As most folks have known for the past couple of decades, when the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association comes to town, it's party time. And no one gets it done bigger or better than the folks in and around the Dallas/Ft. Worth region of Texas.

For the past 17 years rodders were given a place (the event was originally at the Southfork Ranch location, but moved to the spacious Texas Motor Speedway after its completion in 1996) to display their hot rod, thanks to the Goodguys, who really do know how to treat their customers.

Far from being just a big parking lot show, the Goodguys events always have a lot more to do and see than your average hot rod get-together. Plus, the added advantage of seeing cars and trucks from nearly every era allows folks to experience rodding on a much wider scale.

The swap meet was full of deals (if you knew where to look) and, if rusty old parts wasn't your thing, then a trip through the rows of new vendor displays was probably what you needed. Plus, with the event being located on the infield of a 1.5-mile quad-oval speedway, you had the chance to either drive in a real NASCAR training car (at racing speeds) around the track or in your own car (at much slower speeds).

You could also drive your own car around a different kind of track-one marked with cones-in the Street Challenge Autocross. Having a cool-looking car is one thing, but getting it to go around a corner without carving up the road or your tires is something else. The rodders who rolled through the timed course laid out at one end of the speedway's asphalt parking lot looked like they were doing a little of both, but had a great time doing so. We also wonder why we don't see more area car clubs challenge other car clubs to see who has the better handling rods (or at least who has the better drivers) at the Autocross.

The weather is always a factor at outdoor car shows in the South, and a rainstorm did come by for a visit Saturday afternoon and into the evening, but the thousands of attendees who go to the Goodguys shows are mostly locals (or they at least live somewhere in the Okla-Tex area) and they're used to seeing a cow or a house fly by in a serious Texas-style rainstorm. Fortunately the storm wasn't that bad, and folks returned to cruising their rides as soon as the rain had stopped and they had a chance to wipe down their cars.

But the best thing about the Lone Star Nationals has always been the cars-they're some of the best in the country and, more often than not, something you just won't see if you're sequestered in the East or West. And, with any luck, the Goodguys will continue to bring its brand of hot rodding to the South for many years to come.