So at 9:30am on January 17, 2013 I did something I’d never done before. I drove my Galaxie into it’s first ever indoor car show. The Starbird-Devlin Car Show at Century II in Wichita, KS, “The Wichita Tradition.” This is the 56th annual show, previously known as the Starbird Rod & Custom Show, it’s been a tradition in Wichita for a long long time.
I was lucky enough to be a part of the Kustom City display this year. Thanks to the new paint work done on my Galaxie by Jeff Myers, my car has been transformed to 60’s Boulevard cruiser. Doug Reed put together the Kustom City display of street kustoms from the area and my Galaxie was lucky enough to make the group.
So we rolled in, positioned ourselves and started cleaning the cars. It wasn’t long before it was time to head back to the day job, but I managed to grab a couple of quick snapshots while I was there.
I was barely out of a 3 year long battle to get out of debt, in fact I was a week out of it. Still I didn’t have much money as the last of my dollars and cents went to pay off the last debt I’d had, but I knew there was a show that looked to be kool happening in Wichita. The Stray Kat Kustoms Starliner show is always the weekend after Labor Day. So that morning I had to decide if I could make it until the end of the month if I spent gas money driving to this show. I had been to the Stray Kat Kustoms Rocket show in Fort Scott, KS early in the year and I loved the cars that I’d seen, and I’d always wanted to go to the Stray Kat 500 but hadn’t made it yet.
Of course I went. Of course. I almost always go when there’s a chance to see some kool rides. Determined to go on the cheap I stopped along the way at a BBQ contest that some friends were competing in, free food! SCORE! So after a free beer or two and an insane amount of amazing BBQ, I headed to the Starliner show. What I found was a great collection of kool kustoms and hotrods parked amongst a bunch of retired aircraft.
So I took a lot of photos! Obviously a kool environment for a show. At this time I knew barely anyone in the crowd and unsure of the way this social circle worked, I slipped in, shot photos and split. I had no idea how many great people that I was missing out on being friends with. Total shyness won out.
Early in 2010 I decided to head out to Viva Las Vegas. This is the only show that I’ve really attended outside of the midwest-ish area. So on April 1, 2010 I find myself sitting in Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport waiting for a flight that was running late.
I grabbed the latest issue of Ol Skool Rodz out of my travel bag and started catching up on some reading, pretty heady reading! When I put the magazine down to grab a drink a kind lady across from me asked if I was into hot rods.
“Are you going to Vegas for the car show?” How did she know about this car show, the target demo for VLV for sure wasn’t this lady. I nodded, full of curiousity.
“Us too!” It was then that I realized that the rest of her party were paying full attention. Were they sizing me up wondering who I was just as I was them? I think so.
Her husband and his white bearded friend talked to me a bit about cars and where I was from and “oh I was stationed in Salina back in the old days.” I found it like most conversations with old car guys, pretty damned interesting.
Before we knew it, the plane was pulling up to the gate and it was time for us to go. I was pretty happy to have met some kool old car folk (folks into old cars, not old and into cars), but the big picture was I was heading out to Vegas for a couple of shows!
Viva Las Vegas was an eye opening experience. I had never been to a show that was as much about a lifestyle as it was about the cars. It could be argued that it was less about the cars that year, I didn’t care, there was a parking lot full of kool iron and some beautiful women walking around. I did see my new friends there but only briefly and from a distance. I figured Wichita isn’t that big of a place, I’m bound to see them at a show sooner or later. Little did I know that I had already been shooting photos of their cars at shows for 4 years… remember that shy part earlier?
Another stranger then, friend now, Big Rich’s Caddy!
No dude I don’t know you, you were just a casualty of an opportunistic photographer.
Gambino’s F-You 54!
You get the idea, plenty of kool rides, and as you can tell a whole lot of people!
Okay, one more I couldn’t help myself.
On the Monday after the show, I find myself waiting at the Vegas airport waiting again for a late plane. As luck would have it, a few rows away I saw my new Wichita friends. I picked up my bags and went over after we made eye contact and they waved.
