Ford and Ram Win in Texas Truck Awards

Ford and Ram Win in Texas Truck Awards
Words and Photos by Sue Mead for

While the Texas Hill Country temperatures were moderate, the competition was hot during the 17th Annual Texas Truck Rodeo, sponsored by the Texas Auto Writers Association.

That’s no surprise when you consider the Lone Star State boasts the largest pickup market in the U.S. and every truck maker covets the awards garnered at this two-day shootout. In fact, new special-edition models are built specifically for Texas buyers, and an ever-growing number of manufacturers, their truck teams and their new models show up for this annual rite of passage, where pickups go head-to-head over rough terrain that includes rock climbs, water crossings and a variety of off-road ranch track.

This year's Truck of Texas was the 2011 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. The Laramie Longhorn is the highest-luxury trim for all Ram trucks. It debuted last month at the 2010 State Fair of Texas.

"The Ram Truck Brand is honored to be recognized by TAWA as Truck of Texas," said Fred Diaz, a native Texan and president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and head of national sales for Chrysler Group.


"Given all of its iconic Southwestern design cues, nothing says real Texas Truck like the Ram Laramie Longhorn," Diaz said. "The Texas Auto Writers felt that we got it right. The Ram Laramie Longhorn captures the true spirit of Texas and the Southwest, which appeals to people all across America."

Ford's entire stable of trucks was named the Truck Line of Texas.

"The auto writers in the world's biggest pickup market know firsthand what attributes matter most to customers who count on their trucks to get the job done every day," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. "We are honored that TAWA recognizes our full line of trucks as important to customers in their state and around the country."

"When we set out to do a new truck program and set our objectives, we also set our sights on three awards; the TAWA Texas Truck Rodeo awards is one of them," said Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager. "We know from experience it is meaningful because it means so much to the consumer. We use our awards heavily in our ads, and it helps us attract new customers."

Every October, the 40-plus members of the Texas Auto Writers Association gather the latest herd of full-size pickups, SUVs and crossovers to compete in the Texas Truck Rodeo. Think of it like the Grammy Awards, where different genres of music get their own award, like Best Country Album or Best Rock Album, but the top winner is awarded Album of the Year.


In the Texas Truck Rodeo, Full-Size Pickup Truck of Texas designates a specific class, as do Crossover of Texas and SUV of Texas, while Truck of Texas is considered the highest honor of all the vehicles TAWA tested.

Notable at this year’s event was the increased number of high-end and limited-edition models from Ram, General Motors and Toyota, joining Ford’s King Ranch and Lariat models, which make up 60 percent of Ford’s pickup sales in Texas.

"Coming to the TAWA Truck Rodeo is dual purpose: to make sure all of the journalists understand our product and for our Ford staff to hear more about the voice of the customer," Scott said.

"The venue we had at the Knibbe Ranch is a real Texas setting, and it's the perfect location to say trucks and Texas, because they're synonymous," explained TAWA’s president, Mike Herzing, referring to the 22,000-acre cattle ranch in Spring Branch, Texas, near San Antonio.

2010 Texas Auto Writers Association Truck Rodeo Winners
Truck of Texas: 2011 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
Truck Line of Texas: Ford
Full-Size Pickup Truck: 2011 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4
Mid-Size Pickup Truck: 2011 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4x2 Texas Edition
Luxury Pickup Truck: 2011 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
Heavy Duty Pickup Truck: 2011 Ram Power Wagon Crew Cab 4x4
Outstanding Feature: Ford /My Ford Touch



I feel like this is a bit of "Everybody Wins" except GM because they don't make a Texas edition truck.

Yes they do. Go to your Texas GM dealership to get it.

So is Truck Line of Texas synonymous with Best Director?

why didnt ford put the new raptor in it? i have one and love it and it should get a a chance to kill that dodge lol

nissan should've entered the titan. :(

Dodge RAM is a sweet looking truck !!!

Glad to see them win the most awards !!!

MOPAR RULES !!! Bashers are jealous,if you bash it, you are saying RAM is the best !!!you will prove me right,when you bash it ... you know its the best !!! We all know RAM RULES !!

It looks, they created 2 strange categories just to get a ford in there somehow.

Good job Toyota for winning the midsize class in a 4x2 none the less...

