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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Tod Tompkins and Tim Mcconnico’s Tap Truck CenCal

May 29, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

What's On Tap?

June 2019
Story by Natalie Caudle
Photos courtesy of Tap Truck CenCal

FATHER AND SON Randy and Tod Tompkins spent the weekends traveling to professional bike races, competing for championship titles. Randy raced motorcycles while Tod raced BMX and motocross. Year after year, the duo loaded up their 1953 Chevy Panel with bikes and equipment, often returning home with victory titles. 

Randy, a skilled welder, bought the Chevy Panel at a local auction and transformed the former Sanger Unified lunch delivery truck with the help of his buddies and a few cases of beer. Not only was the truck an ideal everyday vehicle, it was the perfect storage transport for bikes of all sizes. In 1983, the Chevy Panel made a cross country journey to Nashville, where Tod earned the BMX World Title. Sadly, in 1989 when Tod was 12 years old, Randy passed away and the Chevy Panel was forgotten in a family-owned field for nearly three decades.

Almost 30 years later, in Paso Robles, Tod attended a 40th birthday celebration where Tap Truck, a mobile beverage bar, was serving drinks. Tod describes the moment it all clicked. “It was as if the clouds parted and my dad said, ‘You have to do this: my two favorite things, beer and the Panel.’” Tod called his friend, Tim McConnico, and the two educators and beer lovers joined forces: Tap Truck CenCal was born. 

McConnico and Tod met years ago through athletics. Both have a passion for education and a great love of beer; their friendship grew fast and deep. McConnico is a former school superintendent and current Fresno State University professor, while Tod wears many hats for Caruthers Unified School District as the director of special education, principal of the continuation high school and director of the adult school. A weekend hobby was a perfect escape from the daily grind. 

The bartending team invested in the Tap Truck franchise and has the rights to serve the Central Valley from Merced to the Grapevine. Tod sent the ‘53 Panel to San Diego to be restored and revamped. After eight months of customization, Tap Truck CenCal was ready for business. 

Wedding venues are a Tap Truck CenCal favorite. As a devoted family man, Tod enjoys the joy and significance of weddings. “The weddings are a blast. It’s fun to see the bride and groom’s excitement and see everything come together.” Not only does the truck serve guests wine or beer, but it often acts as a backdrop for pictures and an ideal conversation starter. When the father of the bride needs a breath of fresh air, Tod and McConnico are ready with a cold one and a listening ear. Weddings may be 80 percent of Tap Truck CenCal’s market, but the company is versatile. The business motto is simple: “If they keg it, we’ll tap it.” From beer to wine to soda pop, Tap Truck CenCal brings the premier beverage of choice to any event.

Locals are excited about the new beers Tap Truck CenCal brings to the Bluebird Home and Lifestyle Market in downtown Kingsburg. The mobile bar has linked up with local breweries and is exploring new tastes, styles and flavors. In the past, Tod’s usual beverage of choice was a glass of Blue Moon, due to availability and taste, but now he can’t pick a favorite. 

Tod and McConnico manage the company as a team. Tap Truck CenCal is run solely by the two owners, but receives plenty of help from willing friends. Most weekends, Tap Truck CenCal can be found around the Valley at private events with rustic backdrops like Merryman Station in Exeter or corporate celebrations at large venues such as the Rawhide Baseball Stadium in Visalia. The ‘53 Chevy Panel can go just about anywhere.

Tod honors the memory of his father with his business. The old truck sports a vanity license plate with Randy’s racing number, 398C. The truck and the company are a fun outlet for Tod, but it’s about something greater. “This is rewarding to me. That truck is important to me and
my family. It makes me proud that my dad’s truck is
giving back.” 

Tap Truck CenCal is more than a company that offers a classic good time. It’s a business rooted in family, honoring a man who was a good friend and father. •

Tap Truck CenCal

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