We talked about the show, it wasn’t what any of us were expecting. We talked about a lot of things, and honestly I don’t remember it all, but as the conversation went on I realized that these 2 men and their wives were not just your run of the mill car folk, they had been there, done that, and had been doing it for a very very long time.
Finally I got up the nerve to mention wanting to become a professional custom car and hot rod photographer, and that I was going to all of these shows to practice shooting in the worst environments I could so that I could learn as much as possible… yadda yadda. Oh, and here’s a book I made…
The next 45 minutes the two men went through the book with their wives looking over their outside shoulders, turning the book around every page or so to point at a car and tell me who it belonged to, or a story about the car or a story about one like it. Never has any institution of higher learning taught so much as these folks were teaching me as we waited for a delayed plane. The loved the book, we all knew the work wasn’t stellar but they loved that I was taking the time to document them and their friends’ passion, and they heartily encouraged me to keep it up. We exchanged phone numbers when the announcement was made that the plane had arrived. I was going to take them up on the offer to come visit and listen to more stories.
The first weekend of each May is the Stray Kat 500 in Dewey, OK. This was to be my first trip, my new friends were going to be there and I had been wanting to go for a couple of years. I knew of a few key folks due to the H.A.M.B. so this already had the makings of a bit of a different show for me instead of just shooting pics and splitting, I had people to talk to.
Somewhere in here I had the idea to produce some small books that were kind of like the little paged magazines of yesteryear. Each one was 60 pages and featured 1 show. I had created a few of them, designed them, filled them with images, printed them, bound them, the whole shebang. The entrepreneur in me decided that I was going to make money selling these books, the hardback that my friends and I had shared in the airport, and a few other items. I didn’t factor in that if I was sitting in a booth selling items then I couldn’t be out there shooting photos to make more of them! Thanks to my Dad and my Uncle Tom for booth sitting for me that day so I could take photos.
My first car show booth.
Don’s Beautiful Buick
As it would turn out my new friends had a lot of friends at the 500 that day. They came over and bought just about everything my meager booth had to sell. The came to talk to me, they sent their friends, they introduced me to tons of people and made sure people knew that I was to be supported, I was the only one paying attention to the passion of building kool kustoms and hotrods enough to not only take photos and put them online for the world to see but to make books and such from them. Monetarily this was a good weekend, the only good weekend I ever had with that meager booth. But relationally, it was a gold mine.
Hub & Gloria Harness and Steve & Carol Albers, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me when I wasn’t very good (I say that I’ve not improved much to this day), and for instantly welcoming me into your kustom family. When I still thought that this was about trying to make money with my passion for kool cars I was getting very discouraged. I was ready to quit. It was your welcoming smiles, your friendship, your generosity of time that made me realize that the treasure in this adventure would never live in my wallet but always in my heart. The friends that I’ve met since meeting the four of you have been amongst the greatest people I’ve ever been lucky enough to be around.
Hub & Gloria’s beautiful Buick Cinnamon
Steve & Carol’s 40 Ford with 250,000 miles on “this drivetrain” and a custom hand built trailer behind it so that Carol would travel with Steve out to Santa Maria, California instead of flying.
The point of this whole story is simple. Kustom folks are some of the best people on earth. Find some, make friends and if you’re lucky… the true riches of your life will multiply.
In Part 1 I went through some back history of the show from my cameras up to 2010.
So now on to 2011
Something I wrote at the time: “In the dead of winter each January it’s a pleasure every year to get together with my hotrod and kustom family and spend some time inside WITH a bunch of cool cars. The Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom show in Wichita, KS typically pulls about 400 cars max for a 3 day indoor show. As the name implies rods and customs show in abundance, but so do stock restorations, survivors, 4×4’s, lowriders, rat rods, and various types of racers.
