Imagine tasting dozens of different styles of barbecue while listening to various live country artists, then getting a chance to drive in a new Ram 1500 over 12-foot long I-beams, across staggered barrels and then up a 25-foot steel mountain hillclimb. And then you go get tossed off a mechanical bull, right before you head into huge convention center full of country western clothing, jewelry, furniture, and other sale items. Hard to believe you can do all that in one day?
Well, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine if you were in Las Vegas last weekend enjoying what is now called The ACM Experience.
For the past few years, the Academy of Country Music has been trying to put together a lifestyle-oriented family fair to honor some of country music's biggest stars with a big award show, as well as provide many of country music's customers a chance to listen to their favorite artists. And where there are country music fans, there will be people who love pickup trucks.
That's why Ram Truck decided to step in and be the title automotive sponsor for the ACM Experience. "Ram truck fans and country music fans are very similar — they have a lot in common," said Ram President and CEO Fred Diaz. He was on hand all weekend greeting people at the Ram Ride and Drive, where anyone could jump in a new truck and loop around a short track. Although Diaz couldn't talk about how much money Ram paid for the exclusive automotive sponsorship, Ram did have vehicles placed all around Las Vegas, as well as acting as the chauffeur vehicle for the biggest country stars attending the ACM awards show. Our favorite new celebrity on hand was the Case IH farm equipment set out on the Ram ride and drive area. Maybe next time we'll get to drive one of those.
If the course for the Ram Ride and Drive looks familiar, it should. This was basically the same obstacle course at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, where Chrysler had drive-along opportunities for its Jeep, Fiat and Ram brands. This course was a little more compact, but it seemed to be popular with many of the attendees.
This was the first year that event organizers have tried the full ACM Experience, which is a free, country-music lifestyle event that's open to the public and where truck enthusiasts can come and shop, eat and listen to popular country-music artists in outdoor and indoor settings, as well as a few more formal venues.
The event seemed to be popular enough to justify doing again next year, but from what the Ram folks are saying about the interest they got from test drivers, it looks like they'll be on board to do it again no matter where the ACM people decide to have the next event.
Ram seems to be looking to tighten the bond between customers and country music. Can a Living Country Ram option package be far away?