2nd: Cory Fourniquet and his creative video work on minivan trick features. Cory had some fun with this, highlighting the under appreciated minivan category. LINK

    This year, 3rd place is a tie between two worthy members: Jennifer Jensen with her TikTok coverage of the Ford F-150 Tremor and Sean Tajipour lighting up the internet with his Nissan Z content. 

    TEXAS TRUCK INVITATIONAL

    Writing: Features

    • 1st: Kristin Shaw

    • 2nd: Kathy Locke
    • 3rd: Mercedes Lilienthal
    The 1st place trophy in this category goes to Kristin Shaw with “I’m Competing in a 1,500-Mile Off-Road Rally With a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz” for The Drive. One judge said, “Kristin Shaw’s account of getting ready for the Rebelle Rally – an event that continues to generate good copy – was fun to read and moved along as quickly as a Rebelle entry.”

    2nd place goes to Kathy Locke with “Baby Trophy Truck” in Toyota Cruisers and Trucks magazine. This story is about Kathy and her friend Josh’s 1981 Toyota pickup that he purchased to compete in King of the Hammers. It's about his love for the history of the truck and the perils of getting it back into race condition for its second chance at race life.

    In 3rd, the judges again recognized Mercedes Lilienthal for her excellent work on ”Electric Realization: The Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Successfully Finishes The 2021 Rebelle Rally” for Forbes. This feature documented intricate details of how the AWD ID.4 handled and how Mercedes utilized her driving skills to bring it across the finish line eight days later. She covers EV off-roading challenges and what mini-rallies her team facedy. In the end, her team made history as the first-ever full EV to successfully finish the grueling traditional navigation rally in the X-Cross class. 

    Writing: Reviews

    • 1st: David Boldt

    • 2nd: Kristin Shaw
    • 3rd: Bill Owney

    Taking 1st place is David Boldt with “GOOD LORD! Land Rover’s Defender 90 V8” at TxGarage.com. One judge said David Boldt’s winning test drive was clever and informative – and there wasn’t a poorly written story in the bunch. Historical and whimsical with a sprinkling of personal touches, David’s review earned a top spot. 

    In 2nd, it’s Kristin Shaw wrote “Bronco Everglades: Snorkel and Winch Included” for GearJunkie. “I had a chance to put the Bronco Everglades to the test in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, complete with deep water fording, winching, and rock crawling,” Kristin told us. “And lots of bugs.”

    Earning a 3rd place award is Bill Owney with The 2021 Ford Raptor is the Corvette of Pickup Trucks,” which he wrote for the Texarkana Gazette. 

    Overall Texas Truck Invitational Winner

    Kristin Shaw with “I’m Competing in a 1,500-Mile Off-Road Rally With a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz.”

    Congratulations to all of this year's 2022 EICC and Texas Truck Invitational winners! 

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Decatur, TX –November 1, 2022 – The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) is pleased to announce the award winners of the 2023 TAWA Texas Truck Rodeo. This year’s event was held in Decatur, Texas at the spectacular Eagles Canyon Raceway. The awards were announced in partnership with the Houston Auto Show on November 1, 2022 at 3:00pm Central Standard Time.

    Automotive journalists from across the state tested a cross-section of the world’s most capable vehicles at this year’s event held on October 3-4, 2022. TAWA members evaluated vehicles based on their interior, exterior, value, performance and overall personal appeal. This year’s attendees rated vehicles from automakers including Acura, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen and Wagoneer. 

    This year the title award categories were Truck of Texas and Sport Utility Vehicle of Texas. An additional 11 category awards, one feature-based award and 5 calculated merit awards were also awarded by TAWA’s Member Journalists.   

    “The Texas Auto Writers Association thanks and congratulates all automotive members and partners for joining us for this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo. We are delighted to give special congratulations to the title and category winners of the 2023 Texas Truck Rodeo,” said TAWA President Teia Collier. “To experience and put these world-class vehicles through their paces at Eagles Canyon Raceway is a rugged opportunity to see what these legendary machines can do.” 

    The Ram 1500 was named the 2023 Truck of Texas and serves as a reminder of Texas’ love and appreciation of a capable, full-size pickup truck. The all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia was named the 2023 Sport Utility Vehicle of Texas.

    QUOTE FROM RAM:

    “Texas is the world’s largest pickup truck market so Ram 1500 winning the Truck of Texas title is truly a significant accomplishment,” said Mike Koval Jr., Ram brand CEO. “The Texas Auto Writers Association has a long tradition of recognizing the best truck available for the hard-working needs of Texas truck buyers. We are honored the Ram 1500 has captured this year’s prestigious award.”

