April Action Car Show is a blast from the past
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Apr 24, 2014 | 4166 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A crowd fills Swanny City Park to view the hundreds of classic vehicles on display during a previous April Action Car Show. Times-Independent file photo
A crowd fills Swanny City Park to view the hundreds of classic vehicles on display during a previous April Action Car Show. Times-Independent file photo
Every year on the last weekend of April, downtown Moab seems to step back in time as classic muscle cars, hot rods and polished coupes fill the streets during the Moab April Action Car Show.

The car show, now in its 22nd year, will be held April 25-27, and includes a series of activities for registered participants, including “rod runs” to scenic areas near Moab.

The event began in 1992 as a fundraiser for the local classic car club, the Moab Rod Benders. It also gave the club’s members the chance to show off their prized vehicles, according to John Fogg, who coordinates the event for the Moab Rotary Club, which now organizes the event.

“It’s grown a lot over the years,” he said. “There’s been anywhere from a low of 200 cars when they were first getting started to over 700 a few years ago.”

This year, Fogg expects approximately 500 cars to fill Swanny City Park on Saturday, April 26, for the main event – the daylong car show.

“We can fit around 500 cars,” he said. “Last year we had 493 registered entries. We pretty much filled the whole park.”

The total number of participants is difficult to determine in advance because so many people register once they arrive in town, Fogg said.

“Last year we had around 200 people sign up the day of the show.”

Over the years, Fogg said cars have come from all over the United States.

“Most of them are from the Western Slope of Colorado, Utah and New Mexico,” he said. “But we have cars come from California, North Dakota and Texas. We’ve had them all the way from Maine.”

“It’s a pretty simple car show,” Fogg said.

The festivities begin with a “rod run” that travels state Route 128 out to Castle Valley and includes lunch at Red Cliffs Lodge. The main event – the car show – opens to the public at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, at Swanny City Park and runs through 4 p.m. There is no charge for spectators who want to come out and see the classic vehicles and talk with their owners. Food will be available, vendors will be on hand, and music will be provided throughout the day by DJ J.C. Hackett.

Judging of the vehicles concludes at 1 p.m. and an awards ceremony will begin at 3 p.m.

A “sock hop” dance contest is scheduled from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The event is for couples only and entrants must be 16 years or older. Competitors must be dressed in 1950s costumes. Awards will be given in a variety of categories, including best dancers, best-dressed couple and best 50s hairstyle, male and female. A bubble gum blowing competition is also planned, according to organizers.

On Sunday, registered car show participants can take part in another rod run to Dead Horse Point State Park.

However, perhaps one of the most popular events of the weekend comes at night after the official festivities are over.

“Friday and Saturday night all the cars drive up and down Main Street. Everyone comes out to watch,” Fogg said.

The Moab Rod Benders car club launched the April Action Car Show. However, a few years ago, the club passed the torch to Moab resident Jim Mattingly, who ran the show for several years before handing it over to the Moab Rotary Club. This year marks the second year that the Rotary Club will oversee the event.

“It just came along at exactly the right time,” Fogg said. “The Rotary Club needed a fundraiser.”

Fogg said all the money raised through the event goes back into the local community.

“We have no paid people,” Fogg said. Volunteers from the Rotary Club do all the work, patrolling the park for dogs and organizing the show.

Fogg said that retired National Park Service employee Rod Petty is largely responsible for the car show’s beginnings more than two decades ago.

“Everything I know is because of him,” Fogg said. “We want to keep it as he envisioned it because it works.”

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