All Longhorn photos by Ram
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Texas is the heart of truck country, so what better place to unveil Ram's all-new 2011 Laramie Longhorn Edition than at the State Fair of Texas during one of the biggest auto shows in the country? Ram flew us into Dallas for a weekend filled with fried food and football, with the Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas capping off the festivities Saturday afternoon. But before we headed to the Cotton Bowl to witness a 28-20 victory for the Sooners, we got an up-close look at the impressive Laramie Longhorn.
As Darrick Todd, Ram's Southwest Business Center Marketing Manager, explained inside Ram's display at the fairgrounds, the decked-out Longhorn fits in a notch above the current Laramie in Ram's lineup. "As you've seen, (the Longhorn is) maxed out with high end leather interior and all kinds of subtle accent pieces that really give it that high end luxury feel," Todd said. "When you get down in the southern United States where trucks are the main deal, some guys have to have the nicest truck on the block." Meet the nicest truck on the block.
The Longhorn edition is available exclusively for the 1500 Crew Cab, 2500 Crew Cab and Mega Cab, and 3500 Crew Cab and Mega Cab models, and in five distinct color choices, including a sleek Sagebrush with White Gold combo that you won't find on any other Ram truck. Ram has slapped several distinctive Western-style exterior badges onto the Longhorn, including a chrome metal badge with painted accents that's mounted to the tailgate and model-specific badges on the doors. The full leather interior – available in either a dark slate gray with premium russet-hued seat leather or a southwestern-influenced light pebble beige with bark brown seat leather – is highlighted by stitched-on leather badges on the seat fronts, and the enormous double-stacked center console is accented with another logo. In other words, people are going to know you're driving around a Laramie Longhorn.
The six liquid chrome gauge rings on the instrument panel are brilliantly set against a painted taupe silver background, and the dash is trimmed in burled walnut wood graining. There also are prominent stitching accents everywhere: the intricate laser-etched filigrees and deck-seam stitching on each seat, dual French stitching on the center console lid and armrests, stitching on the flaps of the saddlebag-like compartments found on each seatback, and of course, X-stitch details on both the shifter and the supple steering wheel. "The quality of leather that's on the whole interior, you can really feel it in the steering wheel," Todd says. "It feels like butter in your hands."
Funny he should mention butter, because in addition to experiencing the luxury of the Laramie Longhorn firsthand, we also took in the sights, sounds and, most notably, the tastes of the State Fair of Texas. Christa, our trusty promotions associate who hung out with us during our time in Dallas, told us about the fair's famous and award-winning fried beer before we even booked our flight. Needless to say, we immediately placed "fried beer" at the top of our list of things to try during our visit. Shortly after checking out the Longhorn, we made our way to the nearest vendor and placed our order, not knowing exactly what we'd be presented with after handing over our money. How does one go about frying beer anyway? Throw a 12-pack into the deep fryer and pull out a fork? Imagine our surprise when we were handed a small dish with what looked like several fried raviolis inside, along with a squirt of nacho cheese. Turns out the beer is injected inside the pasta – we could actually see it floating around in there when we held it up to the sun – and then placed in the fryer. What you're left with is ravioli filled with hot beer and covered with nacho cheese. In other words, not good. Scratch that – downright awful. Which is strange when you consider: we love beer, we love nacho cheese, and we like pasta. Put them all together, though, and you get an atrocious concoction that, as it turns out, won an award for the most creative fried dish at the fair. We're guessing it wasn't in the running for any best-tasting accolades.
Still, if you find yourself at the State Fair of Texas, you almost have to try the fried beer, just so you have the story to tell. Although if you elect to skip the beer, there are all sorts of other fried creations to sample; so many, in fact, that we had to keep a running tally throughout the weekend:
Fried cheesecake, fried margaritas, fried lattes, fried PBJ&B (bananas), fried butter, fried pecan pie, fried cheese, fried lemonade, chicken friend bacon, fried okra, fried s'mores, fried s'more Pop Tarts, fried chocolate, fried turkey legs, Cajun fried pork skins, fried Oreos, fried Snickers, fried peanut butter cup macaroons, fried honey buns, fried caramel apples, fried marshmallows, fried pralines, fried corn on the cob, Texas fried Fritos pie, fried alligator, fried grilled cheese, fried macaroni and cheese, fried peaches and cream, fried bananas, fried Nutter Butters, fried pepperoni pizza and fried piña coladas.
Now, we're particularly fond of our hearts so we elected to skip most of the things on this extensive (and rather horrifying) list, but we did try the fried cheesecake (awesome), the fried PBJ&B (pretty good), fried Oreos (awesome – like a donut with an Oreo inside) and the fried pepperoni pizza (pretty good). We also heard that the fried margaritas were pretty good (after our fried beer experience, we're skeptical), as were the s'more Pop Tarts and the Texas fried Fritos pie (which won a best-tasting award). Unless you plan on having a cardiologist on speed dial, however, we suggest narrowing your list to a few select dishes if you find yourself at the State Fair of Texas, or sampling several of the foods as part of a larger group.
With our bellies full, we headed to the Cotton Bowl for the 105th meeting of Texas and Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game Saturday afternoon. You can read more about the game on the Bullz-Eye Blog, complete with a collection of 20 photos from the experience, but needless to say that this intense rivalry game served as a fitting end to a memorable weekend in the Lone Star State. We witnessed one of college football's longest running grudge matches up close, we were treated to some foods we'd likely steer clear of in any other setting and, of course, we got an in-depth look at the luxuriously refined 2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn Edition.
Now if only we could get the taste of fried beer out of our mouths.
Click the first six thumbnails below to see full versions of each photo.