    QUOTE FROM TOYOTA:

    “The all-new Toyota Sequoia provides all the room, technology, power and efficiency our customers need, and we appreciate TAWA recognizing all that the Sequoia offers,” said Mike Sweers, executive chief engineer for the Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma and 4Runner vehicle programs at Toyota Motor North America, Research and Development (TMNA R&D). “After the successful launch of the Tundra, which TAWA named Truck of Texas at the 2021 Truck Rodeo, we are excited to be accelerating into the next chapter in our truck-family story with the Sequoia.”

    QUOTE FROM GENESIS:

    “Genesis is humbled to be recognized by the Texas Auto Writers Association. We are pleased that GV60 has been warmly received by industry experts in the region, and we look forward to introducing this model to Texas customers in the near future.”  -  Claudia Marquez, Chief Operating Officer, Genesis Motor North America

    QUOTE FROM MAZDA:

    “We’re thrilled to continue our recent regional recognitions for the 2023 Mazda CX-50 through Texas Auto Writers Association’s Texas Truck Rodeo,” states Mazda North American Operations Southern Region General Manager, Spencer Bridges. “The organization's events throughout this year have allowed the Mazda CX-50 to showcase its expansive capabilities, both on- and off-road while keeping the driver confident.”

    “As the world continues to evolve, the role of the automotive media professional continues to be reshaped by world events, the new buying patterns of consumers and the new offers being created by automakers,” said Collier. “Now more than ever, buyers are looking for reliable, current information about the vehicles available, the energy sources powering them and the companies that create them. The need for timely, reliable journalism has never been more important as a challenging year for the automotive industry continues into 2023.”

    “The vehicles represented at the 2023 Texas Truck Rodeo brought new levels of efficiency, and capability to meet the needs of the modern buyer and automotive enthusiasts that do not want to choose between function and performance. We saw advancements in technology, safety and beautiful displays of automotive design. After experiencing this year’s competitive class, we cannot help but feel excited and optimistic about the future of the industry,” said Collier.

    A special thank you and recognition to Katzkin Leather for sponsorship of the 2023 Texas Truck Rodeo and to the Houston Auto and Boat Show, DriveShop and Prestige Auto for the continued support through the years.

    2023 Texas Truck Rodeo Winners

    TITLE AWARDS

    • TRUCK OF TEXAS: RAM 1500

    • SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE OF TEXAS: TOYOTA SEQUOIA

    CATEGORY AWARDS

    • COMPACT SUV:  MAZDA CX-50

    • MID-SIZE SUV: NISSAN PATHFINDER

    • FULL-SIZE SUV: TOYOTA SEQUOIA 

    • OFF-ROAD SUV: TOYOTA SEQUOIA 

    • LUXURY SUV: GENESIS GV60

    • MID-SIZE TRUCK: NISSAN FRONTIER

    • FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK: RAM 1500

    • OFF-ROAD PICKUP TRUCK: TOYOTA TUNDRA

    • LUXURY PICKUP TRUCK: RAM 1500 LIMITED

    • GREEN VEHICLE: GENESIS GV60

    • HEAVY DUTY PICKUP TRUCK: RAM HEAVY DUTY REBEL 

    CALCULATED AWARDS

    • BEST INTERIOR: GRAND WAGONEER

    • BEST EXTERIOR: TOYOTA SEQUOIA

    • BEST VALUE: GENESIS GV60

    • BEST PERFORMANCE: RAM 1500

    • BEST PERSONAL APPEAL: RAM 1500

    FEATURE AWARDS

    • BEST NEW FEATURE:  HURRICANE TWIN TURBO, WAGONEER

    About TAWA

    The Texas Auto Writers Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 by automotive journalists who wanted to provide an avenue for professional growth, development, and networking. These media professionals sought to create an automotive event that was unique to Texas, and as a result the TAWA Truck Rodeo was created. Since 1993, Truck Rodeos have been held in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Granbury, Spring Branch, Dripping Springs, Bee Cave and most recently at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur, Texas.

    In 2003, TAWA created an event for sedans, sports cars and other vehicles not eligible for the Truck Rodeo. The event as it is called today is the Texas Auto Roundup. For more information, visit www.texasautowriters.org.

    Media Contact: Amy Plemons, [email protected]

  • Friday, May 13, 2022 7:48 AM | Anonymous

    Fort Worth, TX – May 13, 2022 – The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) is pleased to announce the award winners of the 2022 TAWA Texas Auto Roundup. This year’s event was held in Fort Worth, Texas at the legendary Texas Motor Speedway. The awards were announced in partnership with the Houston Auto Show on May 12, 2022 at 3:00pm Central Standard Time.

    Automotive journalists from across the State tested 33 vehicles at this year’s event held on April 24-26, 2022. TAWA members evaluated vehicles based on their interior, exterior, value, performance and overall personal appeal.  

