The dust has settled, the empties have been picked up, and we’re on the backside of the two shows we were telling you about last month. In case you missed that story, we’re talking about the 17th Annual Ventura Nationals and Southern Throwdown 7. Two different shows, two different weekends, two different parts of the country but all one helluva good time.
The 17th Annual Ventura Nationals took place Labor Day Weekend, Friday August 30th through Sunday, September 1st in Ventura, CA. It was a hotrod-heavy weekend in the state’s sunny south. The Friday night kickoff party took over way more than just the short section of South Chestnut Street—it pretty much dominated the entirety of downtown Ventura. For over four hours, there was a steady line of custom cars, bikes, and hot rods all unofficially cruising up and down Main Street. The sidewalks were full, the restaurants were packed, and the blocked-off section of the street for specialty show car parking was totally stacked. The kickoff party and art show at the Majestic Ventura Theater was proving to be a great start to the holiday weekend for all the show-goers.
At 9 a.m. on Saturday, the gates officially opened and the show went into full swing. With over 800 cars in attendance and long lines of folks waiting to come through the gates, the show was looking to be a total ringer. The San Miguel Hall and the Anacapa Hall were both set up with some great attractions. As attendees entered, they were in for something a little different. For the first time, the art show from the night before was brought to the fairgrounds. This gave visitors the chance to see what was on display and for sale from the 20-plus artists who attended the show. One of the first setups in immediate view was this year’s chosen artist, Rob Struven, who brought a full display and welcomed fans. Rob brought his chopped 1940 Merc, six original paintings to share, and the original painting used to create the 2019 Ventura Nationals artwork. There were also select vendors and cars mixed in to really round out the display. The Anacapa Hall hosted Hop Up Magazine with a chosen group of traditional hot rods and early customs.
Outside, the weather could not have been more of a relief. The ocean fog rolling in and out gave the day that cool beach feel, greeting locals as well as visitors from Arizona, Vegas, and Washington State. Vehicles included the original Cheech and Chong low-rider Chevy Impala from “Up in Smoke.” The owner was super cool, and if you wanted to take a seat behind the wheel, he’d gladly open the door. Visitors were also treated to a fully customized, painted, polished, and airbrushed semi truck with a loaded flatbed trailer hauling three show cars. The 1959 Impala, 1958 Impala, and 1964 Nova were among the first cars you saw as you entered the show.
Of course, the big buzz of the show was the sixth annual Lost Angels Children’s project Custom Car Giveaway. The winning ticket for the 1959 El Camino was held by Joey Alvarado from Watsonville, California. Talk about stoked! You can be sure everyone’s eyes are going to be peeled for next year’s raffle car.
Overall, the show was a total blast. You could hang at the show all day and really geek out—or if you were smart enough to drag your stick along, you could slip out and head to the beach for some quick surfing at Surfers Point, which is super close by.
On Sunday, there was a great turnout for the Reliability Run that wrapped up the weekend’s festivities, with around 100 cars showing up bright and early. Everyone was greeted by show coordinator Holly with a few dozen donuts and miles of smiles. Cars were parked all the way around Plaza Park, lining both sides of the street. The route had everyone taking off and heading north on the 101 to cruise up the coastline, around Lake Casitas, and back down into Ventura. The first stop on the run was at Noble Fabrication for an open house and fundraiser with a hot dog cart serving dogs, people handing out free cold beer, a live band, and a street full of cars, followed by the second stop at the Murphy Auto Museum open house in Oxnard, then wrapping up and heading back to Ventura.
A couple weeks later, we arrived at the Southern Throwdown 7, Vintage Motorcycle & Van Show at The World Famous Bomb Factory located in Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX. Now, there are a couple certainties that come along with going to Dallas: the tamales are gonna be awesome, and when it’s hot, it’s humid. Sunday, September 15th was no exception to this, but that didn’t stop the good times from rollin’. Rider bikes parked out front, show bikes inside in the air conditioning, and all the vans for the van show in the parking lot out back. It gave you a good set up to get out of the heat, see some way bitchin’ show bikes and vendors, cool off to the point of needing warmth, then head out back to see some seriously custom chariots in the van show, where Jimmie Z. Soto took the award for “Most Bad Ass Van 2019”—all while carrying your favorite libation to keep that thirst quenched.
Like the Ventura Nationals, the Southern Throwdown had some great fundraising opportunities to benefit their charity of choice, The True South Relief Foundation, which has been helping motorcyclists or bicyclists who have been in accidents and need assistance while they’re out of work. David Steed won the 2001 Harley-Davidson FXR Dyna Lowrider presented by Dream Machines of Texas that was raffled off.
If that sense of traditional American custom car culture is what you crave, one of these two shows is sure to have something you’d dig, whether it’s cars, bikes, vans, trucks, lowriders, stockers, hot rods, or customs.
For more information on either of these shows, check out www.venturanationals.com, www.southernthrowdown.com or go to their instagram accounts @ventura_nationals, @southernthrowdowntexas.