I could bet the Tacoma even in 4x2 mode would kill those heavy full-size pickups off-road!

In fact I would like to see this off-road test because it must be rather lame since stock full-size pickups can make it through...

In the REAL world of off-roading, full-size trucks are typically useless because of their size, width and lack of proper ground clearance for their weight...

The last time I saw a pic of Chevy's Texas Edition Silverado, it basically looked like their All-Star Edition truck, but just with the Texas Edition badges on the truck. It's a shame that they couldn't have done more to distinguish the difference between the two trucks besides the badges.

You don't need a Texas anything to win. Last time GM won truck of Texas was in 2001 for the Denali. It has been Ford and Ram ever since.

Justin, Raptor won last year.

Yeah, full size trucks are useless off-road that's why winners of the Baja 1000 have all be in F-150's and Chevy CK 1500 the past several years.

@oxi, it wasn't strictly all about where you can or can't go, I imagine a smaller truck will win that one most the time if it was,-lighter, smaller wheelbase, not as wide. Just think of what you CAN'T do with your little truck, wanna tow 5-6,000 pounds? It might be the max of your tow rating, but I wouldn't do more than about 3500, maybe 4200 if I felt lucky, it would pull that truck around every which way, and your little brakes wouldn't stop so well, and you don't have the power to move it in my hilly neck of the hills. Nor do your flat leaf springs have the capacity of even my (lowest in 1/2 ton payload capacity) Ram. I bet 5 in a Tacoma is a crowd, my Ram can only seat 5 due to my CHOICE of a center console, but I bet it's more comfortable then a Tacoma. The full sizes can actually fit 6. I actually looked at the Frontier, but due to these same reasons, I only looked at Fords, Tundras and Dodges.

The last line I meant to say that I only looked @ the Tundra, Ram, and F-150 with seriously, if I was looking at a mid sizer, The Frontier woulda got it


Problem with the Frontier is the wheel wells are already full from the factory. You will have to spend major $$$ to get even somewhat larger tires under one.

My SR5 Tacoma came with smaller 245/75 but the wheel wells had room to give. Thus Bilstein leveling shocks up front and 265/75 no problem.

Went off-roading running the red trail at Dresser, WI and no rubbing under full flex even with 300lbs. in the bed trail riding.

@off-road king

Ummm, those Trophy Trucks are stripped down.

They may resemble full-size but they cannot haul or pull heavy loads and trailers.

Weight reduction is a key element down in Baja and those race trucks have a heck of a lot more ground clearance to go over obstacles and suspension travel and have coil springs and not torsion bars...

I do not care if you had a 800hp Trophy Truck, the trails I went through early this fall, those full-size trucks would not make it between those little trees on the trail...

But they still used a full size truck and not a compact. When is the last time a Toyota won the baja? exactly. Full sizes are not as useless as you claim, and tacomas are not that hot off-road.

"I could bet the Tacoma even in 4x2 mode would kill those heavy full-size pickups off-road!" - oxi

BS. You are a joke.

Full sizers are used in Baja more for marketing then anything else. And midsize/compact trucks are more useful in most off-road situations than 1 tons, but like everything else, there is a tradeoff. Point is, there is no reason to get into a midsize/full size debate. Buy what you want and what will work in your situation.

@Oxi - not everyone wants or needs a truck for offroading. I'd rather build my own offroader and trailer it if I was into any hardcore stuff.
I prefer dirtbikes, quads or UTV's. there isn't a truck out their that can touch a well set up dirtbike. Dirtbikes usually come in first overall in Baja.
Most guys want to be able to haul or tow with some extra offraod or winter abilities.
It doesn't look like the Texas auto writers have a hardcore offroad category anyway.

It is interesting tha 60% of Ford trucks sold in Texas are King Ranch or Lariet trim level trucks.

Qudos to the winners - Ram, Ford and Toyota.

GMC is conspicuous by their absence.
Wake up GM - Texas is the biggest truck market in the USA!

That's my whole point, we don't all buy them for off roading! Some haul stuff, some just want to be able to get through whatever slick terrain just to get home, or for work purposes! And we don't all run out and see how big a tire we can fit on there!

@Oxi - 245 to 265. 20 milimetres increase. That is only 3/4 of an inch.