    This year the title award categories were Family Vehicle of Texas, Performance Vehicle of Texas, Compact Utility Vehicle of Texas and Electric Vehicle of Texas. An additional eight category awards, two feature-based awards and five calculated merit awards were also awarded by TAWA’s Member Journalists.   

    “The Texas Auto Writers Association thanks and congratulates all automotive members and partners for joining us for this year’s Texas Auto Roundup. We offer a special congratulations to the title and category winners of the 2022 Texas Auto Roundup,” said TAWA Teia Collier. “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to experience these world-class vehicles at this beautiful facility. The future of automotive is bright.” 

    The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was named the Family Vehicle of Texas and serves as a reminder of the continued appreciation of the minivan as an option for families. The Lexus LC 500 was named the Performance Vehicle of Texas, and the IONIQ5 earned the honor of being named TAWA’s first ever Electric Vehicle of Texas as well as CUV of Texas.  

    QUOTE FROM STELLANTIS:

    "We are proud to celebrate an amazing sixth consecutive award as Family Vehicle of Texas for the Chrysler Pacifica, as well as honors for the Pacifica Hybrid as the Green Vehicle of Texas," said Chris Feuell, Chrysler brand CEO - Stellantis. "The Texas Automotive Writers Association is one of the most respected automotive press organizations, which makes the group's recognition of the Pacifica at the recent TAWA Auto Roundup especially significant."

    QUOTE FROM TOYOTA/LEXUS:

    “The Lexus LC 500 embodies a harmonious blend of emotional design and top-tier driving performance so we’re elated that the Texas journalists thoroughly enjoyed this vehicle that represents the most passionate expression of the Lexus brand,” said Todd Blickenstaff, Lexus Product Marketing. “We are grateful to the Texas Auto Writers Association for having us at this year’s Auto Roundup and are honored to be recognized with these awards.”

    QUOTE FROM HYUNDAI: 

    “Earning five Texas Auto Roundup awards for the IONIQ 5 and Elantra N speaks to the impressive ability of Hyundai’s design, engineering, manufacturing and product development teams to bring to market the best vehicles in two distinct categories,” said Olabisi Boyle, vice president, product planning and mobility strategy, Hyundai Motor North America. “IONIQ 5 delivers on range, power, charging speed, design, interior space, and advanced technology for today’s eco-focused drivers, while the Elantra N offers dynamic driving capabilities in a thrilling everyday sports car. We work hard at Hyundai to listen to our customers and take care of today and tomorrow.”

    The Texas Auto Writers Association would like to thank our generous partners and members for their continued support and vigilance in adhering to safety protocols, without their hard work and support an event of this scale would not be possible.  

    “As the world continues to reopen, the role of the automotive industry continues to evolve and is shaped by the vehicles created by automakers and the buying habits of consumers.” said Collier. “Now more than ever, the role of the automotive journalist to relay reliable, current information is more important than ever as a challenging year for the automotive industry continues into 2023.”

    "It appears that automakers used the Pandemic to create vehicles that met the demand for an engaging drive, increased safety and user-friendly design. That paired with the advancements in technology and the rise of electric vehicles marked the offers brought to this year’s Texas Auto Roundup” said Collier. “After seeing the vehicles represented at the 2022 Roundup, we cannot help but feel excited and optimistic about the state and future of the automotive industry."

    2022 Texas Auto Roundup Winners

    OVERALL AWARDS

    • FAMILY VEHICLE OF TEXAS: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    • PERFORMANCE VEHICLE OF TEXAS: Lexus LC 500

    • CUV OF TEXAS: Hyundai IONIQ 5

    • ELECTRIC VEHICLE OF TEXAS:  Hyundai IONIQ 5

    CATEGORY AWARDS

    • LUXURY CAR ($40,000 - $65,000):  Genesis G70

    • LUXURY CAR ($65,000 - $100,000): Lexus LC 500

    • PERFORMANCE COUPE: Toyota GR Supra 

    • PERFORMANCE SEDAN: Hyundai Elantra 

    • CUV: Mazda CX-50

    • LUXURY CUV: Lexus NX-450h+

    • MINI VAN: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid 

    • GREEN VEHICLE: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid 

    CALCULATED AWARDS

    • BEST INTERIOR: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    • BEST EXTERIOR: Lexus LC 500

    • BEST VALUE: Hyundai Elantra

    • BEST PERFORMANCE: Dodge Challenger

    • BEST PERSONAL APPEAL: Hyundai IONIQ 5

    FEATURE AWARDS

    • BEST NEW FEATURE:  Hyundai Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) Function

    • BEST NEW INTERIOR:  Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Interior

    About TAWA

    The Texas Auto Writers Association was founded in 1987 by automotive journalists who wanted to provide an avenue for professional growth, development, and networking. These professionals sought to create an automotive event that was unique to Texas, and as a result the TAWA Truck Rodeo was created. Since 1993, Truck Rodeos have been held in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Granbury and Spring Branch, Dripping Springs and most recently at the Star Hill Ranch in Bee Cave, Texas.

