NEEDLES TO PARKER…THE SHOW AND SHINE CAPITAL OF THE SOUTHWEST

I’ve been to four of them so far this year with one more to go at Lake Havasu on November 2.  So who doesn’t like to look at beautifully restored high performance classics and appreciate the craftsmanship that each so elegantly displays.  What I’ve also noticed is that each Show and Shine, although similar in concept and format, has a little different vibe which makes it just that much more interesting and definitely worth attending.

I started the season on February 23 at the Route 66 Show and Shine in Needles, a parking lot deal at Jack Smith Memorial Park and Launch Ramp with Mr. Krazy Kolors, Billy B, ram-rodding the festivities with the help of the local Needles Chamber of Commerce.  Billy must like to play golf, but probably not very well, but that’s reason enough to start the pre-weekend fun off with a golf tournament, a BBQ and an evening cackle-fest in town.  On Saturday, the fun moves to the park and launch ramp where up to a hundred boats and a like number of hot rod cars cover the asphalt.  By mid-morning some of the boys get restless with all that horsepower sitting on the trailers, and one by one find their way to the launch ramp to entertain the crowd with burn-outs and hot laps up and down the river.  Since this is the birth place of the NRKA (Needles River K  Association), there’s always  a  guaranteed abundance of go-fast equipment everywhere you look.  On the ol’ “Bob-O-Meter”, this event gets a solid 9 out of 10 (it would be a 10 out of 10 but the last two years wind storms have blown out the event early Sunday morning.  Hey, what do you want….it’s February!  Try and do this in Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis where snow shoes are mandatory).

Fast-forward about seven months…..now it’s September 14 and time for the annual Castle Rock Shores Show and Shine.  And what makes it special….the Parker Strip of course.  Nothing fancy here, just what you’d expect, a lot of locals getting together to have a good time and show off their custom boats and cars.  For scenery, it doesn’t get any better than this as the boats and cars are literally at the water’s edge.  About 40 to 50 classics, some super sano, others just nice daily river runners, but it doesn’t matter, lots of proud owners and definitely a party atmosphere.  Turn on the ol’ ”Bob-O-Meter”, Castle Rock rates at least an 8.5, but it probably is a 9 or better for many because the beer is served really cold.

Just a week later, here’s what 100,000+ horsepower looks like.  Over 100 of the hottest hot boats in the country line-up gunnel to gunnel along the beach of the oh-so-popular Pirates Cove Resort  just south of Needles, California on the Colorado River.  September 21, 2013 was a special day because it was time for the annual “River Rockets” meet-up organized by the zen master of all things v-drive and custom paint, Billy B.

This epic late summer meet-up of immaculately restored flatbottoms, hydros and jets has in just a few short years become the most spectacular in-water display of chrome and horsepower of any event in the U.S.A.  Virtually every boat brand name from the past ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s was represented, most of them with massive big block supercharged power between the stringers.

One particularly touching and very classy  moment at the 2013 River Rockets event was a one-minute ear-deafening salute with motors roaring in honor of, and to memorialize, the recently departed Chris “Church Mouse” Blevens who was known to all in the v-drive world as the “mayor of Bass Lake”.  The send-off was truly was an appropriate eulogy for a much loved member of the fraternity.   Time again to check the “Bob-O-Meter” and it’s a near perfect 9.9.

Okay, if Pirate Cove can do it, why not Pirate’s Den down on the Parker Strip?  I guess they can because their October 4-6 V-drive river bash was bad-ass.  With just two years of operation under their belt, Pirate’s Den has become ‘the’ place on the Parker Strip for adult beverages, good food and an all-around good time.  About fifty totally cool flatties, hydros and cruisers sat just in front of the Den as the attendees milled about the property enjoying the music, food and drinks.  It was a mixed bag of eye-candy ranging from blown alcohol hydros and flats to turbocharged cruisers to some exceptional old-school race boats that have been restored to period-perfect condition, including the all wood “Mixed Emotions.”  Based on the overall ambiance and pristine quality of boats on display, the “Bob-O-Meter” was all over this one with a 9.5.

Next up on the Show and Shine circuit for 2013 is the new “FAB 40” Show and Shine presented by Performance Boat Candy during the Sand and Water Expo, Saturday, November 2 at Lake Havasu State Park, Windsor 4.  This wraps-up the season with a judged competition giving a few proud owners bragging rights, at least for a few months, when it starts all over again.  If you haven’t been to a Show and Shine this year, do yourself a favor and catch this last one on the calendar.

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