For some reason,the stepside late 1970s GMC "Amarillo" sticker package stays in my mind as evidence of GMs legendary feeble efforts to stir up passions of vehicle buyers ("Heavy Chevy" Chevelle,"Rally" Nova,Vega GT,"Rally" Chevette,Cavalier RS,Celebrity "Eurosport",Monza "Spyder").

Dear oxi we know you hate full sizes weve heard it 100 times me like many other people need our trucks to tow/haul stuff for work,play and family or friends every now and then and play off road for fun so a 1500 is nicer. Let me tell you stock vs stock (ill use toyotas for your sake) a nice mud bog a 5.7 Tundra will crap on a Tacoma not everyone can afford to get SUPER serious with their off roading in that case yes a mid/compact is much better TO BAD TOYOTA DOESNT MAKE ON the tacoma is huge so stfu a tundra/ram/f150 etc. could be just as good as a tacoma at least the current body style if you have nothing good or new to contribute please just enjoy the articles for what they are and go find some toyota truck forum

@off-road king,

When Ivan was out there, it would be his race to loose...

Toyota spends more time with their 900hp Tundra's on the short track these days. Johnny Greaves 2010 driver champion with his Monster Tundra...

Anyway they drew first blood, meaning this rodeo by having an off-road track to test the pickups. Not everybody off-roads but why then are they testing them off-road? Why do they have badges like FX4 or Z71 off-road on them?

That is when they enter my domain of off-roading. I do not talk much about pulling trailers or payload, cabin comfort, etc...

I typically focus on off-road ability, that is my expertise and if the media and manufacturer's are going to claim something, they better bring the whole nine yards!

I work for a major supplier of tactical wheeled medium and heavy duty trucks for the U.S. military. The U.S. Marine trucks are the true off-roaders so I tend to comment quite a bit on off-road abilities...


Big tires are for the mudders and people that do not use their pickups as a daily driver.

My pickup is classed as an Overland/Expedition vehicle. It is not made for just one type of terrain like rock crawling or mud bogs.

I carry quite a bit of gear when I trek off-road, survival and camping, fuel, etc... and my pickup has to travel in all types of terrain and weather conditions.

And when you look at a typical Overland/Expedition vehicle you will notice they do not have huge tires on them. They are typically built well with solid suspensions to handle the weight and the terrain they encounter, lockers, winches, skid plates, snorkles, roof baskets, etc...

You can be suprised what a pickup with 4wd and tires even under 33" can do off-road. That is with the proper driver behind the wheel...


Ever bother to see the weight and size differance between a Tundra and a Tacoma?

The Tacoma would hold its own and would typically outperform the Tundra in a mud bog. Weight is a killer off-road and so is size...

@oxi: you contradict yourself! here you go on about how you can fit a bigger tire on your Yotatoy, yet it's the same size as some Frontiers, then, you say tire size isn't everything. And yeah, my friends 89 Nissan Hardbody 4x4 5 speed 2.5 (?) single cab (wasn't that all they made then, a single cab?) it did pull out a 4x4 mid 70s LWB Dodge out of a muddy area. I wanna say it had 31.50 15s? However the same Dodge would be lots more comfortable with 1,400 pounds in the bed vs. 1,000 or in the Nissan. And the interior was a bit crowded for 3 adults-course sometimes that can be ok, gave me a reason to put my arm around the girl in the middle! lol! Different trucks for differant needs. I wouldn't even consider hooking a car trailer up to the Nissan (or your Toyota equivelent of the year) the Nissan had all could do to turn those big tires at 70 mph.


I bought the SR5 which comes with smaller tires. Top of the line Tacoma's kill the Nissan stock.

Bigger tires? Society equates bigger tires as being 35" and larger, like the mudding tires and tall pickups in the air. I run a comfortable tire size that fits the bill daily driving but gives me the added ground clearance and traction abilities off-road.

35" and larger means the more useless the pickup on the street. I can still run a 33" tire, have over 12" of wheel travel and not jeopardize my payload. I have plenty of suspension options for that but when you get above 35", it is all about lift to make way for those larger tires.

Lift does not give you shyt off-road except more ground clearance but good luck with your suspension and braking and gearing.

