Proving Grounds for Truck of Texas

Photography/Videography by Eric O’Hara and Kelby McGaughey—1Off Productions 

There is no better way to develop an appreciation for the engineering and design behind new vehicles rolling off the assembly line than to spend time with a member of the team that built it. One event that allows us this opportunity is the annual Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Texas Truck Rodeo.

Texas Truck Rodeo

It’s hard to believe that TAWA just held its 30th Anniversary of the Texas Truck Rodeo.  And your Savvy Drivers have participated in the event for almost 20 of those 30 years!  The Truck Rodeo has been held at various off-road driving venues around our great state of Texas over the years.  For The Savvy Drivers, it has been an eye-opening experience into the world of off-road driving. Besides the fun of driving the new vehicles off-road, we love the stories about the brands and the people behind them. Building and retaining market share is what any business is all about, after all.  It takes leadership, passion and perseverance.

The event was primarily and originally established as an off-road test-driving event. So our votes tend to skew toward the vehicles most capable of going anywhere and everywhere. That said, we’d wager that a lot of owners of all these popular off-road-ready vehicles rarely experience all that they are capable of! 

Our review of the 2023 TAWA Texas Truck Rodeo event at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur starts with the trucks…Be sure to click on the links to see videos of the test drives in action!

Full-Size Pickup of Texas–Perhaps the Automotive World’s Top Title

Truck of Texas
Ram succeeds in capturing some of the Ford F-150’s huge market share advantage. The 2023 Ram 1500 Limited represents many of the reasons why.

Trucks have been a primary focus for Toyota the past couple of years. Read our review of the 2023 4WD CrewMax Limited 4×4 

Texas Truck Rodeo
Making its global debut at the State Fair and the Truck Rodeo, was the Toyota Tundra 1794 Limited Edition. It entered the competition for Best Powertrain and Best Towing Technology with its I-Force Max 3.5L Turbocharged Hybrid engine.

Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck of Texas–A Title That Carries a Lot of Clout

Mid-Size Pickup of Texas is an Expanding Segment Where Capability Reigns

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel adds even more to delight off-road truck buyers and features a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine.
The 2024 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X builds upon the solid foundation of Frontier, adding off-road ready enhancements like Bilstein shock absorbers and 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.         
Texas Truck Rodeo
Making its first appearance (as a display vehicle only) at the Rodeo was the all-new Toyota 2024 Tacoma Trailhunter entered in the Best Powertrain competition with its I-Force Max 2.4LTurbocharged Hybrid engine and also for Best Driver Assist or Safety Feature.  Its Proactive Driving Assist is Tnew to the standard Toyota Safety Sense suite. 

Tough Competition for Off-Road Pickup of Texas

 2023 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is unmatched in on- and off-road capability.
Truck of Texas
The Ram 1500 TRX continues to be the apex predator of the half-ton truck world, with off-road capability and ability to launch 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Toyota competes with the new 2024 Tundra TRD Pro with new twin-turbo V6 powertrains, the most powerful of which it is a hybrid, also entered into the Best Powertrain and Best Towing Technology competitions.

We will update this post to add the Truck of Texas winners after they are announced! 

In the more recent years, the event has developed into a testing ground for not only half-ton and heavy-duty trucks, but also the “light-weight” members of the lucrative trucking industry—the ever popular SUVs, ranging from compact to full-size compete for SUV of Texas.

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