For the past 15 years, my packed summer event schedule has taken me all over the country. But there was one show, which happened to be the biggest of them all, that had not been on my travel itinerary since 1994-the Street Rod Nats. (Most, including many I work with, could not believe that was true.) But this year would not mark the 16th consecutive absentee Nats for me-that was a sure guarantee.

For one, despite being held under a couple different guises early on, 2009 marked the 40th anniversary for the National Street Rod Association's Street Rod Nationals. On top of that, there was just no way the new editor of Rod & Custom wasn't going to be present at such a landmark event. So I went. And I'm glad I did.

Louisville, Kentucky, isn't quite what it was back in the early '90s. Though the hotel I once stayed in is now a dirt lot, numerous others have cropped up in the same vicinity surrounding the entrance to the Kentucky Expo Center. However, the same can't be said for the show itself. While the huge amount of participant vehicles may have only decreased slightly, the number of spectators is still high up there and all the top manufacturers/vendors are in attendance. Oh, and there was one other thing that hadn't changed much: the humidity. Fortunately, Mother Nature spared everyone a few gallons of sweat at least one full day during the show (so I got to wear a clean T-shirt on the flight home!).

But all in all, I'm glad I finally ended that streak, for many reasons. While I'm able to say I attended the 40th, I may also be able to say that I attended the "last"-as in last pre-'49 NSRA Nats. Looks like 2010 has some "new" things in store for us (check out the NSRA website for more on that).