The death of the lowbrow kustom show? That's how it seemed when 2008 began. What with the demise of the West Coast Kustom's legendary Paso Robles show and its move to Santa Maria, and the inevitable growth from a homegrown get-together to the thousands of cars now gathering at the Viva Las Vegas show, it seemed these low-key get-togethers of years past have all but died out. Shows like Billetproof and the annual Mooneyes Xmas Party have also ballooned to numbers seemingly astronomical to those early attendees. But never fear, we still have shows like the West Coast Primer Nationals--held on Labor Day weekend for the last six years in Ventura, California--holding it down and providing a haven for those of us whose blood bleeds all that is traditional hot rodding, customs, and motorcycles, and that kulture to which it comes.

Yet while the Primer Nats has seen continual growth over the past six years, the careful selection of what gets in and what stays outside the gates of the fairgrounds has helped to keep it from growing into another massive, muscle car-laden street rod event. And though we don't fault any other shows in particular, it is nice to see a bit of "crowd control," even if it is limited to those of the wheeled variety.

We took a little road trip up the coast this past August to see if the Primer Nats had stayed true to the vision that put them on the map a few short years back, and are happy to report that the show is going strong with the quality of cars and entertainment ever-growing, as well as the motorcycles that have been showing up in numbers stronger every year. Put on by only a few diehard enthusiasts, with the crew of Trophy Queen at the helm, it's grown from a single day show to a weekend-long happening, much like the Paso we remember. With an atmosphere that's both mellow in temperature and attitude, it's a great respite from the Southern California summer and all that which it can bring.