Pickups Dominate 2012 Texas Truck Rodeo

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Story and photos by Sue Mead

It’s the Year of the Ram in Texas! When the dust settled at the Knibbe Ranch in Spring Branch, Chrysler’s all-new 2013 Ram 1500 was voted the Truck of Texas, and Ram was tapped as the Truck Line of Texas at the 20th annual Texas Truck Rodeo. These accolades were given by a collective of 50 automotive journalists from the Lone Star state and across the U.S. who are members of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

Although the climate was moderate during this two-day event, the competition was one of the most hotly contested as Ram, Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, Nissan and Honda entered pickups. First-, second- and third-place winners were awarded in Full-Size, Mid-Size, Luxury, Heavy Duty and Off Road categories, as well as the two most coveted awards: Truck of Texas and Truck Line of Texas. Other categories included numerous classes of SUVs and CUVs. This year’s event drew 58 vehicles, along with four display vehicles, and close to 180 participants.

“Automotive reporters have reacted extremely favorably to the new 2013 Ram 1500, and our research tells us that resonates with truck buyers,” said Ram President and CEO Fred Diaz, who is a San Antonio native. “Texas is Ram’s biggest market, and we’ve worked relentlessly to build powerful trucks with best-in-class fuel economy and capability for our customers. The pickup market is fiercely competitive, and we are proud the Texas Auto Writers have awarded Ram trucks with these coveted titles.”

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Texas boasts the largest pickup market in the U.S. and worldwide, so every truck brand covets the awards garnered at this event. 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. Pickups go head to head over rugged and rough terrain that includes rock climbs, water crossings and a variety of off-road ranch track and paved roads. Judging occurs over two full days of rigorous vehicle comparison, evaluating features that range from interior and exterior styling to off-road capability and the entrant's overall utility, value and fuel efficiency.

“Our members overwhelmingly chose the 2013 Ram 1500 as the Truck of Texas and the truck for Texans. The new Ram 1500 is amazing,” said Michael Herzing, Texas Auto Writers Association president. “The new technologies in this truck are true game-changers and raise the bar for the competition. You’ve got to love how tough, capable, comfortable and fuel efficient this new truck is, especially for Texans, who frequently drive long distances. Until we drove it, we couldn’t believe a truck this nice and capable could achieve 25 miles to a gallon like the Ram does. It blew our members away.”

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Notable is the ever-growing number of high-end and limited-edition models from Ram, GMC, Nissan, Honda and Toyota, joining Ford’s King Ranch, Super Duty Platinum and Ford Raptor models. Ford’s 2013 F-250 Super Duty won the Heavy-Duty class, and the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor won the Off-Road class.

"We’re proud that Ford F-Series is the best-selling truck line in Texas and America's best-selling truck for 30 years and its best-selling vehicle for 35 years. We are pleased TAWA agrees with what our customers have been saying for years — that Super Duty and Raptor are the industry's best heavy-duty and off-road trucks," said Mike Levine, Ford Truck communications manager.

Toyota was also happy with their trophy win. “We are pleased to win the mid-size truck category in the Texas Truck Rodeo with the Toyota Tacoma,” said Gene Brown, vice president of marketing, Gulf States Toyota. “The Tacoma is by far the category leader in sales as well as performance in mid-size trucks. We appreciate the recognition from the Texas Auto Writers as well.”

Not to give too much away, but next year looks to be a pretty good show as well and likely to be another tough competition. “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,” said Herzing, referring to the 22,000-acre picturesque cattle ranch near San Antonio. We look forward to the new GM twins and possibly several new heavy duty models. 

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Winners of the 20th annual Truck Rodeo are below. 

Truck of Texas: 2013 Ram 1500

Truck Line of Texas: Ram trucks

Mid-Size pickup truck: 2013 Toyota Tacoma

Full-Size pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500

Luxury pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn

Heavy-Duty pickup truck: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty

Off-Road Truck: 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

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Congratulations RAM. Best truck for now.

Nice showing Ram! Good MPG's for the base engine!

Way to go RAM! Great job.

Truck of Texas!!

They are going to sell like gangbusters in 2013. Hopefully they won't have any hiccups with the 8 speed or the air suspension.

Congrats to Ram on winning almost everything this year

Yes so far 2013 may put Ram very very close to Chevy in sales maybe even or passed them, unless they have a bad recall it looks good for Ram and in 2014 a lot of thing are going to be done to the HD ram trucks, I work at cummins as a engineer and we got something brewing up..........

@ Dodgeguy. What do you guys at Cummins think of the VM Motori 3.0 diesel that is rumored to be coming to the Ram 1500? Good/Bad/Happy/Angry? I am curious.

So...when will the 2013 Ram 1500 be available? I'm trying to build and price it online but it's still the 2012 model.

