Though there has been a lot of talk recently about how some car shows exclude cars from the '50s and '60s, the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association has been practicing equality for all rodders for many years. The organization, founded in 1983, has held their national event in Columbus, Ohio, for the past 12 years, and it seems to keep getting bigger and better.

The show, sponsored by PPG, attracts more than 6,400 cars and many of the nation's top car builders too. There is so much quality at this one location that, suffice it to say if you like hot rods, this should be one of the first on a list of shows you would want to plan and attend.

Located at the sprawling Ohio Expo Center (home of the Ohio State Fair, which has been around since 1850!), the PPG Nationals brings more than 90,000 people through the gates over a three-day weekend. Long ago Goodguys figured out people like to do things while at their event, so there are literally dozens of specialty parking areas and seminars to go alongside the hundreds of vendor booths hawking the latest in hot rod gear.

The Goodguys also honor those who have given back to the rodding community. "Land Speed" Louise Noeth, renowned author (Bonneville: The Fastest Place on Earth), historian, racer (having driven a 250-mph jet dragster), and columnist (her monthly article can be found in the Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette) was named '09 Goodguys Woman of the Year at the 12th PPG Nationals. Before accepting the award in front of a packed house during the event awards ceremony, Noeth also gave a quick seminar to an appreciative crowd on the history of land speed racing. Presented annually in honor of the late Karen Bloechl (who was instrumental in the formative years of the Goodguys Association) and recognizing a female industry leader who serves to preserve the integrity and growth of the hot rodding industry, past Goodguys Woman of the Year recipients include Ginny Lobeck (1992), Sue Brizio (1993), DeEtte Crow (1996), Jane Callison (1997), Jeanette Ladina (2004), and many others.

One of the main reasons this event attracts the high-quality vehicles it does are the special awards that are handed out. Jesse Greening and Zane Cullen, hot rod shop owners and both former Goodguys Trendsetter award winners, were on hand to select the 16 coveted Builder's Choice awards (among the more respected prizes given out in this hobby). STREET RODDER also continued with the magazine's Turtle Wax Top 100 program, where 10 vehicles from this show and 90 other vehicles from nine other shows compete for STREET RODDER's Street Rod of the Year (check for more on the program).

Goodguys also selects their Street Rod of the Year, Street Machine of the Year, Muscle Car of the Year, and Truck of the Year at this show, and everyone was impressed with the level of build quality that could be found in each car, especially in the Street Machine category. Even some of the country's most well-known hot rod builders were heard saying they were impressed with the incredible lengths these builders went to in creating these rides. In the street rod category, the Alan Johnson-built B-400, owned by Doug Cooper, which earlier in the year won the prestigious Don Ridler Memorial Award at the Detroit Autorama, took top honors and the title of Goodguys Street Rod of the Year. It's the second time the 38-year-old builder has built the top street rod (the last time was in Pleasanton in 1997). Johnson also built the '07 Street Machine of the Year for Georgia-native Bob Johnson.

A trip through the Market Place building would enlighten you as to what was new in the hot rod world but, if new parts aren't your thing, a trip through the swap meet area would probably cure your ills. Pickup trucks from the '40s through the '60s, which have always been popular with the hot rod crowd, dominated the cars-for-sale area, but you could still pick up a quick-change rear or a Model A hood in the swap for not much money.

On Saturday, typically the busiest day of the three for vendors and spectators alike, one of the state's classic thunder-and-lightning storms rolled in for a few hours to provide a rather loud distraction to the festivities. But after a few hours it moved on and folks went back to shining their rides and cruising the grounds. It didn't faze the Goodguys crew, as they know what all the rodders know: It'll pass and they'll get on with what everyone came for-hanging out at one of the best hot rod events in the country!