Summer has officially arrived, and with the season comes all sorts of outdoor get togethers and events to attend – have some fun and score some vitamin d while your at it, right?
I’ll get looks (not good ones!) for the admission but…I’m not a huge beach person. What I mean but that is, I won’t spend the day there doing zero no matter how much fun it is to everyone else. Slathering myself in oils to lay there and cook like a chicken doesn’t work for me… But! . . . I do love being outside, being active, and doing something exciting.
This year, I had to good fortune to attend the Race Of Gentlemen in Wildwood, New Jersey, as part of the American Hot Rod Foundation crew. One of the best parts was that my fiancé came along with me – how awesome to have him be a part of something my family is passionate about, and to have him meet the gang. ❤
“AHRF” began back in 2002 in the hopes of preserving and promoting hot rod history. The founders recognized the dire need to document the pioneers of the hot rod movement, as many of them (at that time) were approaching (if not already in) their 80s and older. The risk of losing the precious history and first-hand stories was far to great to do nothing about it – and so the Foundation was born.
We have sadly lost many of these pioneers in the last decade, but with over 100,000 photos (most of them also digitized by AHRF), 350 hours of original footage, and countless hours of audio, AHRF hopes to keep them – and their incredible contributions – alive.
The word “history” may seem dry – I can’t say that I loved most “history” as a student back in the day either. But then the reality is that many of the kids today – generations removed from the pioneers in some cases – are endeavoring to be exactly what those guys were. So learning the history gets them that much closer – it explains not only the birth of certain ideas, but the inspirations and innovations that may have led to them via, of course, the words from the men themselves.
There are TONS of events each year, but we always try to hit the larger ones – Grand National Roadster Show, L.A. Roadster Show, and Hot Rod Reunion, for example. We love having a presence when we are able – it gives us a nice landing spot to set up, talk to the awesome crowd, and (hopefully) infect a few more with the history of it all!
The Race Of Gentlemen was holding its fifth event in Wildwood this year, so while it definitely has amped up, it isn’t as overwhelming or enormous as others. The benefit is that you can catch up with the people you are hoping to see, and have enough face to face with those who might have questions. You can also get much closer to the races than you can at other shindigs (at the Roadster Show, you are often higher up in the stands – here, you were atop a mound of sand in a crowd, but pretty darn close.)
One of the key reasons TROG stands out is that it is run on the beach. Literally. The racers gear up and blast down the sand dragway, adding a whole other element to the (incredibly friendly) competition. Of course, sand isn’t quite as quick and slick, but it’s certainly a lot of fun.
The community is one of the reasons I love hot rod events – super down to earth, interested, enthusiastic…respectful. How about this trash can at the parking lot party the night before?! Nary a bottle or can on the ground. 🙂
It’s a great group to be around, and of course there is ALL sorts of amazing eye candy. The innovations and creativity that go into the vehicles – bikes and autos alike – is something to behold, and always cool to hear about.
I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to attend, but also to have been introduced to this crowd some years ago by my father. It’s always a good time, and being outside on a breezy summer day made it especially awesome. The rain held off the second day too – knowing, I think, that everyone was having so much fun.