    In 2003, TAWA created an event for sedans, sports cars and other vehicles not eligible for the Truck Rodeo. The event as it is called today is the Texas Auto Roundup, as the event is called today, returned in 2021 after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.  For more information, visit www.texasautowriters.org.

    Media Contact: Amy Plemons, [email protected]

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022 1:03 PM | Anonymous

    January 11, 2022 - The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in association with the Bill Neale family is pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural 2021 Bill Neale Automotive Fine Art Award Invitational. The award, open to both TAWA and non-TAWA members, honors the world-renowned talent and legacy of automotive artistic icon Bill Neale. The 2021 Bill Neale Automotive Fine Art Award award goes to Austin, Texas-based realist vehicle painter Shan Fannin, for her entry titled “1932 Ford Highboy Roadster." 

    Photo Used with Permission from Shan Fannin.

    "The Texas Auto Writers Association is honored to celebrate the legacy of Bill Neale while highlighting the power and beauty of automotive art in the inaugural year of the Bill Neale Automotive Fine Art Award Invitational.  Thank you to all of the entrants, and congratulations to this year's outstanding winner,” said TAWA President Teia Collier.

    “The Neale Family is pleased to award the inaugural TAWA Bill Neale Automotive Fine Art Award to Shan Fannin for her painting, ‘1932 Ford Highboy Roadster’”, said judge Leslie Neale. “Her bold close-up style, bright colors and unique use of reflections create the emotion true car enthusiasts feel for their rides.  It was our father’s passion to further automotive fine art as a legitimate form in the art world and we believe Shan Fannin’s work and her winning painting carries on that mission.”

    Fannin’s winning artwork stems from a photograph of a 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster. The original car owner is car collector/seller Charles Herman. 

    "To have my painting receive this award means more to me than you know. At six years in my profession, I am a relative newcomer to the automotive fine art industry. I regret never having the chance to meet Bill, and wish I could have gotten his feedback on my work,” said Shan Fannin. “It would have been a thrill to learn from him personally. He was truly one of a kind, and is dearly missed. I am so grateful to follow in Bill's footsteps. He was one of the finest  automotive artists this world has ever known."

    TAWA and the Bill Neale family wish to thank all entrants for their interest and participation in the award. TAWA also thanks the Bill Neale family for its support in developing and launching this prestigious award and collectively we look forward to launching the 2022 competition later this year.

    ABOUT BILL NEALE


    Photo Courtesy of the Neale family. 

    To learn more about Bill Neale visit the Bill Neale Automotive Fine Art Award page: https://www.texasautowriters.org/2021-Bill-Neale-Automotive-Award


    Additional Quotes from Shan Fannin

    Question: Why paint cars?

    "To me, cars are ART. Wouldn’t you agree? They are rolling works of sculpture. A team of highly creative people collaborated to bring what we drive or one day dream of driving to reality. It is an honor to capture these amazing vehicles in acrylic paint, and take them from the road into our living spaces to enjoy." - Shan Fannin

    Question: What are the best responses you have had to your work?

    I love it when I give my business card to someone and say that I'm a realist vehicle painter. They will look at the card and say: “Wait! That is a PAINTING?! No way! I thought it was a photograph of a car (motorcycle, etc.)!” - Shan Fannin

    Visit Shan Fannin’s website here. 


    Media Credits:

    Please credit Shan Fannin’s winning artwork photos:
    Used With Permission From Shan Fannin.   

    Please credit the photo of Bill Neale:
    Courtesy of the Neale family.  

    Dropbox of Media Files

  • Thursday, January 06, 2022 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Courtesy of dallasnews.com

    January 6, 2022 -  The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) joins the automotive world in remembering automotive journalist Terry Box.  Box passed away on Monday, January 3, 2022 at the age of 71. He was an accomplished Texas-based journalist who spent decades covering the automotive industry and we salute his legacy.   

    "Terry Box was a friend and esteemed peer to many TAWA members and a highly respected member of the automotive community for decades. His legacy of excellence, enthusiasm and brilliant storytelling will be missed. The Texas Auto Writers Association sends its deepest condolences to Terry’s family and friends,” said current TAWA President Teia Collier.  

    Box retired from a long career at the Dallas Morning News in 2016 after spending 35 years at the publication. After starting as a general assignments reporter and moving up the ranks to editor status over the years, he decided to switch gears and in 1993, Box started covering the automotive industry for the Business News section. In 2002, he began reviewing cars for the newspaper when his Business News editor came up with the idea of “Terry’s Garage”. When he published his last article for the newspaper in 2016, it was in fact a “semi-retirement” as Box went on to write car reviews for CarProUSA and then most recently contributed Mustang Memoirs to txGarage.

