Hot August Nights Reno – Little City, Big Show!
Hot August Nights Reno (HAN) is one of those iconic events that rodders will say they’ve been to or want to go to. This year the show celebrated its 32nd Anniversary with countless customized cars in attendance and steady crowds. To give you an idea of the size of HAN, it’s a week long event that basically takes over two metropolitan cities.
There are almost 300 different events to attend throughout the week making for nonstop excitement. Both Reno and Sparks, Nevada barricade their main streets to hold show & shines during the day, and cruises at night. The many local hotels in the area hold their own show & shines and cruises as well.
I usually show up on Thursday or Friday and enjoy the last few days of the show. By staying in one of the downtown Reno hotels I’m able to drive my car into the parking lot and leave it sitting there until it’s time to leave on Sunday. It’s handy and allows easy access to Friday and Saturday show & shines along Virginia Street during the day, and the cruising at night. There is also live bands, show vendors, the National Automobile Museum, and the Hot August Nights Cup car show all within walking distance. On Sunday morning the awards ceremony and final parade of cars is right outside the hotel’s front doors!
The atmosphere here needs to be experienced firsthand. Once you have, you’ll see what it’s all about. It’s unusual for an event to take over a whole city, so if you’re in the elevator at the hotel, chances are everyone in that elevator is into cars. When you’re in the restaurant you’re eating with a bunch of car guys! I guess that can be good and bad. LOL
The fact that Hot August Nights Reno is a week long event usually means that the whole family is in attendance. HAN is a very family oriented event. The one place I noticed it the most was at the nightly cruise. Smiling kids often filled the back seat of cars, and I can’t help but think this will become a lifetime memory for them. Maybe even turn them into future rodders.
Across the street from our hotel is the Reno Ballroom, a large, carpeted, comfortable hall where they hold the Hot August Nights Cup presented by Downtown Reno and in partnership with VisitReno.com. The car show claim’s that it has one of the largest prize purses in the nation with the Best of Show alone taking home more than $30,000.00 in cash and prizes. Pretty stout!
While the field was promoted as “40 of the world’s elite restored and modified cars” less than half made it to the show for any number of reasons. The one’s that did show up were unquestionably some of the best cars in the country. On Saturday after a full week of display, the judges announced the “Final Five” for the HAN Cup. Rumors and predictions filled the hall with the crowd leaning towards ether the 1958 Lincoln Continental “Maybellene” owned by Sue and Tad Leach (built by Kindigit Design, Utah), or the 1933 Ford “Renaissance Roadster” owned by Nancy and Buddy Jordan (and built by Steve’s Auto Restorations, Oregon). Some insiders also liked Brian George’s ’31 Model A Roadster, Robert Smith’s ’36 Pontiac by Legens Hot Rod Shop and a killer ’57 Ford by Wicked Fabrications. Others that caught our eye was the Ringbrothers “G-Code” ’69 Camaro, and Vic Buraglio’s 1969 Dodge Charger by BBT Fab.
After much hype and tense owners, the winners were announced on Virginia Street in front of a huge crowd. Buddy and Nancy Jordan’s “Renaissance Roadster” 1933 Ford would go home with HAN Cup trophy, and with that – Steve Frisbie also received the Top Builder award.
After the big announcement, the crowds dispersed, the confetti was swept up and the masses headed back to reality after a wide open week of fun.