There are countless rod runs across the country, with many occurring during the summer months. But there's one that is well known by all rodders and it occurs every Labor Day weekend, or at least for the past 31, hosted at Dollywood's Splash Country in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The event's official name is the Hot Rod Roundup, hosted by the Shades of the Past Street Rod Association. While official names are nice, the better known event name and its nickname rings with all rodders—Shades.

The event draws nearly 3,000 cars, ranging in vintage from Model Ts to muscle cars of the 1970s. There's plenty of scenery; a good chunk provided by Mother Nature as the site is nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains, further massaged by Dollywood's Splash Country, while the remainder is provided by plenty of polished and detailed rolling sheetmetal.

Amidst the event's feverish-pitched pace, as it is two days and not the customary three, a great deal is going on simultaneously and rodders always have plenty to do and see. There's the coveted Top 25 selected by a three-man panel from the club, the Top 5 selected by the Top 25 car owners, and then the overall winners in Best Street Rod (Bob Oney for his 1940 Ford woodie), Best Street Machine (Jimmy Shaw for his 1967 Chevy Nova), Best Street Cruiser (Tim Kilkeary for his 1949 Chevy woodie), and Best of Show (Alan Beers for his 1957 Chevy pickup). Clearly "trucks", with a combination of a pair of woodies and a pickup dominating the Top 5, bring home just how popular trucks are and will remain for some time to come.

To this impressive list of awards the staff of STREET RODDER is always excited about presenting its Painless Performance Products/STREET RODDER Top 100 program and Best Ford in a Ford (Ricky Widner 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint), presented by Ford Racing Performance. (Special thanks go to the Shades Car Club for making special awards to hand out to the 10 recipients of the Top 100 and one to the Best Ford in a Ford winner while at the show. Each of these winners receives a custom-made jacket from STREET RODDER but it's nice to bring something home the day of the event as a token of one's accomplishment.)

Then there is the giveaway roadster, a long honored tradition at the event with the building chores falling to Alloway's Hot Rod Shop. (You are in the running to win this roadster by being an entrant, but you must be present at the award's drawing on Saturday afternoon.) This year the 1932 Ford highboy roadster painted in "refrigerator" white was won by David Mayeur (entry #1841) of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, who was given the keys by Bobby Alloway of Shades Car Club. What a great way to finish up any rod run—going home in very slick-looking Deuce roadster.

Another winner-take-all is the check for $10,000 presented by Shades Car Club to another lucky entrant who has his name drawn from the hopper loaded with all the entrants' numbers. This year Jeff Hatton (entry #1469) of Thompsons Station, Tennessee, fattened up his wallet to the tune of $10,000 and was very happy to have taken the cash home.

Every year there's the 50/50 drawing and if this year was anything like the past few years it gets everyone's attention—and it did. The pot was $50,000 with half of it, that's $25-large, going to Eddie Phibbs from Andersonville, Tennessee. Now that's some kind of walkin' around cash.

The Shades Car Club is well known for not only what they give away to rodders who attend the event but also for the number of charities that benefit all year long from the generosity that starts with the hot rodders who attend and the car club members who see to it that those less fortunate have some happy days of their own.

You will want to stop by next year as it is the 32nd annual event and we have to believe that the Shades Car Club has something special planned. For more information go to the club's website (shadesofthepast.com) and take a look at what happened this year and plans for next year, as well as the countless industry sponsors who help make this event what it is.