If one word could capture the essence of the 22nd Annual NSRA Southeast Nationals for 2009 it would be “Hot”. That could apply to the hot looking cars on hand, and certainly to the hot temperatures. Weather in the sunshine state has been a bit unpredictable, with record setting freezing cold temperatures happening during December, but for October 9th-11th it was certainly hotter than usual. I can’t remember this show being so hot before....but at least it was rain free. I’ll take hot over hurricanes any day, that’s for sure! Despite the sweltering temps everyone certainly made the best of it, and had a great time at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
The 2007 event marked the transition for this show to be open to not only 1948 and older vehicles, but also to those 30 years and older, meaning that 1979 and older were eligible during 2009. While this has increased the registered vehicle attendance numbers and the diversity of the event, I’d guess that about 3/4 of the vehicles still fall into the ‘48 and older slot. The final registration number was 1,448 vehicles, so that meant plenty of great cars and trucks to see all over the Fairgrounds.
With the hot temperatures, many people were finding refuge during some part of the day inside the air conditioned exhibitors building (where we had a booth set up), though I think the Fairgrounds must have bumped the thermostat up a bit compared to previous shows because it wasn’t quite the oasis it had been in the past. Other always noteworthy and enjoyable aspects of the show remained strong, including the swap meet area, NSRA Safety Inspections, the always popular Super Prize Program, model car contest, arts and crafts exhibitors, and more.
Friday and Saturday were jam packed for us, taking lots of event coverage pictures, shooting a couple of cover cars, checking everything out, talking to lots of old friends, and making some new ones along the way. The activities at the Fairgrounds were not limited to just the daytime, as there were also evening activities taking place there as well. However, we spent our evenings at the Crowne Plaza host hotel parking lot, hanging out, looking at more cars, and swapping stories. Unfortunately some of our close friends couldn’t make it this year, but we still had a great time during the evenings, and look forward to their company again during the 2010 Southeast Nats.
The arrival of Sunday meant that those vehicles picked for various awards were gathered in the special Winners Circle area. As has been the tradition for countless years, the awards that started at around 2:00pm included cool drive-thru presentations. This process allows everyone to gather around, and see the vehicle driven through the main area while the owner stops to receive their various award. Not only can you see all the cool vehicles in motion, you can hear them as well, which obviously adds to the excitement for any auto enthusiast.
Many thanks once again go out to the National Street Rod Association, the Tampa Knights host club, and all the other clubs that volunteered, for putting on another great Southeast Nats. You can always count on this show being packed full of fun! For more info about the 2010 show, which will take place on October 8th-10th and be open to 1980 and older vehicles, you can call 574-875-4032 or visit www.nsra-usa.com. CN