NSRA Street Rod Nationals 2020: Defying the COVID-19 Spectre

The expanse is vast and endless

This year, I had all four days to explore as much as I could of the Nationals. As I did in 2019, I spent the entirety of the first day inside the expo halls, walking as much of the 1 million square feet as I could stand.

And of course, my first stop was at “Women’s World,” a place with something for everyone. From packed slabs of bacon and inflatable seats, to backlit engravings and Trump shirts, if you were looking for it, it was most likely there.

Those needing something for their ride (or its house), though, could move on to the many vendors spread out (literally, per Kentucky’s pandemic protocols) over the rest of the expo center. Some had haulers and a space long enough to create lines made for social distancing, others needed only a table or two.

Alas, there wasn’t a wild vendor booth to check out this year, like the park scene CleanTools brought to the big party last year. The spectre of the pandemic thrashed through the economy in a manner not seen since Lehman Brothers collapsed in September of 2008. Thus, no one could go all out in 2020.

Between the bacon jam and engine parts, a few vendors brought some amazing rides to share with the guests at the 2020 Nationals. My favorite death-metal truck from Evapo-Rust returned this year, whose presence could only be topped by the star power of Ian Roussel’s “Space Junkie 1.5.”

Roussel’s art would find a few worthy competitors outside of the expo floor, though. A handful of rides from expert builders around the country turned up with their stunning works for the NSRA Builders Showcase, all for a shot to win the “NSRA Pros’ Pick of the Year” award. My favorite was a Ford F-Series Ranger transformed into what the Bronco could have been in the Sixties if it wasn’t already pitched as “the Mustang of the Dirt.”

Of course, the real show, as always, is outside.

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