Every year, the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) holds special events all across the country for people to gather together to show off and lappreciate street rods. Few of these events this year, however, will be as huge as the NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY. Every year this event has just gotten bigger and bigger, with the 50th anniversary this year, you can expect the most impressive and grandest occasion yet.
Although early mail-in entries are not accepted after July 5th, you can still submit an entry in-person at the University of Louisville Cardinal Stadium, and get tickets at any O’Reilly Auto Parts store. It is being hosted at the Kentucky Exposition Center, with campground and RV spaces available for anyone coming in from out of town. In the past, more than 10,000 vehicles have been showcased every year, with more than 30,000 people coming from all over the world to participate and see the remarkable cars on display.
The Main Event
The NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY will kick off on Thursday, August 1st and run through Sunday, August 4th. Over the course of that long weekend, there will be many events and exhibits to see, not least of which are the street rods themselves. Anyone who is interested is welcome to register and bring their street rod to the event to showcase their vehicle; the only restriction is that it must be a model year from 1989 and earlier – anything from the 1990s or later is not eligible this year.
More than 10,000 street rods are expected to show up, running the gamut of American muscle and pony cars. One of the reasons the NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY is so popular is that the cars are not behind ropes or other barriers. Everyone who attends the event is welcome to get up close and really have a good look at the amazing vehicles on display. Touching is not necessarily welcome, especially for street rods with particularly gorgeous paint jobs, but otherwise, event-goers get a look at these vehicles that they cannot do anywhere else.
Spectator hours at the NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY start at 8am on Thursday, August 1st through 5pm; then 8am to 6pm on Friday, August 2nd; from 7am to 7pm on Saturday, August 3rd; and finally from 8am to 1pm on Sunday, August 4th. General spectator admission for adults and teens over 13 years old is $19 per person, with children from 6 years old to 12 eligible for $6 children’s tickets, and all kids under 6 get free admission with an adult.
Military personnel with identification can purchase discount tickets at $17, which are also available for all NSRA members with current membership and anyone of 60 years of age or older. These tickets can be purchased at local O’Reilly Auto Parts stores. With so many people expected to attend, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets sooner rather than later.
One of the biggest draws of the NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY is the return of the StreetKhana course and track with time trials. The term “StreetKhana” is a combination of “gymkhana,” which refers to the practice of running time trials with race cars on a track, and the “street” rods showcased by the NSRA. Everyone with a performance street rod is welcome to come to the StreetKhana course and see just how quickly they can navigate the technical and challenging setup.
Even if you don’t have a street rod of your own, you are welcome as a spectator to see the vehicles and their drivers challenge the course. Better yet, you can ride along with a professional driver navigating the course to get a feel for the speed and precision required to conquer the NSRA StreetKhana challenge. StreetKhana racing will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – that’s the 1st through the 3rd – but not on Sunday, the final day of the event.
Still not convinced? Check this out and see for yourself what NSRA style StreetKhana is all about:
Swap Meet and Commercial Exhibits
Another big event at the NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY is the swap meet where attendants can check out hundreds of stalls to see what they have. This is the perfect way to connect with other automotive enthusiasts and track down rare or unusual parts or accessories that you might not find anywhere else. With four days of events, it’s not a bad idea to head to the swap meet early, while there are still unexpected treasures to discover.
Not only will private sellers bring their items for sale, but hundreds of manufacturers and professional dealers will have displays and attractions set up for spectators to peruse and enjoy. Whether you are looking for something in particular, or you are interested in the street rod world and trying to figure out where to start, the swap meet and dealer displays will have something for you. These will be available every day of the event.
If you’re only slightly interested in the world of street rods and everything they have to offer, or you want to bring family members along that are likely to get bored of muscle cars, then the Women’s World expo could be a good destination. Despite the name, this is billed as an event with exhibitors showcasing “items that will interest women as well as men and children.” Make of that description what you will.
From my perspective, it sounds an awful lot like a gender-swapped version of the bench at the mall where men sit and eat large pretzels while their wives, girlfriends, and partners shop for clothes. Hopefully, the vendors and exhibits at Women’s World at the NSRA 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY offer more entertainment than a view of the food court or a small passenger train running through the mall. The more I think about it, the more interesting Women’s World seems and discovering everything they have to offer might just be worth the price of admission itself – that and the StreetKhana.
Accommodations and Campground
Whether you are coming in from out of town or just want to stay close to the action, there are a couple of different options when visiting the NSRA 50thAnnual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY. Numerous hotels in the Louisville area have partnered with the NSRA and offer special discounted rates for people attending or participating in the event. Some of these locations are closer than others, both to the event and to the nearby airport, and some require a minimum number of nights to receive the discount. More information is available here
A major campground and RV lot will also be available once again for the NSRA 50thAnnual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY. This is an ideal choice if you want to drive in from out of town in an RV or you are interested in getting some camping in, seeing the stars in the evening while you plan for the next big day of StreetKhana and exhibition-gazing. You can contact the Kentucky Exposition Center for more information about the campground and RV site, which you should do if you are interested in reserving a campsite before heading to the event.