We are always excited when the Southeast Street Rod Nationals come rolling around. This years 16th Annual edition took place on October 10th - 12th, 2003, once again of course at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
After setting up our booth inside the exhibitor building on Thursday and meeting some of the other vendors, the event got underway at 8:00 am on Friday when the beautiful 1948 and older street rods rolled onto the grounds. While checking out the cars and trucks was the focus of the day, for us it was just a teaser. The many pictures to be taken would mainly happen on Saturday. The Tampa Knights host club held their poker run / cruise starting at 10:00 am on Friday, with participants traveling a scenic route while playing their hand (poker faces were optional, and smiles were the norm). Plus, once again the Friday night Kick-Off Party at the host hotel was basically a show in and of itself, with an estimated 200+ street rods and countless happy rodders. In fact, we never actually made it inside the building itself, what with all the cool rides to check out, and friends to catch up with that we came across outside.
On Saturday things were really crankin, with 1,232 registered vehicles to gander. Sam Trent helped us out by shooting some future cover cars, which left me free to really do the event coverage pictures up right. Still, between also checking out the swap meet, inside vendors, arts and crafts, and the games (hosted by the Central Florida Street Rod Assoc., Early Irons, Osceola Rodders and Rods & Rides) there was enough to keep me plenty busy. Plus, we sponsored Fat Fender Freeway in the Streets Of Rods section this year, and had to narrow down all the great entries to just one winner. Not an easy decision, to say the least. We went with J.W. and Ginger Williams 1939 Ford Sedan, which had so many mods throughout that no description can do it justice...you just have to see it for yourself. Saturday night there was a lip synch contest starting at 7:30 pm, followed by live music by Blind Mice to bring the days festivities to an end.
Sunday 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. The remainder of the $100,000+ Super Prize Program goodies were handed out, and a Chevy S-10 Pickup was given away to one lucky participant. With all those awards and prizes everyone went home with more then they came with, even if that only included smiles and memories.
Once again all the folks with the National Street Rod Association and the many volunteers, including the various car clubs, did a much appreciated job of ensuring a good time for everyone in attendance. This is a big reason why many are already looking forward to next years trek to Tampa. The dates have already been set for October 8-10, 2004, so make your plans early. For more information you can visit www.nsra-usa.com, or call 303-776-7841. CN