    TAWA members remember Box as an articulate, witty and passionate writer who will be missed:

    I respected Terry as a journalist and loved his dry sense of humor. He often gave me a friendly poke in the ribs. - Harold Gunn, 14th TAWA President 

    Losing Terry Box seems inconceivable—he was a force of nature. He was also a gentleman and that’s what I will keep in my memory of him: smart but not a show off, irreverent but never mean, funny but not at others’ expense. And always kind. -Debra Hotaling, Head of U.S. Regional Communications, Ford and TAWA member

    Terry had a love of cars like nobody I have ever known.  He had a way of mixing his vast knowledge of cars with his extremely funny sense of humor.  When Terry told me he was retiring from the Dallas Morning News, I jumped at the opportunity to add him to my staff as a car reviewer.  He added a whole different dynamic with his reviews.  All of us in the auto industry, especially in the North Texas area, will miss the wit, knowledge, and passion that Terry Box blessed us with and that cannot be replaced.-  Jerry Reynolds, TAWA Member 

    Everyone at Toyota Communications has Terry’s family in our Prayers.  It was always great working with Terry.  He was a consummate professional and someone you enjoyed chatting with about cars, the industry and a wide range of subjects, many of which he covered during his journalism career. Greg Thome, Toyota Corporate Communications and TAWA member

    Terry Box was one of the most articulate storytellers in the automotive arena. He had the ability to graciously weave a narrative that intrigued and engaged readers nationwide. Always humble, he had access to some of the industry’s highest profile leaders, who universally appreciated his candor, fairness and insights. Terry set a standard for journalism that should be emulated regardless of the subject matter, especially in an age where cranking out content can overshadow the need for quality. Anyone who values great reporting would benefit from a review of his work. He will be missed. Scott Black, TAWA Member 

    Terry was one of the most gifted writers in the industry. His quick wit, tenacious love of manual transmissions and down to earth personality will truly be missed by many. I’m so thankful I had the honor of working with him over the years. - Kimberly Shults, South Region Communications, Stellantis and TAWA Board Member

    Terry's passing is unbelievably sad. For those of us with an interest in the industry, his reporting was always a great read. And for those with an interest in the motors and the metal, Terry's take on cars, life and their intersection will be sorely missed. I hope he's driving down the highway...the one with no speed limits! - David Boldt, 12th TAWA President 

    Getting a call from Terry was affirmation that I was in the right business.  His insights, astute questions, and affable personality were always highlights of my day! - James Bell, Head of Corporate Communications, Kia America and TAWA member

    We were both very sad to learn of the death of Terry Box, far too soon. He was a true Texas gentleman, an all-around great guy and one of the most respected auto journalists in the industry. Terry was a talented writer, but his love of automobiles and his love of people combined to make his articles something we couldn't wait to read. He will be missed by all of us. -Jo Ann Holt-Caussey and Durhl Caussey, TAWA Members

    Shawn Flemmer shares these thoughts with TAWA members, describing her dad as someone who lived and breathed cars from a young age.

    “My dad was larger than life, even though he had a small stature. He lived and breathed cars, starting at a young age he would name every car by make, model and year as they were driving down the street. My dad was such an amazing writer and truly loved what he did- how many people land a dream job of driving cool cars and writing about them?

    He was an amazing dad to me and Poppy to his two grandkids, Caroline (19) and Christian (15). My kids were so lucky that they had such a great Poppy and he loved them so much and would do anything for them. He would bring cars to my house and take the kids for rides around the neighborhood. Caroline got to ride in a Ford GT when she was toddler and he took my son and husband on a crazy ride down George Bush in a Hellcat. They had to promise not to tell me or my mom that they went over 100mph.

    My dad was the most charming guy around and could take over the room with his stories of cars, partying in college, and water skiing in the dark on Lake Travis(and yes, we couldn't find him, when he finally fell in the water). I can't imagine my life without my dad, Terry Box. My heart aches for the loss of him, but he is no longer in pain. He was a true legend and if you had the pleasure of knowing him, you would know that.”  - Shawn Flemmer, Terry Box’s Daughter

    The TAWA community sends its sincere condolences to Terry Box’s family, friends and to all those who knew him. 

    TAWA wishes to thank dallasnews.com for photo permission.

    Media Contact:

    Amy M. Plemons
    VP of Communications  
    Texas Auto Writers Association 
    [email protected]

  • Friday, December 03, 2021 12:17 PM | Anonymous

    In 2007, the Texas Auto Writers Association launched the Excellence in Craft Competition with the goal of recognizing and encouraging excellence in automotive journalism. In tandem, the Texas Truck Invitational competition invites TAWA members, along with non-members worldwide, to enter their works in exclusive truck-writing categories.

