[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

Every year in early August, Louisville, Kentucky wakes up to the sound of thundering horses. Not the kind at Churchill Downs, but at the nearby Kentucky Exposition Center, where thousands of guests, cars, and an insane amount of horsepower all roll in for the National Street Rod Association Street Rod Nationals. For four days, the expo center is an oasis for every fan of street rods, muscle cars, and rockin’ trucks.

Except this year. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic left a wake of cancellations and postponements since revving up its engines in early March, with no sign of stopping yet. Not even the NSRA could escape, as a few of its events were either moved towards the end of 2020, or cancelled outright. The 51st edition of the Street Rod Nationals escaped such fates, but not the spectre lying in wait.

“Considering everything, we’ve got social distancing,” said NSRA Director of Marketing, Jim Rowlett. “That’s what we’re asking people to do. We’re trying to get everybody to be mask-conscious; you have to have a mask to go in the building. We’ve got hand sanitizers. The KEC has put stations all around the fairgrounds, so you can sanitize at any point in time.”

As expected, attendance figures weren’t as high in 2020 as they were in previous years. Compared to its golden anniversary last year — when over 70,000 guests and 12,000 vehicles made the event one for the ages — just over 7,400 vehicles and an unknown (though likely as small) number of guests pulled into the massive grounds of the expo center.

“I think it’s been a good lesson for all of us,” said Rowlett. “It’s been a tough sell, but we are a big family. We love to get together [...] and when you tell people you can’t get close to somebody, then it makes it a little different.”

Those precautions, though, allowed the Nationals to continue its streak of 23 consecutive years in Louisville. The sunny skies and cool-for-August temperatures also helped brighten the atmosphere, where colorful rides of all sorts cruised and gathered. The expo hall, meanwhile, provided a cooler environment for everyone to shop for everything from engine parts to bacon jam. The only thing missing was the Streetkhana, which was cancelled due not to COVID-19, but due to changes in ownership of the autocross event, according to Rowlett.

“At some point in time, we gotta start getting back to normal,” said Rowlett. “We gotta start doing things. While I understand that COVID is a serious issue, and there’s things we gotta be concerned with, at the same time, we can’t just stop [...] For us, getting out with cars is a fun thing to do [...] I enjoy seeing the people here. They’re having a good time [...] the enthusiasm level has not changed.”

The next Street Rod Nationals is set for August 5 through 8, 2021 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Meanwhile, the next scheduled NSRA event for 2020 is the Street Rod Nationals-North event at the Kalamazoo County Expo in Kalamazoo, Michigan, set for September 11 through 13.

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[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

[Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

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1 Comment on [Gallery] 2020 Street Rod Nationals Cautiously Rolls Through Pandemic

  1. I would like to state that I’m glad I skipped this year, I saw very few Hot Rods in these photos I don’t know what that suggests but that is why we attend each year. The few in the pictures looked nice but they were far away and parked behind a late model. Let’s hope all is back to normal next year street rods are back and everyone is HEALTHY .

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