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Car Show: 51st NSRA Nationals

51st NSRA Nationals

Louisville, KY
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Photos by: Gary Rosier

I was lucky enough to attend, for the first time, the 51st annual Street Rod Nationals. It was held for the 26th year in a row, August 6-9th, at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, KY. 
I had heard about this event and my interest was always there, but as usual, work and life in general seemed to get in the way. However, NOT this year, which is really strange given the fact the whole world is in the grip of a pandemic, but I was determined! The "yellow brick road of life" I like to call it isn't getting any longer!
Undaunted, I drove from Daytona Beach to this event, over hill and dale - through pouring rain, fog too, but arrived safely after many hours of driving. I stayed at a very nice KOA Campground (South) in a cabin that was only 20 minutes down I-65 so very easy to get to. I was assured by Jim Rowlett, Marketing Director of the NSRA, that the KEC had provided many hand wash stations and sanitizer throughout the grounds (they were everywhere!) and were following the CDC guidelines. 
I finally arrived late on the afternoon of the 6th.  I immediately signed in to the media center, picked up some goodies (water and a snack) and headed out to the grounds. I was like a kid in the candy store - street rods were everywhere! Glad I had several days to walk the grounds because there was so much to do and see. 
I saw people cleaning, wearing masks (you couldn't enter the various halls without one!), keeping the CDC and state guidelines of social distancing, signage and more in place. This NSRA event was not going down without a fight and everything in their power was done to accomplish a safe and welcoming event to so many.
The first thing that really struck me were the enormous halls. This is where the builders displayed their vehicles, built specifically for this show, called "The Builders Showcase." I wondered how many street rods would show up, anything over 500 would be a treat I thought. Jim told me the count each day and eventually they ended up with over 7400 vehicles registered. I was elated and couldn't wait to get out on the grounds!
Street Rods were parked everywhere, some were in open-air tents that had been erected while others were parked in the various lots and alongside curbs and on the grasses/fields. No - it wasn't another record year - but considering the situation it was a fantastic turnout. The level of enthusiasm was off the charts! Everyone was so friendly, glad to be out and about and enjoying what the hobby is all about - checking everyone's cars out, seeing new ideas, builds and most of all just enjoying the camaraderie of their fellow rodders. It really was like family, everyone was so courteous and welcoming.
One nice thing was that the Halls and exhibit areas inside were all air-conditioned. While it wasn't extraordinarily hot, the weather was as perfect as you could get, like as in - no rain! Cooler nights and daytime temperatures in the 80's made it all the more enjoyable, with plenty of places to get in out of the warm afternoon sun.
I picked up my special Souvenir Program which spelled out all the locations, a Fairgrounds map, a list of exhibitors, advertisers and daily breakdown of the scheduled events. The "Circle of Winners", some of the best cars picked for various awards, were gathered up in the Freedom Hall and awarded their respective awards on Sunday as well as their giveaway 32 Ford Roadster built by Show Me Rod and Custom in Nixa, MO was given away Saturday afternoon to a lucky registered winner. 
You owe it to yourself to come to a NSRA event if you ever get the chance. I drove a long way to see this and was not disappointed. As they say at the NSRA "Welcome to the Wonderful World of Rodding" and it certainly was a GREAT four days of "Fun with Cars!"
Click on any photo for slideshow

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