    Once again, the competition was high quality and fierce. A big thanks to all of our judges for spending time reading, watching, and listening to all of this great work: Stan Hulen, Christian Waits, Ivan Galven, Jaime Florez, Steven Cole Smith, Harvey Briggs, Jason Fogelson, Brian Armstead, Carrie Kim, Jared Rosenholtz, and Chris Teague. 

    TEXAS AUTO WRITERS EXCELLENCE IN CRAFT COMPETITION

    Writing: Feature category

    For 3rd place, it’s Mercedes Lilienthal in Tread magazine with: “Bad-Ass Bandoola: a 1953 Willys M38A1 Beast”. Although the stock 1953 Willys stayed in the family for decades, a random transmission issue on a steep hillside and a plea from Ghiringhelli’s wife to "fix it" changed the vehicle forever. “Yes, dear,” he simply replied. Her ask to address the transmission issue turned the little M38A1 from a stock vineyard run-about to a massively customized off-road beast. After months of upgrades and changes to his Willys 4x4, his wife finally got what she wanted out of the deal—a new Mercedes-Benz SL550.

    2nd: Jordan Golson at Inverse with GMC tapped the guys behind Marvel’s coolest computer screens for the Hummer EV”.  Our judge said: “Jordan took a complex vehicle feature set, where he could've gone WAY into the weeds, and made it easy to read.” By the way, this post had great art on top of great writing.  

    In 1st place, Elizabeth Blackstock earned her spot with the compelling “François Cevert, Watkins Glen, And The Myths Of Dead Heroes” story at Jalopnik. With high scores across the board, our judges thought Elizabeth did an incredible job capturing this story. “Elizabeth has a way of getting into the lives of the people she covers and did so with an eye on making it all understandable and approachable,” one judge said. 

    Writing: Reviews

    In 3rd place, it’s “The Power to Surprise (Kia Telluride Review)” in Outdoorx4 magazine by Frank Ledwell. After spending a week in the Kia Telluride on both pavement and off-road in the Big Bend region of west Texas, Frank answers the question: is the Kia Telluride a competent overland vehicle? Our judge said, “Ledwell’s professional, yet personal approach to the Kia Telluride told me everything I wanted to know about the SUV in an engaging, informative way. Solid work.”

    In 2nd Elizabeth Blackstock impressed our judges with“Let The 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Stroke Your Ego Sky High” at Jalopnik. Elizabeth has a way of describing cars and situations in a way that makes you feel part of the story. This one about the high-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody will get your pulse going. Judges said, “Ms. Blackstock captured the joy of excess horsepower in her article with a fresh voice and sparkling prose. A fun discovery and refreshing expert tone that made me want to ride along with her on her next vehicular adventure.”

    And in 1st place withStars vs. Space: Dueling Delicas of the 1980s and 1990s” it’s the dynamic duo of Mercedes Lillienthal and Andy Lillienthal in Tread magazine. If you’re curious about oddball vehicles, rad vans, or quirky four-wheel drives, then you may have heard of the right-hand-drive Japanese Domestic Market Mitsubishi Delica. If you don’t know anything about them nor have ever driven one, you’re not alone. Andy and Mercedes know their ins and outs specifically because they have owned them both and have traveled with them extensively on the tarmac and off the beaten path. “This was a deep dive into an obscure, yet delightful vehicle, told with obvious expertise and enthusiasm. It stoked my interest to find out more about the Delica — I’m hoping the authors will expand this article into a book,” our judge said. 

    RADIO

    In 2nd place, Harold Gunn and Wayne Cronin’s Texas Outdoor News show about T.J. Tennent, a forensic tire expert working with the tire industry, police departments, and the legal profession. “Great content, amazing guest, lots of knowledge, interesting topic,” our judges said. 

    Winning 1st place is Jerry Reynolds, Sr, of CarProUSA. Jerry hosted a story called “Sweet Carol” about a WBAP caller named Carol, a nurse who needed help and had purchased a car from Jerry’s late son. Our judges said, “Original story, very human, personal and well taken care of. Informative and useful.” 

    PODCAST

    Placing 3rd, Michael Marrs, In Wheel Time covered “The Chip Shortage: a look from a different perspective.” Our judges liked the timeliness and newsworthiness of this show, commenting that it’s good background on the chip shortage and the various elements that make up chip production. 

    In 2nd, Cory Fourniquet and Matt Thorsen of GT Garage Talk’s show “Women in the Industry and Tech School”. The judges loved this, saying it was a superb interview. 

    And congratulations to Cory Fourniquet and Matt Thorsen of GT Garage Talk, who took 1st place with their show called. “World Travel, Off-Road Accolades and Beef Jerky”. This entry received a near-perfect score across the board. The judges said: “A look into the life and experiences of an industry legend, Sue Mead. Excellent program!”

