Slammedenuff Gatlinburg, Tennessee 2023. Coming late into August, I knew what we needed to plan ahead since this was our second year coming down for the show. Sadly, my wife Cameo couldn't come down with us this year since she is due with our second daughter around October 20th. So, instead, I got 5 local Canadians to come along with us after telling them how much fun we had last year. 130 show-exclusive shirts and 100 show-exclusive hoodies were designed and printed well ahead of time. At the same time, all 10 boxes of accessories and stickers were mailed to our main booth guy, Cameron, in North Carolina. When it came to the show weekend, we took 4 check-in suitcases and stuffed them each with extra merchandise. Our carry-ons were full of additional small goods and stickers since I didn't think we shipped enough over initially.
This year, I wanted less flying to Gatlinburg, so we decided to land in Nashville without going to Knoxville. Calgary to Seattle, Seattle to Nashville, and then drove in 4 hours to Gatlinburg. We had brunch at a local breakfast shop downtown, getting Nashville hot chicken and waffles, then explored the city a little, seeing what was around. We then drove into Pigeon Forge to meet with our friend Brittan, who drove the 38 hours from Calgary in his bagged Audi S4. We did a few touristy things, like the suspension bridge and downtown strip, before going to our cabin to meet with Boost The North, with whom we split the cabin. There was an insane amount of cars outside the cabin, so it made for some good content, but getting vehicles in and out was a nightmare.
Friday, we drove to Knoxville in the morning to pick up our 2 other Canadian friends, Bear and Jonny. They had work and school commitments, so they couldn't get off until Thursday to fly in. After picking them up, we drove to the Sevierville Convention Center to set up for the show. After setting up, we went straight to the pre-meet we co-hosted with Josh and Vaded Mob. It was a beautiful evening with the weather and sun. The pre-meet initially sold out at 1,200 cars and 5,000 spectators. The nicest and cleanest builds I've ever seen were in this parking lot. Afterward, we went to get some Korean food for Lee to cook for us, then returned to our cabin to eat, hang out, and prepare for tomorrow's show.
Saturday, we got to the show at 7 am to tidy up the booth and get the booth cars parked. The show was insanely busy, extending from 10 am to 7 pm. We had a long lineup at the booth on both days, selling out of almost everything. We had 8 people running around at the booth talking to people, getting sizes, working the card machine, taking in cash, or grabbing an item from the back. It was nice talking to vendors and brands we've collaborated with over the years and seeing new and old friends from last year for a quick chat or photo. Afterward, we went to the same Mexican restaurant that Zach took us to last year, telling them it was Kevin's birthday again so they could cream pie him in front of everyone.
Monday, we did a mountain coaster, went out for brunch, and then headed for Knoxville to drop off Bear since he needed to return one day earlier than everyone else. We hit Bucc-ee's on the way to get some tourist souvenirs; we loooooooove Bucc-ee's!! We later met with everyone else to go to Anakeesta and their new Astra Lumina night show. We ended the night by going to a moonshine tasting and hanging with some of the Car Drugs staff. Then, back to the cabin for some drinks and business talk to end the long week.
Tuesday, we got our stuff packed up and said our last goodbye to our internet friends. Without these internet friends, the brand would not be what it is today. We went to another Bucc-ee's for lunch and returned to Nashville. After 8 hours of flying, we were finally back home in Calgary. The initial flight from Calgary to Toronto was delayed, so we had to run through the Toronto airport and customs to make our Calgary flight. The trip felt long and short at the same time since we barely got any sleep all weekend. But since it's once a year, I wouldn't change it for anything.
A big thank you for stopping by the booth, buying something, saying hi, taking a photo with us, getting an autograph, or simply meeting in person for the first time after having known each other online for years. We appreciate each and every single one of you. The brand would not be what it is today without you; we hope everyone had as good of a time as we did.
Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. See you in 2024!
- Brandon Yuen