The northern New Mexico town of Española is located just north of Santa Fe, between Los Alamos and Taos. Approximately 10,000 people live in the town that was established in 1598 by Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate. Being surrounded by historic attractions and having its own arts community, Española is a must-visit tourist stop in the American Southwest. In our culture, that town is more than that; it is known as the lowrider capital of the world. I realize this is a bold statement, especially with respect to L.A., San Jose, Phoenix, Dallas, Albuquerque, and the many other true lowrider cities that make up the history. But this claim does have merit; given the population of this small town, there is a great chance that you will find a traditional lowrider parked either in the driveway, or inside the garage of the majority of the town’s homes. I didn’t believe it until Espanola native, Eppie Martinez, showed me around his neighborhood. In a respected small area, we counted twenty-six ’58 Impalas. Twenty-six. This did not include the ’59s, ’64s, or Bombs—just the ’58s. All in all, the people of Espanola have lived this lifestyle well before the club of the same name became a household name.
Naturally, the Lowrider events that happen in Espanola are the stuff of legend. This year, the Annual Main Street Showdown was where it all went down on August 10. The town that embraces Lowriding, from the local law enforcement, to Honorable Mayor Alice Lucero, lived up to its reputation as a cultural landmark. This year’s show was produced by Cultura Promotions, who contracted Motorsport Showcase to bring Lowrider magazine out to bask in the Land of Enchantment for an amazing time. Main Street was full of color, complete with laid-out beauties featuring over 400 entries spanning everything from your classic Espanola ride, to Lowrider magazine Title Contenders traveling the 2013 LRM Tour. Over 6,000 people flooded Main Street, visiting Vendor Row and event sponsor, Old School City, along with the other local and distant vendors displaying and selling their specialty items. The Fiesta style event also featured authentic New Mexican food and drinks. Along with the local food, we have to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Budweiser, for providing Bud Light to quench one’s thirst after a long day of detailing out the rides.
Arizona’s own “The Manic Hispanic” hosted this year’s show on the main stage, along with KISS 97.3 FM station personality MQ. The carhop, sponsored by Reds Old School Hydraulics, got the show started with a carhop competition. First Place Radical was awarded to Joe Chacon, from Los Guys, with an ’81 Cutlass, Second place Radical went to James Leyba, from Tru Rydaz, with an ’80 Regal, and Third place Radical/Super Street went to OG Mike, from Tru Rydaz, with his ’79 Cutlass. First place Street was awarded to Albert Nari, from Connected, with his ’68 Impala Convertible, Second place went to Larry Martinez, from Los Guys, with a ’79 Monte Carlo, and Third place went to Leroy Martinez Jr., from Tru Rydaz, with his ’88 Cutlass. John John Martinez kept the crowd pleased with his Regal Car Dancer exhibition.
Best of Show Car winners included Jesus Olivarria of Groupe CC, with his beautifully built Cadillac receiving Third place, Second place went to Fred Real’s ’67 Impala, of Prestigious CC, and Fisrt place honors went out to Brandon Gonzales who raised the bar with his ’74 Monte Carlo, “Spirit Runner.” Look out for “Spirit Runner” to make a run in Vegas! Best of Show Truck honors went to Frito Orellana, of City Cruizers with his ’93, Second place went to David Loya, of New Breed, with his beautifully laid ’59 El Camino, and Ricky Martinez took Third place with his ’86 Nissan. Best Traditional of Show went to Abel Zavala, of Imperials CC, with his crisp and clean ’64 Impala SS. Best original went to Martin Maldonado and his remarkably restored ’36 Chevrolet, from Oldies CC. Mel Garcia of Firme Image and his ’48 Chevy pulled in Best Bomb of Show honors while Best of Show Motorcycle went to Mark McCluney with his fully customized ’07 Chopper. Best Bike honors were awarded to Raul Rivas of USO CC, who took home Second place while Juan Gonzalez took home the First place honors. A special recognition award was presented to Liz Cohenz, with her very rare and non-traditional ’87 East German Trabant, built with a lowrider flare.
The retro Concert featured Li’l Rob performing his neighborhood hits along with Cali artist, Gemini, singing “I Can Be Your Superman.” Lowrider legendary artist Frost (Kid Frost) made quite an impression in not only his latest performance in Mesa, but at this show as well! Much like fine wine, Frost has evolved with grace and style, and you still get goose bumps hearing the first few bars of his classic, “La Raza.” That song takes you back to the Firme LRM Super Show days of the past, and he isn’t slowing down, either, as Frost also inked a new recording deal with Sony, so we should be hearing his new music soon!
A special thanks to the Main Street Showdown Sponsors; Budweiser, Old School City, Century Bank, Reds Old School Hydraulics, KISS FM, Lowrider magazine, Motorsport Showcase LLC, and the City of Espanola, which made this event possible! The City went all out in hosting a lowrider show because they wanted to give something back to its citizens and community. A lot of work went into this event, and Cultura Promotions’ Andres Valdez put in countless of hours organizing and planning the event, along with his partners Thomas Martinez, Juan Montoya, and Eppie Martinez. They wish to thank the sponsors and contributors who made Main Street Showdown an old-school event to remember!