It has to be said; if you like traditional rods and customs then the Lonestar Round Up is a show you should attend. The Travis County Exposition Center has none of the antiseptic feel of many fairgrounds-style events. The swap meet and mini-bike races are held in the dirt floor Rodeo Barn, the vendors are selling parts and clothing you might want rather than peddling billet cup holders or 20-inch wheels. There’s live music all weekend that you actually want to watch and listen to, and most importantly of all, the cars are—for the most part—the kind you want to check out. That’s not to say the other shows aren’t fun, but this one is, well, a little more fun. OK, a lot more! I spoke to one first-time attendee NorCal rodder who said he doesn’t need to go to another show in California, and booked his hotel for next year before he left town!

The Round Up experience doesn’t end when you leave the Expo Center either, as Austin has more than its fair share of cool bars, clubs, and restaurants, plus Austin Speed Shop hosts an open house on Friday night and a private party on Saturday evening. Get talking to locals and you’ll get the lowdown on all sorts of smaller, similar gigs, plus there’s non-stop cruising on South Congress Avenue until well into the early hours, with both sides of the street lined with spectators and more cars. Like I said, fun! If you go to bed early at this show you’re simply not trying.

You might have gathered I like this show, enough to have driven halfway across the country to attend three times now, in addition to flying on other occasions. Normally I don’t mind driving a rental car when I’m at a show for work, but at the Round Up I want my own car there. Kinda like how “Paso” used to be, if I can say that. That should be an indication of the kind of show this is. Don’t miss another one!