The National Street Rod Association returned to Tampa on October 10-12, 2008, to host the 21st Southeast Nationals at the Florida State Fairgrounds located just off I-4. Starting with the 2007 event the vehicles eligible for this show was opened up from the traditional 1948 and older only, and now vehicles 30 years or older are invited - which for 2008 meant 1978 and earlier. As a result attendance went up dramatically last year to set a new record, and this year it held strong at 1,524 cars and trucks registered (down 144 from last year’s record, but there is also the current “bad economy” factor which is hard to know how it figured into the turnout, and people’s decisions to travel). Anyone that is familiar with the show from years ago would immediately notice the increase in vehicle turnout the last two years, as there are now vehicles parked in places where they didn’t used to be, and the rows down the main grounds are filled all the way down to the end of the property. There are also more people milling about, giving a festive atmosphere. It’s great!
Don’t worry that the show is changing too much though, as the majority of the cars and trucks still fall into the 1948 and older “street rod” category, and all of the great things from the past have stayed, including the swap meet area, air conditioned exhibitors building (where we have a booth set up for the magazine), NSRA Safety Inspections, the generous Super Prize Program that rewards participants with great items, model car contest, arts and crafts, and more.
One of the things we also look forward to every year is hanging out at the Crowne Plaza host hotel parking lot during the night, swapping stories and laughs with friends. We’ve had a lot of fun with a great group of guys and girls there over the years, and really appreciate the camaraderie. As anyone involved with cars will tell you, the vehicles are great, but it’s actually the people you meet along the way that you’ll enjoy the most throughout the years.
On Sunday morning the various vehicles that received “picks” were gathered in the designated Winners Circle area, and then at around 2:00pm the popular drive-thru awards presentation took place. This allows you to see the vehicles that received awards, in addition to hearing them rumble through like poetry in motion.
We’d like to once again thank the NSRA, the Tampa Knights host club, and everyone associated with this show (including the car owners!) for making it so much fun. This is one of the highlights for us every year, and we really do appreciate the effort that goes into making it run so smoothly for everyone involved.
The 2009 dates have already been announced, so you can mark October 9-11 on your calendar. For more info you can call the NSRA at 901-452-4030 or visit www.nsra-usa.com. If you have a vehicle that is 30 years or older, we’d love to see you there - having fun like the rest of us! CN