Here in the Midwest, the show season kicks off with the Lowrider Magazine Tour rolling into Indianapolis, Indiana. But with the change of dates this year, the first show of the season was the famous Cruisefest Nationals in Ohio. Held every year on Mother’s Day weekend in Dayton, Ohio, until this year when Darrell Uzzel and U&M Productions realized that it was time to move north to a larger facility, the new location of choice was the Shelby County Fairgrounds in Sidney, Ohio. With 3,500 vehicles showing up to attend last year’s festivities, it was a much-needed move. This year, more than 4,500 vehicles rolled through the registration booth, making this one of the largest events in the country.

On Thursday evening, there were about 10 different clubs already on the grounds staking out their spots. The show and events start Friday evening, but that didn’t stop the 2,500 vehicles through the gate before Friday afternoon. Jake and the guys from Trend Setters in Dayton hosted this year’s hydraulics competition. Friday night, they gave the crowd a taste of what was to come on Saturday and Sunday. Friday night was a test to the diehard enthusiasts when Mother Nature let loose some powerful winds and about 2 inches of rain in about three hours. When all was said and done, no one got hurt and there was minimal damage to the vehicles. On Saturday morning, the sun came out and the rest of the weekend was 80 degrees and sunny.

The grounds were covered with extraordinary rides ranging from Honda Civics with suicide doors to race-ready Ford Focuses. Vehicles showed up from all across the land, even a pair of Hondas made the drive down from Canada. Vendors were everywhere you looked. Some of the shops in attendance included First Class Auto from Michigan, Spade Kreations from Ohio and Bewley’s Body Works from Indiana.

The activities started with the well-known bikini competition that rarely remains a bikini contest. If you were there you know what we’re talking about. Next on the list of events was the hydraulics competition. Competitors from around the Midwest competed for bragging rights. Brian and Blinky from CCE, Jimmy from Show & Go, Pat Burke and Dean Karns were just a few of the switchmen on hand. After they shredded and smoked their vehicles, the burnout, neon and flame-throwing contests took over.

All day long and into the late evening, the cruising lanes were jammed with vehicles. Crowds of people wondering around aimlessly with 12-ounce cans in their hands were yelling and screaming like a bunch of banshees. It’s a good thing that their mothers were not present to witness this act. Once Sunday came around (or for some the 36th hour of Saturday), the schedule of events included round two of the bikini and hydraulic contests. At 4 p.m., the trophy ceremony started bringing Cruisefest 2001 to an end. Among the winners were Sycotic C.C., which, with 33 vehicles on hand, took home this year’s 10-foot trophy for club participation. For more information on next year’s event check out www.cruisefestnationals.com or call Darrell Uzzel at 937-669-8146. We’ll see you there.