    VIDEO

    In 3rd place, Jennifer Jensen impressed with her video on the Ram TRX. With this review, Jennifer challenged the Ram TRX in all of its glory, and this video fully encompasses all of the capabilities of its unique and exciting offering in an entertaining fashion.

    The Fast Lane Truck with Nathan Adlen, Tommy Mica, and Roman Mica earned a top spot in 2nd place with their “Bronco vs Wrangler vs Defender” video.  This segment tested the off-road capability of the brand new 2021 Ford Bronco against two of its direct rivals: the Jeep Wrangler 4xe and the Land Rover Defender. This three-way shootout has some exciting moments and unexpected turns as they drove all three up a steep Rocky Mountain trail.

    And in 1st place, Raiti’s Rides with Joe and Lori Raiti and their video about the incredible Cadillac CT4 Blackwing. The judges appreciated the overall production quality, Joe’s enthusiasm, and depth of knowledge. Well done! 

    With Honorable Mentions, we’d like to recognize Amy Plemons of CarProUSA and Tim Esterdahl and Jill Ciminillo with Pickup Truck + SUV Talk

    PHOTOGRAPHY

    In 3rd, Jordan Golson with a gorgeous sunset photo of a Land Rover Defender. You can find it on his Instagram channel

    Sean Tajipour captured a vibrant photo of the Ram TRX at the Texas Truck Rodeo for 2nd place. Truly beautiful. 

    And in 1st place, Jennifer Jensen took a photo of a Ferrari for Auto Exotica that is a work of art. Really good job. 

    SOCIAL MEDIA

    In 2nd place in a tie it’s Michael Satterfield of The Gentleman Racer with his First Drive coverage of the Chevrolet Trail Boss Custom. His broad reach, from Instagram to Facebook to Pinterest – and gorgeous photography catches the eye. 

    And the other 2nd place winner in a tie is Joe and Lori Raiti of Raiti’s Rides, who earned a spot with their coverage of the CT5-V Blackwing. It all began when Joe and Lori were given 10 minutes to capture whatever they could on video at a secret preview in Daytona for V club members. They were able to track down the Blackwings again at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale in the thick of the pandemic and get inside for a walk around, and then again at the media launch for the Blackwing. The Raitis TikTok alone garnered 3.5 million and Instagram Reels video gathered 2 million views more.

    And finally with their coverage of the Alcan 5000 Rally, it’s Mercedes Lilienthal, Andy Lilienthal in 1st place. Who would've ever traveled to the Arctic Ocean in the dead of winter with an old right-hand-drive diesel-powered Mitsubishi Pajero? How about doing that while competing in a major 10-day Arctic road rally that required 30 tanks of diesel and 7,230 miles total to get to, compete in, and get home? The Lilienthals did. They recapped three eventful days of the 2020 Alcan 5000 Rally on social media, including stories of ditch dives and -40 degree temperatures. They crossed the Arctic Circle four times in two countries in less than three days, drove 146 miles of ice roads, and completed ice racing on the Yukon River, conquering the Alcan 5000 Rally in their vintage Pajero in a challenging and unique way. 

    Honorable mention: Jill Ciminillo and her coverage of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L 

    Honorable mention: Cory Fourniquet and his social coverage of the Ford Bronco. 


    TEXAS TRUCK INVITATIONAL

    Writing: Reviews

    In 3rd place, it’s Jordan Golson with his review of the Land Rover Defender for The North State Journal. Judge’s note: The author recounts his own sad experience owning a Rover product, while pointing out that this is a different Land Rover from how the company operates today, turning out dependable products.

    Lyn Woodward took 2nd, writing about her test drive of the Nissan Frontier at the Rebelle Rally for Kelley Blue Book. 

    Judge’s note: The Frontier stars in an account of the seven-day, women-only Rebelle Rally that indeed puts the Nissan through its paces.

    1st:Eight Days in the Desert with a Rivian pickup” by Emme Hall. Judge’s note: This is a combination adventure story and test drive of an electric pickup truck from a relatively unknown manufacturer makes for a solid, informative read.

    Writing: Features

    In 3rd: “The Lightning is not the Model T” by David Boldt at TxGarage. Our judges said, “A New York Times story that insists the electric Ford Lightning is the Model T of this generation sent Boldt to the history books, making a case that the Times may well be mistaken.”

    2nd isTuSimple Trucking” by Jack Ferry, also at TxGarage. “An informative and forward-looking feature about an autonomous trucking company that suggests driverless 18-wheelers may be just around the corner,” judges said. 

    And in 1st place, “The Gambler 500” by Kathy Locke at Toyota Cruisers & Trucks. Judges said it was an entertaining and heartfelt account of her participation in the Gambler 500, a sort-of race that allows most anyone crazy enough to compete to have at it.

