It's funny how things can get so easily out of hand. Sometimes, it's when you're driving on ice and you come into a sweeping left turn a little hot, while other times it's just walking across the floor of a bullfighting arena wearing your favorite red shirt. But, most of the time, you just can't plan for those types of instances.

The idea for the Lonestar Rod & Kustom Round Up started out simple. Steve Wertheimer is an Austin-based music club owner who had visited the Paso Robles rod and custom event in California back in the 1990s and thought the formula would work well back home. He and other members of his Kontinentals car club decided to throw their own gig, using Steve's Continental Club (a survivor from the 1950s and a one-time topless joint) on South Congress Avenue as home base.

In the beginning, the event was something of a glorified party, celebrating the hardcore edge of hot rodding, mostly with rat rods and kustoms (yes, spelled with a "k"). The party, however, became so successful, it grew by leaps and bounds in just a very short period of time, and now everybody who has ever heard of the event wants to get in on the fun.

Some of the locals who have been around from the start, when the event was governed by an unspoken no-billet rule, mutter that the show no longer caters to what they think it was supposed to be, because parked alongside some rusty '27 coupe with a 2-inch windshield and a blower mounted higher than the roofline you'll find an occasional street rod (with billet wheels, no less! Horrors!).

But, just like in the Wild West, there are no rules here, which is one of the things that makes this event so popular. Everyone has their opinion, and they're allowed, and even provoked, to share it with like-minded-and some not-so-like-minded-folks at this event. Cruise the huge Travis County Expo Center facilities and you'll see every facet of what is currently happening in the traditional side of hot rodding.

Kustoms of all shapes and sizes were found, some with just bare fresh metal, while others were covered in either vintage paint, newer primer, or in some cases, just liberal coats of clear. On more than one occasion, you could walk up to a car and smell the paint or primer curing in the Texas sun.

Though you might think glossy paint wouldn't be welcome here, you'd be proven wrong if you'd walk the parking aisles or hung out "on the hill"-the VIP area where body and paint specialist Gary Howard had several of his award-winning creations on display, many of which have been featured on various Rodder's Journal covers. As nice and approachable as they come, a humble Gary is still a bit surprised when somebody makes a fuss over what he's built, but his work is on par with the very best in the country, and the stellar results speak for themselves.

As for the rest of the attendees, innovation has always been the name of the game, and sometimes the wackier the better. You don't see a lot of turned-up exhaust systems (the ones pointing to the sky like some sort of Peterbilt) on the West or East Coasts, but you'll find more than a handful here. And, if you've ever wondered how anybody can drive a hot rod with only 1 inch of road clearance, then park yourself across from the entrance to the Expo Center because all of these nearly 1,000 cars drive into the grounds-no trailer queens here.