The Perfect Storm
So it’s early Friday morning and Marcie and I had just finished setting up the Jalopy Journal booth at the Expo Center. Rain was coming down in sheets, hitting the roof of the newly reorganized Expo Barn, and rolling off the edges to form four walls of water. It was an absolute disaster. Who wants to get their cars out in this? Who in the hell in their right minds would even bother leaving the house or their hotel just to get wet and water logged? To add to the disappointment, the weather reports were not looking good for the rest of that day or the next either. I admit it, I was bummed.
Of course, due to the rain the stage was moved under the barn as well. The Horton Brothers kicked things off early, but their set was interupted by a thunderous lightening strike that killed power to our 4-acre shelter.
Shit. Shit. Shit!
After 45 minutes or so, power was salvaged and T-Bird and the Breaks graciously took the stage – all 12 of them. That’s when something happened… The funkadelic music got folks stomping their toes a bit, the tense air lifted, the mini-bikes roared, and folks just started to take the natural events around them in stride. It wasn’t long before the ever pessimistic car show organizer, Will Muntz, approached our booth.
“Dude, this might be the coolest car show I have ever been too.”
I didn’t realize it until he had pronounced it so, but Will was right – this was starting to turn into something special. The rain had pretty much relegated all of the action of the show to the barn. It was 4-acres of die hard hot rodders, 300 to 400 high quality cars, a surprisingly well stocked swap meet, and incredible music – all protected by water walls and a tin roof. The notion was confirmed when El Jefe called his surprise guest to the stage. For the first time ever, Jimmie Vaughan played a car show.
I’m not sure I can adequately put it into words, but there is something special about listening to Jimmie and his group of musical pals pick away while hot rods fire every now and again in the background. It’s something that could only happen that day and could never be planned. It was the perfect storm and the best time I’ve ever had at a Round Up.
Of course, the rest of the weekend turned out pretty damned special as well. On Saturday, the weather cleared and a more typical Round Up kicked off – over 1000 cars, a ton of vendors, and more great music. About half way through the day I left the barn and walked the grounds looking for a car worthy of the 2009 H.A.M.B. pick. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw Squeak Bell’s ’40 Ford coupe. He had driven all the way out from SoCal and the car just couldn’t have been more perfect. I found Steve and turned in my pick just minutes later.
After the show, Marcie and I hopped in the Tardel/Cochran coupe and headed for the ASS party (hehe). It was nuts – folks everywhere, cars everywhere, and the Reverend Horton Heat on stage. I’m amazed the shop still has a roof. We partied like rock stars and then wound down at the Continental Club to end the night and our weekend. In all honesty, I’m not so sure things could have gone any better. Water, hot rods, music, etc… It all just sort of worked. And I think it did so because of all the wonderful damned people that make this show happen – attendees and organizers.
Speaking of, I got to thank some folks:
1. Steve Wertheimer. Brian Auderer. Will Muntz. Reggie Hill. Norm Jones. You guys do too much for me and I can’t thank you enough. The Round Up is what it is because of the love ya’ll give it. We all owe ya for that. TEXAS.
2. Jill and Kevin Silva. We couldn’t have done our booth without you. Family.
3. Austin Speed Shop. The party ruled fellas… And we had a ball sharing our misery and then ecstasy with ya’ll on Friday. Johnny Joyo, Bob Bleed, Mark Ford, Doc Dan, Jesse, Todd, Peiro, and all of the guest stars that ruled the weekend.
4. Rob Fortier and Cole Foster. I was designated driver while the wife let off some steam - you guys did a damn fine job of keeping me entertained. Comedy and deep thoughts.
5. Von Franco. For being my pal and making sure the Tardel/Cochran coupe looked its best.
6. Doc. Man… If you were at the meet and greet, you now know what a special guy Doc is…
7. The Rodder’s Journal and Steve Coonan. Soon.
8. Everyone that came from out of town. Austin is a special place. I think you all saw why this weekend.
9. Not Stock Photography. John took care of business.
10. Every HAMBer that made the show. It’s hard to explain, but you guys sure do make me proud to be a part of all of this.