    And the overall winner of the Texas Truck Invitational and cash prize goes to:

    Overall Winner: Emme Hall for “Eight Days in the Desert with a Rivian pickup

    Thanks to everyone who submitted their work. We look forward to seeing next year’s entries! 


  • Tuesday, November 02, 2021 4:32 PM | Anonymous

    Dallas, TX– Nov. 2, 2021 – The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) is pleased to name the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra as the 2022 Truck of Texas and the all-new 2022 Grand Wagoneer as the 2022 SUV of Texas, following the Texas Truck Rodeo held October 2021. 

    Winners were announced in a virtual awards ceremony in association with the Houston Auto Show on November 2, 2021. A formal awards ceremony will take place at the Houston Auto Show in January 2022.

    “At the Texas Truck Rodeo, we get to put dozens of vehicles through their paces both on- and off-road," said TAWA President Kristin Shaw. "At the end of the day, our members were duly impressed by the updates and technological advancements included in both the 2022 Tundra and the reborn Grand Wagoneer; both were equally capable on the road course and dirt circuit.” 

    More than 40 Texas Auto Writers Association journalists traveled to Star Hill Ranch outside Austin on October 4-5, to evaluate more than 50 vehicles on an upgraded off-roading course designed for the event. Sue Mead, an accomplished off-roading journalist and member of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, served as the 2021 Texas Truck Rodeo course director, overseeing course updates. Drivers had the opportunity to drive vehicles on-road as well.

    Members voted on the coveted Truck of Texas and SUV of Texas awards as well as eleven sub-categories including Full-Size Pickup Truck of Texas, Off-Road Pickup Truck of Texas, Luxury SUV of Texas, Mid-Size SUV of Texas and Compact SUV of Texas.  Vehicles are measured on their interior, exterior, value, performance and personal
    appeal. 

    “Our manufacturer members had the opportunity to speak with TAWA journalists and show them in person all of their newest vehicles and features,” said Shaw. “As a result, coverage from the event will be comprehensive and beneficial for both journalists and automakers.” 

    Additional awards were handed out for the Best Safety Feature or Driver Assist, Best Infotainment System and Best Powertrain.

    This year, the health and safety of all participants remained the top priority. Safety protocols that remained in place after being adopted in 2020 to address the pandemic included sanitizing vehicles between drives and hosting all meals and meetings outdoors.TAWA thanks our participating members, automakers, press fleets and sponsors for their support.


    TEXAS TRUCK RODEO WINNERS

    OVERALL AWARDS

    TRUCK of TEXAS
    2022 Toyota Tundra

    SUV of TEXAS
    2022 Grand Wagoneer

    CATEGORY AWARDS

    OFF-ROAD VEHICLE OF TEXAS
    2021 Ram 1500

    COMPACT SUV OF TEXAS
    2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

    MID-SIZE SUV OF TEXAS
    2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

    FULL-SIZE SUV OF TEXAS
    2022 Wagoneer

    MID-SIZE LUXURY SUV OF TEXAS
    2022 Genesis GV70

    FULL-SIZE LUXURY SUV OF TEXAS
    2022 Grand Wagoneer Series III

    MID-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK OF TEXAS
    2022 Nissan Frontier

    FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK OF TEXAS
    2022 Ram 1500

    HEAVY DUTY PICKUP TRUCK OF TEXAS
    2022 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

    LUXURY PICKUP TRUCK OF TEXAS
    2021 Ram 1500 TRX

    GREEN VEHICLE OF TEXAS
    2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe

    OPTIONAL AWARDS

    Best Safety Feature or Driver Assist
    Lexus Safety System+ 3.0

    Best Infotainment System
    UConnect 5

    Best Powertrain
    Ram 6.2-liter Supercharged HEMI V8


    PHOTOGRAPHY 

    All images are for editorial use only and should be credited to Kevin McCauley and capturingthemachine.com. Access 2022 Truck of Texas and 2022 SUV of Texas photos here.


    SPONSORS

    TAWA also wishes to thank all of our amazing sponsors for helping to make this year's event possible. Thank you to the Houston Auto Show, ZeroNox, and Katzkin.


    ABOUT AWARDS

    The Texas Auto Writers Association, Inc. was founded in 1987 by automotive journalists who wanted to provide an avenue for professional growth, development, and networking. These professionals sought to create an automotive event that was unique to Texas, and the result was the TAWA Truck Rodeo. Since 1993, Texas Truck Rodeos have been held in locations all over Texas; most recently, at Star Hill Ranch in Bee Cave, Texas.

    In 2003, TAWA created an event for sedans, sports cars, and other vehicles not eligible for the Truck Rodeo. The Texas Auto Roundup, as the event is called today, was most recently held in the spring of 2021.  For more information, visit www.texasautowriters.org.

    Media Contact: Amy Plemons, [email protected]

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