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Car Show: 56th Annual Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Car Show

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56th Annual Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Car Show

Tulsa, OK
Friday, February 14, 2020
Photos by: Allen Smith

If you’ve been around this hobby for any period of time, you’ve certainly heard the name Darryl Starbird. This car-customizing icon has been building show-stopping vehicles for well over 60 years and is known as the “Bubble Top King.” A few years, back Darryl handed the torch to his children, Cliff Starbird and Cristy Starbird-Bledsoe, to carry on the car show tradition. Both are no strangers to the industry and have years of experience in show production. Darryl is still involved and very much present at the shows but “The Next Generation” has arrived and will take these shows well into the future.

These annual shows are a glimpse into the future of automotive entertainment. Car shows come and go but the good ones evolve. The 56th Annual Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Car Show checks all the boxes for an epic event. It is held at the River Spirit Expo at Expo Square Fairgrounds in Tulsa, OK. There are two levels of racecars, motorcycles, classic cars, muscle cars, custom cars and trucks and so much more.

The upper level has plenty of vintage iron on display, including “The Fine Nine” that are competing for the “Go ForThe Gold” award. Brent Maxwell took home the honors for 2020 with his outstanding 1957 Studebaker truck. The upper level also had the famous “Red Baron” built by Chuck Miller and “Lil Coffin” built by Dave Stuckey and later rebuilt by Darryl Starbird on display. Darryl and Chuck were on hand to take pictures and sign autographs too. There were bubble top cars, street rods, vintage campers and every make and model of car or truck made. The upper level was also home to some side-by-side action of valve cover racing with some pretty cool looking racers and an entertainment stage that featured live music all weekend.

Celebrating the traditional rod and kustom kulture for its fourth year is the “Rockin’ Billy Bash” on the lower level of the expo. Down here, you will find a whole other world of controlled chaos and I mean this in a very respectful and good way. On the floor are gassers, old school hot rods, kustoms, rat rods, classics, antiques and some clever and unique rolling sculptures. The action arena is also on the lower level and full of action all the time, with demolition derby, mini bike drag racing, flame throwing and freestyle burnouts. There was even some car crushing history made with the return of the “Frankenstein” and “Monster Vette” monster trucks tearing up the arena after a 30-something year slumber and joining in the fun and destruction were “Predator” and “Earthquake III”.

The excitement does not stop and continues all weekend with the craziest downhill derby that you just have to see for yourself, kids’ pedal car races, model car competition, pinup contest, tattoo expo (yes, you could get inked right there by some of the best tattoo artists from Geek Ink Tattoo) and a live kustom build was also cool to watch as Top Cat Customs from Dewy, OK., Chad’s Custom Dreams from Saluda, SC chopped the top on a 1949 Pontiac 2-door sedan with the help of Tulsa Welding School apprentices. I could go on and on because there was so much happening during this event.

This is a three-day car extravaganza that every automotive enthusiast should experience at least once in their life time. The event is extremely entertaining, lots of fun and family friendly. The hospitality in Oklahoma was second to none and for future car show goers, “The Next Generation” is sure to “wow” you.

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