The Hot Rod Reunion, hosted by the Shades of the Past, celebrated its 30th annual event and even a little rain couldn’t keep 2,791 entrants and nearly 20,000 spectators from enjoying plenty of “sunny” southern hospitality. Getting comfy in its new home at Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Adventure Park, the “Shades”, as it’s likely to be called, continues to grow and offer a wide breath of hot rods to view. And it will continue to get better as the available area for the event will be expanded again in 2013.

This year marked the second time that the STREET RODDER/Painless Performance Products Top 100 joined with Shades to make this event one of the coveted 10 events, but it was the first time the selected 10 cars were displayed with the Shades Top 25. (The Top 25 is a prestigious award, recognized by rodders everywhere.) Added to this mix was Ford Racing Performance/STREET RODDER’s Best Ford in a Ford pick as well as the second time the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour has joined this event as one of the eight weeklong legs. All three keynote themes will be back in 2013. In fact, rumor has it that the Vintage Air leg of the Road Tour will head out from San Antonio, stopping at the 31st Hot Rod Reunion in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Now that’s a road trip worth taking.

The Hot Rod Reunion is well known for a number of happenings within the main attraction, like the winner of the giveaway PPG blue ’32 Ford highboy roadster that was built at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop (Bobby Alloway is a member of the club). All of the products used in the build of this car were donated by many companies from within our industry. The club gives away a car each year and plans are already in the works for next year’s giveaway. (See the Feb. ’12 issue of SR for a listing of all the cars given away since the club’s inception.) With 2013 representing the 32nd anniversary of the event it wouldn’t be fair if we tipped the club’s hand on what the car will be, but we’re sure every hot rodder would thoroughly enjoy driving this one home.

Speaking of driving home—this year’s little blue Deuce highboy roadster was won by Sharon Frady (No. 1535) of Cleveland, Tennessee. To say she was both happy and stunned wouldn’t do justice to the look on her face when the winning ticket was selected and her number read aloud. Several hours later we watched her drive off and there was still the “deer in the headlights” look of disbelief. Well Frady, believe it. You are driving home in an Alloway-built hot rod, and that’s something to make anyone’s weekend special.

There can be no denying winning a car, especially a custom-built hot rod, is something very special, but Shades has plenty more to share with rodders. If you are an early registrant you are placed in a drawing for $10,000 and that should get everybody’s attention. It sure woke up Red Lamoreaux (No. 1675) of Trenton, New Jersey, when he heard his ticket number coming out of the PA system. We suspect that his drive home to Jersey was a great deal more pleasant than the drive down! Although it was pretty good as he did it in his hot rod.

Another East Coaster is Richard Jones (No. 1804) of Severna Park, Maryland, and was he pleasantly surprised to find out that he had won the 50/50 raffle. The total was $43,226 and 50 percent of it went home in his hot rod. The club wasn’t done sharing the 50/50 proceeds as the Empty Pantry Fund and Toys for Blount County received $4,000; the Dollywood Company received $2,500 for its Share It Forward program; The Ronald McDonald House of Knoxville, Tennessee, received $2,500; and several local churches as well as other charities benefitting senior citizens come Christmas time will find a welcome present.

The Shades event is well known for its number of awards and also for the strict judging guidelines when selecting the Top 25. But the toughest judges of all are the car owners of the Top 25 who vote and they alone select the car and owner to receive Winner’s Choice Best in Show. No complaining here about the judging! There’s also the Fab Five taken from the Top 25 as well as the Best Street Rod, Best Street Machine, and Best Street Cruiser. The cars that make the Top 25 are as good as any hot rod found anywhere in the country and that’s what makes this event so special. It really does draw the best of the best.

Top vote getter at this year’s event was Frank Tetro (No. 229) for his black RM-painted ’55 Ford Sunliner. Tetro worked off the design efforts of Eric Brockmeyer while Alloway’s Hot Rod shop mocked up the car, establishing just the correct stance. From here Tetro and his crew of Jason Magnum, Randy Hadwiggen, Will Tetro, Clay Deenan, and Frank Jr. brought the car to its completion.

The Ford sits on an Art Morrison chassis with a Winters rearend housing filled with a 9-inch centersection and Strange axles and coilover shocks. You can see the Alloway wheels (built by Boyd Coddington back in the day) that are wrapped with BFGoodrich rubber. Motorvating this hot rod is an original ’66 Ford 427 SOHC (cammer) V-8. (If you want to learn more about this spectacular hot rod then you will have to wait several months for this car to appear as a full feature in SR.)

Other top vote getters form the Fab Five, made up of Frank Tetro also Best of Show, Larry Olson for his black and flamed ’40 Ford coupe (STREET RODDER feature car) and Best Street Rod, Johnny Edmundson for his brilliant red ’55 Chevy (SRP Winter ’13 feature car), William Shores’ ’32 Ford highboy roadster (will be featured in a future issue of SR), and the Peter Datino for his ’32 Ford three-window coupe. Other coveted awards went to Nathan Powell for his ’66 Nova as Top 25, Best Street Machine, and the Billet Specialties award, and Josh Dennison for his ’55 Caddy as a Top 25 and Best Street Cruiser.

A handful of the other numerous awards include the PPG award for Best Paint presented to George Keel for his red ’55 Chevy that also took home one of the Painless/STREET RODDER Top 100 awards; the BFGoodrich pick went to Barry Ewing for his ’33 Ford; Jack Stirnemine, for his beautiful black ’34 Ford coupe, took home the Pete & Jake’s award; the Vintage Air award went to Kevin Bolwing for his ’68 Pontiac Firebird; Classic Instruments awarded John Gilbert for his ’33 Ford; and the Chrome Specialty Insurance award went to Brad Cline for his ’50 Ford coupe, also a Top 100 pick.

You want to have a good weekend with your street rod then the Hot Rod Reunion held at Dollywood’s Splash Country is a great place. In fact, the town of Pigeon Forge has ample entertainment for the entire family. See you next year in early September.