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October-December Event Coverage

35th Annual Street Rod Nationals: August 5-7, 2004
Photographs and Text by J.R. Janicek

35th Annual Street Rod Nationals

The 35th NSRA Street Rod Nationals, held annually at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the world's largest automotive events. Who can argue that fact with over 11,524 registered participants and 490,000-square-foot of vendor space (indoors and outdoors) combined! The weather couldn't have been better with nothing but sunshine for the four day event. There is no doubt in our minds that this show will be one set for the record books as one of the best Nationals ever, since its inception! With street rods coming form every corner of the United States and Canada, you can understand why this event is the Super Bowl for the street rodder crowd.

When the entrance to the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, opened for this massive event, it was no surprise to us to see street rods coming through the gate in droves. This set the scenario for the rest of the show. lots and lots of street rods and very few areas of open asphalt!

Though the NSRA Street Rod Nationals is all about street rods, it is more than just a large (may we mention very large) auto show. In attendance were: over 335 manufacturer displays, 160 new items were viewable up close for the first time in the new products area, an enormous swap meet was filled with cars, collectibles, and other treasures, General Motors Corporation featured specialty vehicles, street rod seminars, a 29 and below show that featured vehicles owned by the next generation of street rodders, and finally the Women's World loaded with arts and crafts, jewelry, casual apparel, and tons of novelties was also in attendance as well. Also featured at the show were games, free vehicle safety inspections and weighing, live entertainment, buses to shopping malls, a church service, and trams to help everyone move from place to place with ease. On Saturday afternoon, inside Freedom Hall, the NSRA gave away a brand new, bright yellow, 1930 Ford roadster pickup (built by Gary Mussman of Cornhusker Rod & Custom in Alexandria, Nebraska) which was won by Richard Geis from Zoar, Ohio.

On Sunday, the NSRA concluded the 35th Annual Street Rod Nationals with an awards ceremony. A "Circle of Winners" display was set up inside Freedom Hall in which 41 of the top street rods in the show were hand picked for awards such as: NSRA State Representative and Safety Division Picks, Rod & Custom Magazine "Pro's Pick", PPG "Outstanding Use Of Color" awards, the UPS "Commercial Way" winners, the "Molar Country" winners, and the Long Distance awards (which was given to a participant from California and Quebec, Canada).

After the awards ceremony, $100,900 worth of prizes were given away along with the special prize of a Backyard Buddy lift. After the awards program concluded, the crowd still lingered a little longer to take in the vast amounts of hot rods, good weather, and good people. There is no doubt in our minds, here at ESM, that we will have to take another trip next year to the bluegrass state and mix ourselves in with the street rod crowd at the 36th NSRA Street Rod Nationals which will be in Louisville August 4-7, 2005. Until then...

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