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Oh, Wheelie

From customized cars, hot rods, classics and even motorcycles, to celebrity appearances, mini bike drag races and live bands, the Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Show will be a fun time.

John Tranchina
January 28, 2019

Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Show is back in Tulsa for the 55th year, and as usual, there will be many different intriguing attractions.

From amazing-looking customized cars, hot rods, low riders, classics and even motorcycles, to celebrity appearances by personalities from car-related TV shows like “Horny Mike” from Count’s Kustoms (as seen on the show Counting Cars on the History Channel), the fan favorite live hooning show, mini bike drag races, live bands and a DJ in the Rockin’ Billy Bash throughout the weekend, it will be a fun time for car lovers of all ages.

“Every year we try and bring in different acts, different feature cars, different events for the people to enjoy outside of the cars,” says show co-producer Brice Bledsoe, Darryl Starbird’s grandson. “We’ve got a pretty big live band coming out Friday night that will be performing, called Count’s 77. It’s the main guy [Danny “The Count” Koker] from the show Counting Cars. He has his own band, so that is a unique attraction that we will be having this year.

“Downstairs in the Billy Bash, we’ll have a few new events going on. We’ll have peddle car races for kids, and Sunday we will have what we call Downhill Derby, which will be a unique attraction, kind of rolling down one of the ramps in the building. And then we’ll have the live hooning as well, with the burnouts, and the flame-throwers — just kind of freestyle. I believe we’ll be having a demolition derby as well, taking place Saturday night.”

And of course, there will be many awesome cars on display, in many different categories, including 20-30 cars competing for the prestigious Go for the Gold award and the $10,000 cash prize.

“These are the best of the best, normally newer vehicles,” Bledsoe says. “We have people from all over the world come out to compete for this award. Last year, we had some guys from Switzerland bring a car. These are the cars that are a little more customized, and a little creative — more of like what Darryl used to do.

“Overall, between the upstairs portion of the show, the Billy Bash downstairs, and what we call our Cool Car Corral, which is more of a drive-thru show that we put on out front underneath the big Driller guy in the parking lot, we get close to 1,000 cars. It’s one of the largest, if not the largest indoor show in the country. Whether it’s the muscle cars, hot rods, classics, 4-by-4s, low riders, or motorcycles — there’s a classification for everything.”

Beyond all that, there’s always interesting stuff going on in the Billy Bash area.

“We’ll have our [‘50s and ‘60s style] pinup contest, we have a beard contest, and another new attraction called Sally Marvel’s Thrill-Seeking Fire Show,” Bledsoe adds. “She kind of does the old freak show acts. She blows fire. I think she swallows swords. She does some crazy stuff like that. We will also have tattoo artists out there as well.”

Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Show
Expo Square | Tulsa
Feb. 15: Noon-11 p.m.
Feb. 16: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Feb. 17: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.