As parties go, the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association throws a pretty good one. Though some of the 23 events Goodguys runs throughout the country have been around for almost a quarter of a century, some of their other events are just now getting their feet wet.

Perhaps "wet feet" isn't something to bring up when talking about the 5th Bridgestone Nashville Nationals, presented by Advanced Plating, because only three weeks before the event, heavy rains forced the Cumberland River, which snakes its way around Nashville, to crest at 52 feet, 12 feet above flood stage, leaving much of the historic downtown (the Grand Ole Opry included) inundated with several feet of water.

High water marks could be seen on the outside of buildings weeks after the event, though little effect was evident at LP Field (home of the Tennessee Titans Stadium and the site of the Goodguys car show) weeks later, other than that some of the electrical connections and water fountains didn't work.

The people of the Nashville area are obviously hearty souls, and folks from all over the Midwest and the South came out to support them by staying in local hotels and eating at local establishments. In an effort to aid the flood victims, Goodguys partnered with Hands On Nashville to help raise relief funds, plus donations were made around the event by those more fortunate. Some local rodders, including event sponsor Advanced Plating, had 47 inches of water in their showroom and plating facility. Owner Steve Tracy, who had to be rescued by boat from his shop during the worst of the flood, has already found a new location to rebuild his business, though the process of reopening a chrome shop will be an especially arduous one, and we wish him well.

Though participant car attendance was down slightly from last year due to the recent weather, the Nashville Nats was still able to pull some of the best hot rods and customs from the surrounding states, and many were first-time shown. The on-site Street Challenge Autocross, where anyone with a registered car can test their skills on a closed course against the clock, was again very popular and well attended, though we'd like to see more pre-'49 vehicles show up.

Many awards (more than 80) are given out at this event, including Builder's Choice, which this year was picked by renowned hot rod builder Bobby Alloway. Finalists for the Goodguys' Truck of the Year, Muscle Car of the Year, and Custom Rod of the Year are all picked here, too, so the level of quality is as high as you might imagine. STREET RODDER also picks 10 of their Top 100 winners at this show, and each of those folks qualified to be STREET RODDER Street Rod of the Year, which is picked after the last event scheduled in November (see www.streetrodderweb.com for more on the program).

If, after a devastating natural disaster such as what happened to Nashville this year, this event can produce the quality of cars that it did, we can only look forward to attending next year's show.