A couple of very cool front engine dragsters were on display this year, as were some very nice traditional built hot rods. Traditional built rods are not rats, and this show had both build styles represented nicely. The car count and the vendor count both seemed down this year, but that was a blessing instead of a hinderance. Less cars means more room to get around the cars, and it seemed that the cars that didn’t show were the ones that I normally don’t shoot anyhow, so the show’s overall quality went up as a result.
The Marauders and Fundamentals had great club displays with the Marauders taking home the prize for best display for their “model” car display complete with giant exacto knives and Testor paint bottles to complete the look. The Fundamentals went with a beach theme and rumor has it some Marauders may have been involved with an incident involving Baby Ruth candy bars being dropped in the Fundamentals “sand” (kitty litter). I’m not going to say where the story came from or how hard the person who told it to me was laughing when he told how they did it.”
My friend Mike’s super clean Camaro
Just your basic 5 window hot rod coupe
Jack’s 30 Ford 5 Window Coupe as part of the Mulvane Marauder’s display
Chris and Karma Carlson’s 60 Pontiac Stella (owners of Chaotic Customs in Mulvane, KS)
Mike Young’s way wild 29 Roadster
A Historic hot rod brought down from McPherson College, the Paul Harris 32
Rocky Burris’ Wild Winged Ford pickup “TooKool”
Tom Hanna’s gorgeous FED
A couple of Starbird’s BubbleTops
Jack’s 29 AV8 Roadster, a survivor from the 50’s Video Feature on this car.
Gene Weaver’s 54 Chevy, 95% owner built, and beautifully done.
Larry James’ 67 Caddy
Rob Robinson’s 49 Plymouth, customized by Chaotic Customs
A beautiful Kustom 47 Ford
Roger Jetter’s amazing 54 Cadillac
Big Lip Camaro, always impresses
Doc Parson’s 27 T, one of the koolest hot rods out there.
For the first time ever, my Galaxie will be entered into an indoor car show. Now to be clear, this car was never meant to be a show car, only a kool kustom that I occasionally show off at shows. This first indoor show will be the Starbird-Devlin show in Wichita, KS at Century II on Jan. 18-20th.
I’ve been attending the show here on and off since the early 80’s. Back then I remember very little about the show or the cars that I saw there. Mostly the memories are just of good times with my dad and sometimes Grandpa at the Starbird show. It was a big deal. Not even an all too present case of the chicken pox could keep me away, when my folks asked if I was well enough to go, I lied my ass off. I was going to the Starbird show.
Over the years that I’ve been attending with a camera in hand we’ve been privy to some pretty fantastic vehicles on display at the show.
Last year I produced a Best of 2011 PhotoBook of all of my favorite images of 2011. Starting with about 14,000 images they were narrowed down to about 1,000 and then about 800 made their way into the final book. There were 21 feature chapters in all, each with a few hundred words describing the chapter and lots of photos of each event featured.
It is available as a hardcover, softcover and ebook if you’re interested in checking it out.
So the plan all along on this end was to do another for this year, however this time would be different, 100 or so photos on as many pages, each one with a sentence or two about it. More of a coffee table book.
So what say ye? Would that book be something you’d be interested in? Unfortunately these are a bit pricey compared to your normal Barnes & Noble type book, but they are made on demand specifically for you as you order. For a HardCover with a Dust Jacket, they’ll run about $51 plus shipping, $41 for softcover and $9.99 for ebook version. Leave a comment here to let me know what you think.
I’ve had my 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 since 2004. When she first entered my life she looked like a 70’s cruiser. Stock body, dark tinted windows (80’s probably), Cragar S/S wheels and some fairly large raised white letter tires.
It is my goal to continue to share the great people and cars of the Midwest with all of you around the world for years to come, so far for the last few years this has been a very expensive hobby. Thank you to those that buy hats, shirts, photos etc because you help to pay the bills for websites, cameras, gas, hotels, food, etc. to keep the machine rolling.
