If there was one show that car-building enthusiasts of all kinds could enjoy, Lowrider Magazine’s Performance Showdown in Irwindale, California, was the event! This show had entertainment for both young and old to take in and appreciate. Events that were never a part of the usual Lowrider Magazine/Go-Lo Entertainment Tour shows were implemented for the first time in this special show in late November of 2003. Performance-related elements were introduced to show spectators, like the 1/8-mile drag, tire burnout and rolling hop contests.
Thanks to 2003 Legends Tour sponsors Quaker State, Nitto Tires, Black Magic, Player Wire Wheels, Exide Orbital Batteries, CCE Hydraulics, Limited Alloy Wheels and video game entertainment maker Jaleco, these contests were held at the Irwindale Speedway where a long and flat dragstrip (usually used for professional drag races) was locked down for the day just for the Showdown. Lowriders, hot-rods and subcompacts were racing side by side. The rolling hop allowed entrants to gas hop or drive their lowrider while hopping down the track.
Although these events were the talk of the day, there was no denying that the regular car show brought in the most people and eye-catching spectacles. By 8 o’clock in the morning the show was sold out to car show entrants and unfortunately many had to be turned away. The maximum limit of 300 cars allowed into the show had been reached and it reinforced the old rule of “get there early” to many. Because of this show being more performance-related, there was a definite increase in the number of import, subcompact and low-rod cars on display. There was even a couple of Hummer SUVs that made appearances, one of which had a heightened suspension, towering above all of the lowriders!
There was a clown making balloon animals for the kids and for the older people who were still kids at heart, the Sumo wrestling circle was available for brave gente to don on an inflated Sumo outfit and hopefully slam their opponents to the mat. The infamous graffiti artist known as “Relic” was making a lowrider masterpiece live in front of spectators all day. The band Suave and a house deejay provided music all day, but it was the bikini contest that drew the most attention to the stage.
By the end of the day, the performance entrants were very happy with the show’s outcome and many were hoping that the new elements of the Showdown would be permanently implemented in all of LRM’s Evolution Tour stops in 2004. Time will tell if that is to be true, but for now, great memories were undeniably made on this day.