Good luck running a full-size with let's say 36" tires as a daily driver and how long its brakes, suspension and drivetrain last...

@oxi- dude, did I say anything about running 36S??! just the same for your truck, though. good luck running 33s on your little truck....and as for payload, uhm, look at your flat leafs, (at least the Dakota leafs have arch!) Your little trucks are are a joke payload wise! (like I say, they are better suited for other things!) differant trucks...differant purposes...repeat after me...differant trucks for...


1400 lbs. payload is no joke for a smaller pickup...

I will be switching to EMU Dakar leafs for Phase III of my build to handle the 285/75's with full suspension travel and the weight off-road.

4.10 gearing is factory in the rear of my Taco.

well, I wouldn't want 1400 pounds in a Frontier/Tacoma STOCK, not talking aftermarkit. DOOOOO! blah blah blah modify modify. So what, you need 4.10s with that little bit of torque!


That is what came with my Taco, 4.10's in the rear and with that gearing, a 5-speed manual my little 2.7 liter has plenty of torque off-road in low-range!

I have stock 8" or so wheel travel up front, plan on increasing that to 12" and widening the front track about 4" overall for better stability off-road and running 2.5" Fox coilovers with resivoirs and maybe 4 Bilsteins in the rear with EMU Dakar leafs rear.

Overland vehicles are built different for off-road than a single terrain type you see mostly on the roads like mudders or rock crawlers.

@oxi, great, I'm sure your little truck is a good 4 wheeler. I bet you can go some places a full size might not be able to cause of the smaller truck; Differant trucks for differant purposes! Yours has a 2.7 l 4 banger 5 speed, well, you will have plenty power for a trail, as if you are climbing descending steep stuff your speed will most likely be slow, and your range can be pretty good with the little engine, that also puts less weight on the front, and less total. Now, the disadvantage, because trucks don't just live on the trail, people use them for differant purposes. What can you haul?? Maybe a 3500 pound trailer? I bet that will be a challange for a 2.7 L in a 4000 truck. Go ahead and put 1400 in that truck, if you even have the space for it! I had a Dakota Quad cab, just 8 inches shorter than a 73.5" bed (that is what you have?) but wider then yours. Couldn't carry much back there! With my 76" long full size truck, short bed I can move a couple full size tables, a sound system for a party, and a few chairs. Tail gate up! Bet you can't! If there is a car out in a field needing to be hauled off, I can go down there and not worry about getting stuck, or if I'm hauling a car and it snows, not a huge worry, just gotta slow down cause a 4x4 stops no better than a 4x2! If my step mom needs me to haul hay to the field, I don't worry I'll be stuck if it rained the day before! Or if she needs me to hook up the trailer to get a load of hay, can do! Can't do with yours! Your factory leafs just don't have it! Whats the wheelbase on that anyway, that is the little ACCESS cab, right? That would be squirelly with a trailer anyway, nevermind the lack of power! How do 4 folks even fit in that, or are they two little 10 year olds in the back? I keep thinking you will never understand, but maybe it is I who will never understand you have no reasoning, we can make the point to you over and over, but you still don't get it, that how every truck is built does not just revolve around how it does on some little trail. Those are good things for some. Not all.


For my purposes, this Taco fits my bill. I build mine as an overland off-roader. It will spend the majority of its time on the street but I hit trails and take trips often during the middle part of the year and winters are harsh up here likewise.

As an overlander it will not be terribly far from stock and nor should it be.

I have a 6 foot bed that I can pack with survival gear or as I call it strategic survival gear for ourselves and the truck. To counter all the weight in the bed I have Budbuilt skid plates up front underneath, that is about 80 lbs. of skid plates for the ultimate protection from the front to the rear yoke of the tranny. The front bumper I have with lighter weight skid plates is also about 80 lbs. yet stronger than the factory aluminum one.

Winch is in the future plans up front to further counter weight in the bed while wheeling. I am designing a mounting and plug in system to remove day to day driving and bolt it in for the trails and trips.

The rear bumper is 5 times the weight of the factory chrome one and it is a swing door type where I mount my full-size spare tire, hi-lift jack, shovel and ax right now. This keeps the bed at full use and the spare tire up and away from underneath.