Dodge isn't just settling for taking out Chevy and TAKING the #2 spot, we're going for FORD and #1!!!!


5)That GovtMoCo Sierra pile of taxpayer wasted dung.

It's amazing that ford can win anything with that outdated relic they call Super Duty. Oh well.....I guess they had to throw the old dog a bone just to keep him happy.


It's embarrassing to have Dodge the "official truck of Texas". I'm a Texan and Dodge is not for me..or anyone I know for that matter.

looks like its all Ram, with alittle Ford.............no chevy GMC mentioned, imagine that

@phillyguy I am not part of that team, I am in the engine room either testing or drawing up new ideas for the B series 6.7 Cummins Diesel, after we think of something we make it put it in a truck and send it to testing if it fails in any way it is taken out and fixed, sometimes this happens 200 times before we get to the end. We want it to work well and this new idea has been in testing for 3 years now. Last couple years has been nothing but driving and towing on this new engine. I can get fired for telling you this..........

Did anyone notice the crazy looking tonneau cover on the silver Ram in the last picture, or are my eyes just deceiving me?


Looks like it's just the ram box lids in the open position....

@Dodgeguy Don't want you getting fired, keep up the good work. The couple guys I know with 6.7l in their 2500's won't shut up about how great they are. Apparently they are the greatest things ever conceived for towing a fifth wheel. And I believe it.

I'm telling ya'll......if this new GM truck is more crap I'm going to be "New Ram Guy"!

I'd switch from Chevy to RAM!

Raptor for best off road pickup? I would take a Ram Power Wagon over the Raptor for all around off road use and daily usage, the Raptor is nice for high speed work when M/T and not towing more than a wave runner of a couple of motorcycles, but for real work a P/W in much better! and off road in any place the Raptor will fit, the P/W will follow, and if need be have the winch for either. On top of it all you can get one for less $$$$!!!!


Was the Power Wagon included at the Show? If so, the Raptor beat it, was the Ram Runner at the show, no it's not Factory. Also why didn't it beat the Super Duty since the P/W is best HD since sliced pizza, well according to you.

you know why Ram sales are up so much? people are cutting back on what they spend, they're buying cheaper products. Dodge has ALWAYS been the "poor man's truck". Sorry, but just because things are tight these days doesn't mean I'm going to run out and buy a raggedy goat to drive that will be in the junk yard in 5 years. Think of dodge sorta like Polaris atv's, they always come out with this "cool new stuff" that seems cool but isn't reliable for crap. polaris atv's will leave you on the trail and a goat truck will leave you on the side of the road. I'll take a Toyota Tacoma ANY DAY or WALK before I'd own a bling blingy looking GOAT with it's car suspension and crap reliability!

The new GM trucks to be released to the public in December. I am excited! After reading about the new Corvette motor, I can only imagine what the truck engines will be.

woopud, the 2013's are showing up on lots now, I looked at 2013 sport over the weekend and they had two in stock.

@Robert, you have never owned a dodge truck. So you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Just some jealous $#!^ talking blow hard. My Dodge truck is 9 years young and going strong with 35's and a lift kit.

Congrats to Ram trucks. Just waiting for that big boy 392 Hemi in the power wagon before I sell or give my truck to my son.

@Greg, Did I miss something? Since when did GM bump up the date for the new 2014 Silverado and Sierra to this December? Last I heard, they might make an appearance at next years Detroit Auto Show and then they will start production the spring of 2013.

@HemiV8 you're right, I have NEVER owned a Dodge goat and I will NEVER own one. I prefer my trucks to be reliable. I have friends that own them, however, and that's how I know they are JUNK. My best friend owns a 98 and an 03 Hemi 4x4. guess what? the clearcoat is peeling off BOTH trucks. the 98 started having serious paint issues 2 years after he bought it, the Dodge dealer re-painted the truck for him and what do you know, 3 years later, same thing happened. his 03 is doing the same thing! that 03 is so raggedy that sometimes he has to turn the truck off going down the road and turn it back on because if he doesn't it goes into limp mode. it also wants to cut off when you take off in it and his rotors have warped twice in that truck. did I mention he's put new transmissions in both trucks? so, yeah, no Dodge goats for me, thanks! I see alot of Dodge trucks on those "buy here pay here" lots, wonder why?

RAM will be in my garage as soon as the 2013's with the 8 speed HEMI come out on the lots.

Congrats Chrysler your RAM truck is very nice !

My 2009 F-150 will be replaced by a RAM again,I did contract work for a local Ford dealer and they sold me a loaded Lariat F-150 Crew for the price of a base model F-150,it replaced my '02 RAM with 260,000 miles pretty reliable never left me stranded.

Now to get my wife to trade in her 06 Lexus for a RAM,probably wont be hard with the Laramie high end quality truck ! She says she loves the look of Dodge trucks,as she loved our 02,but she really wants a Mustang or Challenger,we will see.

