Cruise The Grid (CTG):
CTG is an organization which is established in El Paso with the purpose of providing safe and entertaining venues for vehicle enthusiasts. They have established an effective means of centralizing a majority of vehicles owners who not only modify their vehicles, but who chose to display them at the CTG venues with the aid of Projekt Cars (automotive marketing company). In addition to providing a venue for said vehicle, CTG has also participated in many charitable fund raisers and events since it’s creation in 2012. Due to their strong involvement within the El Paso community, Southwest University agreed to fully sponsor CTG and their events.
CTG is not an original idea in El Paso, the first iteration of groups meeting up to discuss / showcase / enjoy enthusiast vehicles dates back beyond the origination of the Lowrider here in El Paso, circa 1930. As discussed in PAS Blog “The Mirage” (http://blogs.pasmag.com/entry/the-mirage), El Paso area is the originator of the Lowrider’s; the OG’s of cruising. This movement has then spawned other modification numerous to vehicles (suicide doors / engine swaps / pinstriping / suede interiors / full audio / video systems / cambered suspension), all of which have allowed the owner to pour his essence into his mode of transportation.
Due to it’s deep roots in vehicle modifications, the El Paso community has always sought a location to meet and enjoy the current vehicle trends. In the 1980’s it was centered around the Toy-R-Us parking lot and Escarate Park, east side of El Paso. In early 2000, the enthusiast used Lee Trevino as a “cruising” street, and would meet in the large parking areas along the road. What is unfortunate is that these venues have been seen as a nuisance for some, and in many occasions, the local authorities are called to separate the meets. Granted, there are always a few bad apples in a bunch who may decide to allow their testosterone to get the best of them and want to race, but for the most part, 95% of the “cruisers” just request and area to meet and socialize with fellow enthusiasts.
Enter current times, and another “Cruise” is established in El Paso at the Fox Plaza parking lot in the cetral part of the city. Although the location was horrid, had inadequate lighting, emitted putrid smells from the sewer, and was maintained by a staff only interested in making money from the enthusiasts, it was a place to meet. Being a native of El Paso, Gabriela Vargas visited the location several times, fulfilling request from her teenage children to view the vehicles who would visit Fox Plaza. She was appalled to say the very least, even more so with the rate the members were charged to congregate at the location. She decided to use her connections with Cowtown boots, and the promotional experience from Curtis Henderson, input from the enthusiasts to develop a family orientated cruise, and dubbed it “Cruise the Grid”.
The first iteration of “Cruise the Grid” started in September of 2012 at Cowtown boots, located in the East side of El Paso at 11401 Gateway Blvd W. Mrs. Vargas’ main concern was to establish the venue as a safe environment for her kids, and an enjoyable place for the enthusiasts. Since the first Wednesday and Sunday nights in September, “Cruise the Grid” has participated in many fund raising events helping several members and groups of the El Paso community. They have organized sponsors to donate products to the enthusiasts, and have even helped defray the cost for some to compete in National events. “Cruise the Grid” is now considered the premier name for the vehicular community to meet. They have outgrown their current location at Oasis Lanes, 1660 N Zaragoza Rd, and now have a much larger venue to facilitate the positive gathering of enthusiasts with over 800 parking spaces in a fenced in Industrial Park.
Gabriela Vargas and Curtis Henderson are the managers for operations during the “Cruise the Grid” nights (Wednesday and Sunday). Their current CTG staff consists of the following:
Door personnel - Three; receiving the attendee charge for parking, dispensing numbered tickets
Exit Personne l- Two; traffic control and road guidance
Security - Six plus an uniformed policeman; relaying any issues back to managers
Promotional Group - Three; passing out flyers, discounts, certificates
Marketing - Carlos Molina; social media, flyer generation, out of town event organization, magazine link
Curtis Henderson - In 1996 he entered the afterhour’s night club business learning operations and band bookings. A year later, he decided to move-up in the industry through event promotions and joined a record label for small track acts in 1999. Curtis later was enlisted to run full management operations for club 101, when it was located in downtown El Paso. His career accelerated a year later with placement into a national tour with bands such as American Rejects. This experience catapulted him into the industry with SONY Entertainment. He became the free-lance touring manager for Enriquez Iglesias and the very popular Pit Bull recording artist. Mr Henderson is still outsourced to organize events such as CoChela and organizing gigs for bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but his main focus is now “Cruise the Grid”.
Gabriela Vargas - Is a full-time mother of two teenagers who has worked in both office and operations management. Additional experience includes working for the YWCA as a Teacher , graphic designer and secretary administrator for First Christian Church, a volunteer at the EPISD, and a Teacher for the ESL adult classes. Her main drive is to provide a stable environment for her children to grow and become productive members of society. Due to her “motherly” nature, she is seen as the surrogate mother for many of the enthusiasts. She is constantly trying to pursue ideas to help the enthusiasts in their tuning goals, and welcomes all fund raisers which help the community. Mrs. Vargas plays a pivotal role in “mothering” the enthusiast, and is a prime reason the environment of “Cruise the Grid” is calm and without altercations.
Cruise the Grid | https://www.facebook.com/CRUISETHEGRID
Southwest University | https://www.facebook.com/SouthwestUniversityatElPaso?fref=ts
Projekt Cars | https://www.facebook.com/ProjektCars