Just so you know I moved my entire 1,500 sq. foot house with this pickup. My excuse was to break in the clutch which I did. Many trips but I got it done from the full size couch, beds washer and dryer down to the countless other large pieces of furniture. This little Taco hauled the entire house and kitchen sink!

I plan NO trailer pulling with this rig. It is an overlander off-roader. Trailers slow the vehicle down, weaken it and limit its abilities.

I am also a storm spotter for the National Weather Service. I specialize in night time storm tracking and I have ran across things at night from blown down trees, flash floods and other debris. Stuff the local Sheriff in their useless sedans can not overcome as well as the firetrucks and ambualnces. If a tornado blows through, I will be the first on the scene since I will be the one tracking it on the ground for the NWS and relaying its location for the NWS and local authorities.

Yes different uses of different pickups but when they claim off-roading, you are entering the domain I have vast experiance with from trail riding, mudding all the way to Baja racing and even short course racing.

So when I see FX4 or Z71 off-road on full-size pickups. I tend to question its abilities off-road. I am sure it will do fine on someplaces off-road or better yet for farm duty and construction but the tougher trails and off-road situations I have seen and been thru, no way in hell unless you mod the shyt out of it.

Too much weight with such little ground clearance is my first observation. I call it the sinking effect. My classic example is the 302 powered full-size Bronco with 36" tires during my mudding days. He went through the ruts first and hung is twin I-beam front while my little 22R powered Toyota with smaller 35" tires floated right over those ruts.

Sure I had 17" of front ground clearance and the rear axle sat 14" above the ground. The guy just didn't get it. No matter how big and tall your rig is and no matter if you had 800 hp, the lack of proper ground clearance for his Broncos weight is what killed him. My rig was light weight and literally floated over the ruts with little effort.

That is why Jeeps and Toyota type trail rigs do so well off-road. Shorter wheelbases, solid ground clearance for their weight stock and when you mod them even better numbers to hit the trails and crawl over obstacles.

And Toyota pickups have a reputation for being tough little pickups the world over.

FX4 offroad with out mods!!!!

Reminds me of home.

@Oxi, good, it suits your purpose! You buy whatever suits your purpose, I'll buy what suits mine! You took a lot of time telling me all about your truck; had you paid attention you'd see I really don't care much for just playing and off roading! If you or anybody else does, that's ok for you! Your truck will I guess do good in it's offroading class, I don't claim to know or care much about it! I coulda spent 30 min describing a race car to you, but it would be off topic, and you probably won't care. the fact is, you go saying a little truck coulda gave the full sizes a run! Well, there is a reason why they are classed differantly! Some folks want a truck for your purpose, some wanna pull heavy, like 11,700 pounds (with a Ford), some want a good ride and medium loads capabilities, (that's me-5,000 to 6,000) pounds is all I need to tow. Some want to race, not me, as I might as well just put go fast money into something lighter! I can go on! Just cause your truck can do this or that doesn't automaticly make it so much better or as good as a full size, OVERALL! Two differant classes, two diff trucks, purposes! That would also be like the Ford guy saying"my truck can carry the most payload. That makes it the BEST" Maybe for HIS/HER needs! As for you moving, yeah, you got it done, possible, but with my trailer on mine (which would be demanding for your truck, empty) I would have taken a third less trips then you did! Less fuel! Less time driving! More time for whatever! You can go on about how good your truck is offroad, sure, might be, but it will not do what a full size (any of them) will do in the work department! Yes, Jeeps are cool, great 4 wheelers, but no space. It's all about trade offs and whats more important to THE PARTICULER BUYER!


That is why I question those nice FX4 and Z71 stickers on full-size pickups...

And for this Texas test of off-road abilities must be pretty lame to appeal only to farmers and some construction sites which are not as horrendous as some of the simple logging trails that would swallow stock full-size pickups.

Don't blame me, blame the OEM manufacturer's for putting stickers on that claim to be off-roaders.

Note: graded roads do not count, traveling the farm does not count or the construction site. My old 88 Celica GTS could do that type of off-roading with no stickers!

When they claim off-road, you are entering the domain I have knowledge about equivalent to pulling 20,000 lbs. and hauling 3,000 lbs. hehehe...

