Since 1998, the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender (VLV) has grown in size and stature. This year's 13th happening established the four-day shindig as the largest of its type in the world, and a prominent Las Vegas event. Since the beginning, the Shifters Car Club, from Southern California, has hosted a car show alongside the musical entertainment. We attended for a few years when the show was held at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, but to be honest, the quality of cars present started to decline and it seemed the show had maybe run its course. Sure it was a fun time, but viewed as purely a car show, it was suffering.

With VLV's move to the Orleans Hotel and Casino last year, and the necessary relocation of the Saturday car show to a huge fenced-off section of the Orleans' parking lot, it seems the show's been rejuvenated, with both quality and numbers bearing this out. Over 700 cars attended the show in April, coming in from all corners of the country. With a strict pre-'63 policy, as well as a requirement that the cars be built in a style from that era or before, it seemed to us that customs outnumbered hot rods compared to our last visit.

While numerous bands played throughout the weekend inside the hotel, including Wanda Jackson, the organizers pulled off something of a coup and secured none other than Chuck Berry to play on a stage erected in the middle of the car show as the sun went down. While this necessitated a large empty area that seemed a little odd during the day when the rest of the show was bursting at the seams, it all became clear as the area filled to capacity as 6 o'clock neared.

The Shifters' Car Show is obviously part of the VLV, and tickets to the latter automatically grant access to the show, but we know some car owners were there for the cars, not the music/lifestyle event, though the organizers are aware of this and allow entry solely to the show. Let's face it, it's not like there aren't plenty of other things to do in Vegas!