In a tradition that a small Northeast Ohio town prides itself on, the Hot Rod Super Nationals returns to the Canfield Fairgrounds for another year of classic and late-model muscle cars, sport compacts, hot rods, trucks and customs. Jam-packed with over 2,000 vehicles on display, predominant aftermarket vendors on hand and plenty of extracurricular automotive activities to engage in, the Hot Rod Super Nationals is the go-to event to attend in Northeast Ohio during the summer.
The event traces its roots to the early ’80s with Hot Rod Magazine’s direct involvement with the Super Nationals, and eventually served as a catalyst and a stop for the Hot Rod Power Tour. After Hot Rod Magazine detached themselves from the event back in 2004 or so, the event carried on under a new name and new ownership. It was rebranded as the Steel Valley Super Nationals, as a nod to Youngstown’s once great prominence in the steel industry that some argue rivaled Pittsburgh.
Eventually, the show shifted from the fairgrounds to a local dragstrip and the massive after-party cruise that spanned across four lanes of traffic and for over five miles in distance in nearby Boardman, was redirected to Salem, Ohio’s Quaker City Raceway and its downtown district. The event also brought in musical acts, which many felt that in addition to the relocated venue, that in essence, diluted what the show was originally founded on.
Last year, to the joy of many, the show returned to the Canfield Fairgrounds and the after-party was sent back to nearby Boardman, albeit, condensed in a massive parking lot that’s shared between the Southern Park Mall and the local Chili’s. Roughly 1500 cars were in the parking lot alone, with many more being turned away due to overcrowding.
Over the course of the Winter, the ownership has changed hands and there’s new management at the table. With new people behind the event, comes new ideas and a new perspective on the show. The idea is to keep the basic premise of the Steel Valley Super Nationals in place, but to return the focus solely on the cars themselves and the people who build them, and move away from the attached rock concerts and fluff that many of the long-term show attendees and participants were less than enthusiastic about.
It’s about taking a back-to-basics, grassroots approach to an old-time favorite event of many, but with a twist; as there will be live video coverage and national media exposure though our outlets and social media channels — and for the first time in over a decade — a chance to have your car featured in a national publication for those who participate!
The dates of the show span from June 23rd-25th, but there will be a kickoff party held on the evening of the 22nd in Boardman. This of course allows you to take a peek of what’s going to be at the show that weekend! Spaces are limited at the kickoff party, but the event has a guaranteed 1,000 spots locked in, with the lot being a dedicated space for the event’s participants.
There will be a huge judged car show for separate classes, a mobile dyno will be in attendance for those who want see what their cars lay down to the tires (and for bragging rights, obviously), a car corral, a high-performance parts swap meet, a burnout competition and we even hear news of awarded cash prizes and a Ms. Hot Rod competition.
New for 2017, is a “Kids Town” section, that will host all sorts of games and activities for those young (or young at heart) gearheads in your family. The Batmobile, Back to the Future Time Machine and the Ghostbuster Ecto-1 will all be on display, with Batman himself taking pictures with the kids!
Prizes will be given out to show winners, to the highest dyno numbers of the day and more than likely, to the winner of the burnout competition. More details will follow as they are announced, so keep it posted here for the updates.
In the meantime, you can register your vehicle for the show in advance, by filling out the registration form HERE!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.