@Robert, I ARREST my case. Keep talking out of your @$$ because your mouth knows better.

That GovtMoCo Sierra pile of taxpayer wasted dung.

-Ooooohhhh boya, Obummer be mad da u be dissin on his ride like dat. Blngity bling in da Denali Guvment truck.

But ya, GMC sucks. And I can totally see Dodge taking down Chevrolet now. I never in my lifetime thought I'd see such a thing. Yet here it is happening before my eyes. GM has ruined Chevrolet as far as I'm concerned. Screw em. They have a beat down in progress and more coming from both Dodge and of course Ford.

The new GM trucks to be released to the public in December. I am excited! After reading about the new Corvette motor, I can only imagine what the truck engines will be.

@Greg, (Bob, Sierra, Bvonscott etc.) They are foundationally one in the same. Small Block Chevrolet's of the next rendition. You GM faithful still don't get it do you? It's not the engines. It never was the engines. It's the truck itself that's the problem. That is what should be focused on. High quality interiors, painted frames, 4 wheel discs, high quality and durable body panels, more luxurious interior trims like Ford and Dodge have, a SFA up front on the HD's, better looks. The list is long. GM always had the engines right using Chevrolet V8's. . It was everything else that they cheaped out on that drove customers away. It's what drove me away too.

Robert i hear ya, my 2010 Ram is a POS and soon to be was, cummings motor has been awesome , but tranny failure after 30,000 km and warped rotors at 40,000

Congratulations Ram for winning Truck of Texas: 2013 Ram 1500 ,Truck Line of Texas: Ram trucks, Full-Size pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500, Luxury pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn.

Congratulations Toyota for Mid-Size pickup truck: 2013 Toyota Tacoma.

Congratulations Ford for: Heavy-Duty pickup truck: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty, and for Off-Road Truck: 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

@HemiV8 I see you couldn't refute any of my comments based on FACT. Let's face it, Dodge is what it is: a low-priced brand marketed towards those who can't/don't want to spend alot on a decent vehicle and reliability is not at the top of their list as far as "must have's" go. They excel in that category, but to try to say they are on par with Toyota and Ford is just nonsense. you get what you pay for in this world, and there's no way you can pay MUCH LESS for a Dodge and expect it to be AS RELIABLE as a Toyota or Ford. for crying out loud, Dodge's NEW truck is STILL behind GM's out dated mess of a truck. sure they're gaining ground but on what, a 13 year old engine and 5 year old body style and interior? really? that's not something to be proud of.

Francis: you need to go back and READ what I said! I never said "the best tis or the best that" all I said was I, I, I, I would take hte P/W over the Raptor! and I mentioned why, ok? is that plane enough for you? O and by the way of the 4 Chevy's 3 Dodge trucks and 1 Ford truck,the only truck that has had to be towed home is the Ford, it is almost brand new (2011 F-150 reg cab Ecco-Boost 4X4, I was hauling 1800 lbs of 3/4 blue stone for 25 miles and the head gasket blew! and to ad insult to injury Ford has so far deamed that because I have a cold air intake kit on it the dealer says Ford will not honor tha warranty! It has been 4 weeks I have been fighting this, I know I will win (it is mostly the dealers fault) most of them would have said NOTHING about it! but I went to the best deal, not the best dealer! Now I am not walking because I still have my trusty ol 2003 Dodge Dakota with over 90K on it and has never been towed home, and when we need the room, my wifes 2011 Chevy ext cab 1/2t Z-71 has it and that truck has had NOTHING go wron with it! You drive what you want, I wont say anything bad about it, but I would like the same from you, ok? When the F-150 is fixed, and IF Ford has warrantied it, I will let every one know about it, good, I will praise them, BAD I will trash them forever! I can see a 2013 Ram, or 2014 Chevy in my future! or both!

@ Robert you are right the Ram is a poor mans truck they are cheap and it shows in the truck cheap chinese plastic cheap rust easy sheet metal! Truck is pure junk and ppl like Hemroid V8 like that they can buy a new truck on walmart wages!!

@ Robert: Ford gets closer to MSRP, and their trucks aren't cheap, so much for your comment about Dodges being cheap. I went the cheap way before, I bought a 2006 Chevy, one thing or the other usually was jacked up, that's when I only kept it a year.

The Tacomas have a pretty good resale and good reliability, most people that buy they really don't have much real need for a truck. My brother in law bought his, it sat in the gaage most of the time, he never used it to haul. Now he has a Kia cause he realized why bother moving a trailer when it can be put at a campground permanantly. The Tacoma woulda been maxxed out to move his trailer.

