A fast weekend in Vegas and LA
Photos and blog - Mike Tolliver
It’s the start of #twenty17 for me and this is the first trip for the season. I’ve been a planning a
small trip to Las Vegas to complete our contracts for StanceWars Las Vegas ( April 1) and The
Old School Reunion ( April 2nd). Also A side benefit was to hit up the first Elite Tuner on the
West coast for Ranger. So we’ve been preparing for a few weeks for the trip. Originally I
planned to drive to Las Vegas and get a booth at ET to vend our signature lines, but with a few
small change in the timeline for our New Jersey contracts I decided to fly to Vegas , then drive
over to LA to see Rene our head judge. Last year our head judge relocated to just south of LA.
This makes it harder for last minute meetings but good for our connections in southern california
with manufactures and wheels companies.
Packing for the weekend it’s not too hard, few pairs of #adidas, few pairs of camo shorts, five or
six signature Stancewars shirts , a swag giveaway bag and a laptop. But I noticed that the
weather wasn’t going to be the best in vegas. I quickly googled to see “ how many days of rain
does las vegas get a year? “ the answer is 20 days. So it didn’t look the best for Ragers event
so I decided to add my christmas gift from Igot at #CATUNED a trusty soft warm hoodie. When I
arrived at Elite tuner it was starting to rain so I ducked into the casino for a fast bite and ran
smack into the Bakersfield NVUS crew getting beers. A few exchanges and we were getting
happy hour beers and nachos. Its cool to sit and talk with guys about cars that you don’t even
know but have a common bond over cars and beer. After a fast bite, a spilled beer and some
goodbyes I was walking back to the event in the parking lot.
Cross the road, over the planter and I was in the show next to the Street2Track booth that Ricky
and Rochelle run based in Las Vegas. I’ve told you about R&R over the last year but now they
are really expanding with a few events and they attend a lot of events. So how was the show ?
Just like any new event in a new location and with new staffers there will be some kinks.
Weather wasn’t helping but the ET cali guys really had been making promises and the Socal
team showed up to see what ET was all about. I saw the Vegas HID guys, R1 Racing Concepts
, Abe’s models , Advanti wheels and Topups at the event. A decent amount of vendors in the
parking lot. My plan was to flyer the show and make some contacts for the evening, but the
weather that wasn’t helping that to happen. Flyers stick to windows in the rain and become a
mess. I ran into Jay from Evo Tuner and chatted with him about our events and this event.
When you have over four shows a year it’s a interesting conversation about logistics and how
things are going. No one does it perfect, none one of us but we all have a style our own. How
many cars were there ? I didn’t count but there was 350ish if I rember Ranger told me. Ranging
from stock hondas to Pro2 Formula drift cars. I walked through the cars shaking hands and
talking to past and present #Top100 folks. I looked over some of the changes to past cars that
won trophies to see what they were changing for 2017. I eventually made it back to
Street2Track and chatted before cutting out to grab a steak on the town in Vegas.
(Picture of the three solar steam plants outside Vegas)
For the last several visits it’s been all business between me and las vegas. No shows, no clubs,
no attractions just business. This spring before and after StanceWars Vegas I’ll spend a few
days doing fun stuff, its time and I deserve it. Now that it’s sunday it’s time to run to LA for the
day. I rented a hyundai veloster from Enterprise Rental Cars ( AKA please give me a free car at
some point) and it was a 3 door little rocketship for the day. Its about 3-4 hours to LA from
Vegas and the traffic can make it 3-4 or 8-10 if you leave to late. I took off early and hit the
highway doing 10+ over most of the way. Several did 20+ and that mustang that flew by an hour
north of town , well I saw him in the ditch about an hour later. I wanted to stop, get out walk past
the cops and stand on top of his car and take a piss, but instead I just figured I’d add that tidbit
the story. If you want embellish it and say the owner of StanceWars forced a dude off the road,
climbed on top of his car and relieved himself pretending to be Mr. White from Breaking Bad its
cool with me. If you know me it’s not the worst story you could hear. Its wasn’t a bad trip with
mountains full of snow and the valleys green as far as you could see. It wasn’t long and I arrived
at Rene ( my ninja) house.
Monday was planned with a secret meeting I am not aloud to talk about yet, it will be cool if it
works out and if it doesn’t it will be a huge let down . So for now , it didn’t happen. But I was very
close to Avant Garde Wheels so made a fast IM and contacted Yuya about a fast visit before I
caught my flight to seattle. I’ve been to several wheel company’s headquarters and I get invited
to tour them each spring but I had not been able to get to Avant Garde Wheels yet.
Since Avant Garde Wheels started to do more in house work I wanted to see what they were up to. I knew Yuya
from VIP modular and we talk time to time about industry and what we’re both up to. Not sure if
you recall the WCI joke he pulled on me, it was a classic last year. As I entered the offices you
could see everyone was heads down and working hard. Of course it was early and there wasn’t
time to goof off yet. I chatted quickly with Eric who I work with for our events. Reminder that Avant Garde Wheels
is our offical wheels for Vegas and Seattle. Then a firm handshake form Yuya and some
pleasantries. I was lead into the warehouse and production area. Now let me tell you that Avant Garde Wheels
is a 10-15M company. This isn’t your buddy who builds three peice wheels and has a
garage company. With 1750 sets of cast wheels in stock and selling through america’s tire and
discount tires you can find them gaining ground or the leader in your area. I knew they did cast
but not at that volume. As a side note for 2016 Avant Garde Wheels was only second to Work wheels in
our #Top100 registrations across the country. I was lead over the wheel build area and talked
about lead times and how the whole process works. I think AG has the best lead times at 4
weeks , even spring and summer. Thats weeks ahead of others, that what you can gain having
in house cutting. Cutters (the machine shop guys) work 7am to 9pm Monday to friday and they
could work them three shifts if demand continues to grow. How many set of three peice wheels
do you think they ship a month ? Is it 12 sets, 30 sets or 80 sets ? I’ll tell you a paragraph down.
With a waterhouse 50ft tall and racks running hella deep with cast wheels and blanks this is a
candy factory for us. I saw 24 inch forged blanks and set after set of wheels. They can build you
wheels for your mall crawler truck or you civic. Also side note here that they do have tires, not a
lot of manufactures have tires but if you really want them, Avant Garde Wheels can help get you set of wheels
with tires to bolt on quickly. Take a minute to watch the two minute video I shot. Oh, here is the
answer from above. They produce 100-140 sets of three piece wheels each month. I’m going to
finish my Shrimp tacos , get one more beer for the road and mosey to the gate to grab my flight
to Seattle. In just a few days I fly to NJ for our contract signing of Metlife field and our first east
coast stop for StanceWars #Tweny17 tour.
Well made a last minute stop to meet some new folks in person. Wanna see some yummy stuff ?
Posted by Mike Tolliver on Monday, February 13, 2017