The Gathering at the Roc 2022

I remember the Rod Runs my dad took me to when I was a kid. Back before the big budget car shows of today. They usually took place in some type of park or natural setting instead of a parking lot or speedway. A small number of like-minded cars in a small intimate space. These usually didn’t have many cars, at most a few hundred. The Gathering at the Roc really captures this feeling. Hosted in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, it’s just the perfect location. Central to most anyone willing to take a drive.

Downtown is small enough to have that small town feel with very little traffic, but still with plenty of bars and restaurants to serve a rowdy group of car folks. The evenings are spent in the host hotel parking lot, that is if you can get a space. They pack it full at night with only the coolest of attendees telling lies while all the towns amenities are within walking distance. This is a real bonus since your pretty much blocked in for the night.

The Friday Reliability Run is my favorite part. Hot rods and customs are always cooler in motion and the promoters put together a nice little day trip through the Osage Hills with several small welcoming towns as stops along the way. In between these towns is nothing but rolling hills sparsely populated with an occasional oil well or head of cattle. Perfect two lane roads and little to no traffic. One can lose sense of what year it is when surrounded by this relatively untouched scenic country following nothing but vintage cars.

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Saturday takes place at the shows name sake, Woolaroc, which is a wildlife preserve and Museum just outside of Bartlesville. What started out as the ranch retreat for oilman, Frank Phillips, is now a 3,700-acre wildlife preserve with over 30 species roaming freely on the grounds. They couldn’t have come up with a better back drop to showcase some of the best hot rods and customs from across the county. Just in case you got bored with cars, there is an outstanding western themed museum with everything from local Indian artifacts to a race winning monoplane, not to mention the world’s largest Colt firearms collection.

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While winning a trophy has never been a reason high on my list to attend a show, the crew at the Gathering at the Roc, along with various contributors, really put some effort into the awards. Each trophy is handmade, no two is alike, even from year to year. One especially so is the People’s Choice award. Win this, chosen by other attendees of course, and you have to build the trophy for next year. The bar gets higher every year.

If you’re into hot rods and customs and want to get away somewhere with a small-town feel, The Gathering at the Roc is a must attend event. While it’s an invitational only, you won’t meet a stranger there.

The Gathering at the Roc 2022 Photo Extra!

Photos by Robert McCarter | Video by John Jackson

Born and raised in the racing-rich confines of Charlotte, North Carolina, Robert McCarter is a lifelong car nut. His life revolves around it. Best of all, he is self-taught in all of his disciplines. Creative photography came first. Automotive concept design came soon after. He also possesses old world hot rod craftsman abilities reflected in his hi-level upholstery work. Evenings and weekends are solely dedicated to driving, tuning and tweaking his homebuilt ’32 Ford roadster or his pristine ’66 Nova. His deuce roadster has traversed the country on numerous coast-to-coast hair-blowing boogies. He now adds story-teller to his repertoire with his editorial work reflected her on our pages.