The heat was back, but the 34th annual Leadsled Spectacular still packed them in last weekend. The four-day custom auto extravaganza put on by the Kustom Kemps of America featured more custom cars, hot rods and classics than ever before, with 1,993 vehicles signed up by the time registration closed.
Dave Stuckey, one of Wichita’s nationally renowned custom car builders, was honored as Grand Marshal and received the first lifetime achievement award from KKOA at Rocky Burris’ pre-show picnic in Wichita. Stuckey endured a little good-natured ribbing from fellow customizers and was reunited with his canary yellow 1965 Pontiac Catalina radical custom, now owned by Larry Wolfe, who is in the process of restoring the car.
Thursday featured the traditional Crank-up Party at Bright Built Hot Rods west of Salina and the much-anticipated Santa Fe cruise, where hundreds of cars rolled slowly up and down Salina’s main downtown drag.
Oakdale Park quickly filled up with cool cars on an especially hot Friday, when temperatures reached a reported 109 degrees, but the sweltering heat still couldn’t get the participants or show-goers down. After a full day of events in the park, including autograph sessions with customizing icons and movie stars, the scene shifted to the East Crawford Park, where car owners matched off against each other in the informal “Run What Ya Brung” drag races on the old airstrip.
Saturday’s temperatures backed off a bit, and the crowds at the car show seemed to grow accordingly, with a full day at Oak Park, followed by a throwback concert to the days of Johnny Cash and Rick Nelson at the Stiefel Theatre.
Things began winding down on Sunday, with the awards ceremony wrapping things up before the show cars began firing up and heading for home.
Since no one can take in every single angle of such an encompassing event, we offer a quick photo look at some of the more outstanding scenes that caught our eye. Check out additional photos at our online gallery at www.kansas.com.