You know it’s going to be a good day when you start spotting custom cars cruising the streets at 9 a.m. as you roll into town for a major car show. You know it’s going to be a great day when the first person you run into at the registration site is none other than George Barris, King of the Kustomizers.
That’s the way last Saturday at the Leadsled Spectacular in Salina started off for me. Add to it the fact I was going to spend most of the day in the company of my brother and his son and even the prospects of another day of well over 100-degree heat couldn’t dampen my spirits.
Jerry Titus, the guy who runs Kustom Kemps of America and puts on four other KKOA events like Leadsled, said more than 1,600 mild-to-wild customs, hot rods, motorcycles, bikes and competition cars showed up.
"We ran out of arm bands T-shirt sacks and Visa slips. Every motel in Salina was booked," he said. "The cruise on Thursday night was great. Thousands of people turned out. The drag races were fantastic, with R.C. Williams’ twin-engine dragster smoking ’em up," he said.
As always, there were a lot of out-of-state cars on display in Oakdale Park. Nebraska, as usual, was especially well represented, as were Missouri, Colorado and, yes, Minnesota. That’s one of the great things about this show — getting to see vehicles you’ve never seen before, as well as many of your all-time Kansas favorites and the people who build and drive them.
"The KKOA working with the city of Salina is probably the best partnership in the country at the present time because they’re taking care of the true hot-rodders," Titus said.
Of the five shows he will produce this year, he said the Leadsled Spectacular is far and away the biggest draw, with the next highest car count being about 450 vehicles.
"This is the grand-daddy. It’s the big boy. Overall it was just one spectacular weekend," Titus said.
But I have to admit, I was pretty much pooped out and ready for the comfort of an air-conditioned ride home after 5 1/2 hours on my feet. My wife’s idea of finding a scooter or moped for cruising these gigantic shows is starting to sound better and better.
For those who couldn’t make it to the festivities, here’s a sampling of what my camera saw — plus a couple of shots graciously provided by my friend, Travis Scanlan, who made all four days of the Leadsled Spectacular. To see Travis’ full array of photos, go to www.royboyproductions.com.