Robert, before you go off and cry about why Ram is being talked about so much,( I can tell you are so jealous about what they are doing), please make sure you know your competition, it is a Ram, and not a Dodge, man lots of trolls on here lately

Of course, no report on here is complete (safe from)? some troll like Harley F150 comming here talking crap about China made this and that when his truck has a HIGHER NON NORTH AMERICAN content then a Ram

Get over it man, you are just upset Ram is comming back. Or maybe you haven't changed out your spark plugs in your 5.4 yet?

my Tacoma does plenty of work just fine. I haul 500 lbs of corn every weekend to deer stands, tow a 5x10 trailer loaded with atv or my 1,200 lb zero turn on a regular basis. even tows my sidexside around every weekend during hunting season. works just fine! maybe your brother-in-law doesn't have any real work for a truck but I do. it does everything my 2 prior z71's did. just because some fool runs out and buys a Dodge doesn't mean he has any "real work" for it either with it's car-like rear-end and chrome all over the place. all he's worried about is saying "can ya Hemi??" to his friends. my Tacoma will be worth more in 10 years then any Dodge truck will be, bank on that. Sorry, I meant RAM or goat or sheep, whatever they're called now.

If Ram can come up with a 3.0 litre VM diesel they couldn't manufacture enough to keep up with sales. The Ram could have a significant boost in mpg's and torque.

Ram might have a chance to catch up with the other manufacturers.

Also, for the Ram guys, just because your vehicle might be voted "best" or something equivalent doesn't necessarily translate into sales.

Chrysler products still have that past quality perception that they need to overcome. This will take time.

Good job Toyota Tacoma, taking the title again!

Car like rear end? Can you explain that? I mean, Tacomas have a rather chincy rear end. Flat leaf springs! All you talk about doing I could do in my X wifes Jeep Patriot, 500 pounds, don't wear yourself out man, lol!

Robert, I use mine to move cars, car parts, racecars, lets see I would have to upsize to full size or hook up a trailer to get 7 RV tires swapped out and carry the compressor, generator, and jack, moved with a Tacoma. Oh, and since I was moving an RV bought over 100 miles away and it's sat for awhile, alot of crap can happen, like stuff just breaking cause it's 40 years old. Maybe in case it does break, I should be able get it off the road, so I can fix it and not pay a hellacious towing bill. But with a Tacoma, I would tear crap up just trying to move it up the hill. But, I had no problems. I was prepared.

You see, Robert, I need a full size, not a less then 4'x 5' truck bed to put a bicylce in the back, or a deer, I need space. I hauled back about 7,000 pounds of racecar parts, racecar itself, and the trailer with winch. No breakdowns. Once again, it woulda killed a Tacoma.

Some of us really need full size trucks. Most people can do whatever you folks do with your Tacoma's with an SUV.

And I am not a Toyota hater. I shopped Tundra, it's not for me. Even after test driving one 65 miles in the hills. I drive a 96 Camry coupe with 189,000 miles on it, when I don't need my truck, even though its uncomfortable and boring, good mileage.

@ Big Al, That has been my reading on the situation also. It would seem that if that VM 3.0 diesel lives up to the hype (not likely, but hopefully), we could see a Ram 1500 with hemi-like towing numbers getting real world 18/25 fuel economy. Don't even know what that would be in fantasy land EPA numbers. It would also hopefully go a long way towards increasing diesel adoption in the US. According to fuelly it seems that most Hemi Owners get something ~ 15.5 mpg, and most ecoboost owners average in about 16.5 mpg. If those rnumbers could turn into a 20-21 real world number, all while being able to do similar work to the hemi, I agree, I don't think they could stock enough of them, and I think a lot of people would begin switching in droves. Putative +5 mpg is a huge jump for a pickup truck.

@HarleyF150,@Robert - it doesn't help one's favorite brand by trolling. It does the opposite.
I thought it was illegal to "bait" when hunting. It must depend on where you live.
Sounds like to would be cheeper to buy a side of beef than spend money on feeding the deer every weekend. (Unless you are poaching.)


I'm an 80's child who grew up when Chevy still ruled the streets in drag racing and 4x4 trucks alike. I was a Chevy guy for many of years. However, Dodge trucks are not poor mans trucks. That is laughable. They have transactions only equaled to by Ford. Both having only the highest of build quality and luxury. Government Motors made Chevrolet the cheapest POS's on planet Earth. If you want to sling hate towards Dodge or Ford for building higher class and higher quality trucks, direct your anger toward Government Motors, not Dodge. All of us old school Chevrolet guys absolutely hate GM.

@Built Ford Tough
It has been beaten by ugly stick already.

All of us old school Chevrolet guys absolutely hate GM.

@Jude, Amen to that. Anyone responsible for wrecking the once mighty Chevrolet Motor Company for their own selfish self serving interests deserves death in my book. Screw GM and GMC alike.


According to KBB.com, your wrong. I priced 4 different models/option combos, all of them had the 2003 Ram being worth more then the 2003 Tacoma.

Enjoy your girlyman "truck."

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