April Action Car Show turns 20 this weekend
by Charli Engelhorn
staff writer
Apr 26, 2012 | 1437 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Classic cars line up in Swanny City Park in Moab for the annual April Action Car Show. Park festivities will be held Saturday, April 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.                                                                                                                             Photo by Robert Riberia
Classic cars line up in Swanny City Park in Moab for the annual April Action Car Show. Park festivities will be held Saturday, April 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo by Robert Riberia
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A '57 Chevy takes the Rod Run near Moab as part of the April Action Car Show.              Courtesy Photo
A '57 Chevy takes the Rod Run near Moab as part of the April Action Car Show. Courtesy Photo
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The streets of Moab may start to resemble a retro drag race this week as hundreds of classic cars pull into town to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the April Action Car Show. According to Jim Mattingly, the producer of the show, more than 500 cars from various eras and locations will be part of the weekend festivities.

“It’s pretty average this year for attendance, which is fine,” Mattingly said. “We are right around 250 to 300 cars pre-registered, and another 200 to 300 usually register the day of, so I don’t really know for sure how many will be here. But that’s a nice number.”

Despite the growing cost of fuel and ongoing econcomic woes throughout the U.S., Mattingly said he hasn’t seen much effect on the car show. Entrants from California, the Pacific Northwest, and for the first time this year, North Dakota, are all making the trek to Moab.

“This is the first car show of the year for the Mountain West, and people are ready,” said Mattingly. “A majority still comes from the Four Corners area.”

The April Action Car Show was started 20 years ago by the Moab Rod Benders Car Club, with Mattingly shooting video footage for each of the participants. Mattingly took over producing the show 10 years ago and has done it ever since.

“I was really into cars before and have always been involved with them,” said Mattingly, who, at one point, owned an auto parts store and machine shop and whose father opened an auto parts store in Moab in 1959.

“The thing about the car show is it is a lot of good people,” said Mattingly. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of good folks over the years, and it is good to talk to them to see what’s new in the car world. ...and their email addresses are so car connected, they make me laugh.”

The big event for car show weekend is the rally in Swanny City Park on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All participating cars line up on display at the park. Spectators may look inside and under the hoods of cars from the 1920s to the 1970s and chat with the owners. Food vendors will be onsite, as will an old-fashioned T-shirt printing station brought down every year by Al and Louise of Minnesota. Salt Lake City radio personality J.C. Hackett will play oldies music and DJ from his truck during the event.

Although the Moab car show is not a competition and not restricted to anyone wanting to enter, a few awards are given out to cars chosen by the Grand County Sheriff, Moab City Chief of Police, members of the Moab Chamber of Commerce, and other figures in the community. “Best in Show” is also chosen every year, and scholarships are given to one high school male and female student during the event.

“The cars are like a piece of art. They are quite the machines,” Mattingly said. “I like to see the different cars, and this year there is a 1955 Bentley coming from Arizona. I’ve never seen one of those before.”

Friday and Sunday bring “rod rides” to Castle Valley and Dead Horse Point, respectively, and spectators are allowed to watch from the sidelines but may not participate. Mattingly said he receives a lot of help from the Rod Benders Car Club and local volunteers to put the event on and make it fun for everyone.

“We have good support from the community, which is always good,” he said. “It’s pretty low key... The idea is to come on down and have fun.”

For more information about the April Action Car Show, visit www.moabaprilaction.com or call 435-259-5858.

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