After the rough hurricane season weve had this year in the sunshine state there was no doubt that auto enthusiasts of all kinds were looking forward to good weather and being able to have fun with their vehicle. For those that own or admire 1948 and older rides things looked up as the NSRAs 17th Annual Southeast Street Rod Nationals came to Tampa. This annual event drew about 1,200 vehicles, and lots more smiling faces to the Tampa Fairgrounds, and walking through the rows of shiny painted bodies and glimmering chrome accents it was easy to get back into the zone, and forget the hurricanes.
The gates of the Fairgrounds opened at 8:00 am on Friday, and at 10:00 am the Tampa Knights host club invited all those that were interested to partake in a poker run / cruise. The rest of the day everyone spent time checking out all the cool cars and trucks, swapping stories, and listening to the old songs broadcast from the Cruisin With Wings trailer. Inside the air conditioned exhibitor building were many companies and manufacturers showing off their products and services....including a booth set up by us here at Mike Kellys Cruise News giving away complimentary issues and taking subscriptions. At the end of the day everyone was invited to the Kick-Off Party at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom, with live rock n roll by the Even Stevens band.
On Saturday the fun somehow kicked into a higher gear as everyone came back out to the Fairgrounds. One of the features was the Streets Of Rods, in which participating vehicles were parked in various categories, with picks being made by the category sponsors. These included the one we at Mike Kellys Cruise News sponsored, Convertible Corner (for all soft-top entries with roll up windows), plus 29 Below (open to entrants age 29 and under), Four Door Drive, Lil Haulers (for those with tag-a-long trailers), Roadster Roundup, and Tu-Tone Turnpike. Let me tell you, it was hard for us to pick just one of the many great cars in our Convertible Corner to honor, but in the end we decided on Teresa and Ron Hess red 1948 Buick convertible. Other activities that took place on Saturday included a model car contest, club banner contest, NSRA vehicle safety inspections, games for adults and kids, plus a building full of arts and crafts. Saturday night there was a lyp sync contest, plus Rock-n-Roll with Boomerz featuring doo-wop.
On Sunday, as usual, the various award winners were gathered in one area, allowing everyone to check them out easily before they drove through the main stage area during the presentations starting at 2:00 pm. This is always an exciting part of the show, and you not only get to see some great cars and trucks....you get to see them in motion! Also, the remainder of the $100,000+ Super Prize Program goodies were handed out, and a Chevy Colorado Pickup was given away to one lucky participant. When you think about it, with all the prizes you can win, the many awards given out, plus a 1/1,200 or so chance to win a new truck, lots of people went home with more than just a smile and fond memories.
The National Street Rod Association and all the volunteers did another great job of making this event go as smooth as it always does. Volunteers included the Tampa Knights host club, MAGS who handled the model car contest, and the clubs that hosted the games; the Central Florida Street Rod Association, Early Irons, Rods and Rides, and the Osceola Rodders.
We look forward to another great Southeast Street Rod Nationals next year, but this time hope that the word hurricane can in no was be associated with the reasons for wanting to blow off a little steam with some street rods. The dates for next year have already been set, and we hope youll join us at the Tampa Fairgrounds on October 14-16, 2005 for the 18th Annual event. For more info call 574-875-4032 or visit www.nsra-usa.com. CN