I like to see full-size pickups off-road because they are such challenging vehicles to make it over simple obstacles. But that weight and size is not ideal for this arena.

Like I say, they were not testing to see if they could go to the extremes. just good 4x4 manners. I would say I'd like to see little 4x4s doing what a big 4x4 is better at, ie hauling heavy stuff, but I really don't. I don't wanna see the wreck that happens because of it, or the jerk trying to control it and making a scene. Yeah, mine has those sticks, but to be honest, it's just a name, maybe tires that will last a bit longer then others when offroad, gotta remember, detroit, or any other company from overseas can't just stick those big huge tires on there, they have rules. Course besides a few trucks like nismo, power wagon, rapter, whatever yototoy calls their trd, they aren't gonna be be able to make it just how YOU want it, so they leave it up to YOU.

and your little toyota celica can't go alot of places a big 4x4, even a Fx4 or Z71 can, you'll either bottom out or be stuck! and it sure can't carry much. But I once had a 85 Celica GTS, good little cornering car, had a blast autocrossing it. Had no guts, guess my turbo car with a smaller engine spoiled me on that! and it didn't break much, course the reciepts were all saved up, so I could see somebody actually bothered to maintain it. unlike alot others. Matter of fact, I remember just spinning out on the snow on a flat area in that....never ever had that problem in a 4x4 truck.


I have never bought a TRD off-road pickup. I always buy as close to bone stock as I can (wife helps me with that), so SR5 is the closest and they build it up myself. Top Tacoma's for example come with 265/70 today. My SR5 came with 245/75 and both come with crap tires from the factory.

I am loyal to BFG from my desert racing days so I already know I will be switching out the stock Dunflops for much better tires. So I will save thousands of $$$ compared to top line TRD version and so far I have not even come close to the sticker price of the TRD version and I have larger and better tires BFG A/T, skid plates, leveling Bilstein's up front, skid plates and new off-road bumpers.

I have more of a truck for off-road and still saved some cash if I just bought the TRD version stock.

Bottom line, if your gonna build an off-roader a mid-sized pickup is the best option. Not too small like a Jeep and not too big like a full-size. In the middle where the left and right are close to agreeing and equal.


My Celica GTS 88 was the best winter beater I drove. I weighed down the back with 3 sand bags and let her rip.

The keys to why I was one of the few that was in the left lanes during snow falling was it was low to the ground, had sand bags in the rear and it was a stick.

I rarely touched the brakes in winter driving, just got off the throttle, downshifted releasing the clutch slowly and that is where most loose it and end up in the ditch. Those handicap tranny's cannot slow the vehicle down fast enough and they start to tap the brakes and loose traction. Seen it many times on the highways in winter.

I spun out twice with mine the first winter and realized my cheap Firestone Firehawks in the rear was the root cause. Replaced with Kumho 730's and never spun again.

Had to give it up after 5 years of great service for the new Taco.

good for you but you continue to miss the point of full size trucks


What that full-size are too big and wide, too heavy for off-roading, and real off-roading and not graded roads or farms and construction sites...

Yes OXI, trucks are not just used for offroading, I know, hard for you imagine 4 wheel drive trucks SERVING a PURPOSE as opposed to just offroading for the sake of offroading. For the last time, the bigger truck might not fare as well as your little truck on the trail, but your little truck won't do what a full size will workwise, that is why they have differant classes. So go compare your truck to a Ranger, a Frontier, and those. When it can carry something big and heavy, than you can compare to a full size. It's all apples to oranges with you. You are so hard headed. If I had a little 2 man cart with a ittle 4 cylinder engine that weighs 1000 pounds less than your Taco and is a foot narrower then your Taco, you probably wouldn't want it compared to your truck, as it would out do your truck, yet be useless for any loads. Bet it would go alot of places you can't. Oh, whats that you say, your "truck" is made to hold this crud? There is a reason they have 2 classes, which is what started you running your "the word of trucks according to OXI" One can actually do work, the other is a TOY.


Mine will do work when the time comes...

It will have solid payload up to 1,000 lbs. fully loaded overland prepped to escape the cities when needed, society collapse, power shuts off indefinently, civil war, you name it.

I will be long gone and in a safe grid location while you will have to stick to the roads for overland travel where checkpoints will be up I am sure.


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