I do hope to someday make this a full time occupation since it is a passion that occupies so much of my mind so much of the time. I do not want to charge people to see the photos, but I am looking at ways to add sponsorship to the site to help pay the bills. The goal is to have royboyproductions.com a self sustaining entity by the end of 2013.
The future of the site as I see it today means more articles on show coverage, more feature videos, a series of videos on the construction of a kustom from barn find to boulevard beautiful. Stay tuned, buy some photos, a shirt, a hat or just tell your friends where to find a source for kool. royboyproductions.com
See you at a show, Travis
Here’s a shot of my good friend Jeff Myers’ shop Premier Body & Paint in Arkansas City, KS. Jeff has just completed a kustom paint job on my 63 Ford Galaxie (you can see his Galaxie in the photo).
The schedule for 2013 is already filling up! This post will be a breakdown of some of the shows of the first few months, have a look at the info I provide, check out the photos from years past and pick a couple out to attend!
So as I sit here typing we’re a couple of hours away from the 3rd Annual Mid Decembrrrr Run. Folks from hundreds of miles away are now on their way to Salina, KS to meet up and go on a long drive in our classic cars. It’s been a really good time so far, hopefully this year is too!
This will be it as far as 2012 goes for me and my cameras. It’s been a fantastic year, went new places, met new people and had a great time throughout it all. For 2012 there are 33 galleries with 7,987 photos so far, whew, my shutter finger is tired! To see them all go here: http://royboyproductions.smugmug.com/Cars/2012
Some of my favorites are
Fuel Altered “Black Mariah” doing a smoky burnout at the 2012 KKOA Leadsled Spectacular, see more from that weekend here.
About a year ago I joined Instagram, it’s been a fun way to give new life to some old photos and spread the word about what it is that I do here. http://instagram.com/royboyprods is where you can find those photos if you are not already on Instagram.
Have a great weekend, I’m off with a bunch of my rod/kustom friends for a road trip. Merry Christmas and I’ll see you at a show,
I’ve been blessed to meet some great folks in my travels around the midwest attending car shows from Austin to Chicago. So about a year back I decided that I wanted to feature some of the great people and their vehicles in a way that photographs alone couldn’t do. So in August the first video was released of Yblock292’s 29 Roadster. A bit behind schedule here is the 2nd video, this time of Finkd (Jeff Myers) beautiful mild custom 63 Ford Galaxie.
Jeff has become a great friend and was nice enough to take me and the camera for a ride to explain all about the car. I hope you enjoy it!
Jeff’s Arkansas City, KS based shop Premier Body & Paint is a H.A.M.B. Alliance Vendor so if you need some work done, make sure to join and let him know you’re a member! Music in this one was provided by my buddies The Rumblejetts, make sure to support them as well.
The first stop for my Saturday Sept. 22nd was at the Last Run in Arkansas City, KS. I’ve heard about this show for over a decade, it was time to finally check it out. Enjoy the slideshow and click any photo to go to the full gallery.
Had a great time at the 2012 Stray Kat Kustoms Starliner show at the Kansas Aviation Museum You should have been there too!
There are over 600 images in the gallery including some instagram versions and more artistic edits of some of the photos. There are another 70 or so that will be turned in to a magazine for possible show coverage feature. Speaking of that checkout Car Kulture Deluxe issue #54 for the feature on the Vibrasonic and the show coverage of the 2012 Stray Kat 500, both shot by Royboy and the 500 article was written by me as well! For some great audio about the Vibrasonic, go to Johnny King’s site here.
For the last few years each Labor Day weekend have been a double header in Kansas City. The Goodguys Midwest Nationals take over the Kansas Speedway and the Los Punk Rods Greaserama invades the Boulevard Drive In for a weekend of good times, cool cars & great people.
Here’s the coverage from 2011’s Greaserama,
And here’s the coverage of the 2011 Goodguys Midwestern Nationals,
Look for new galleries on Monday from the 2012 shows!
A few months ago it became apparent that a new feature needed to be added to Royboy Productions. Photos do a good job of conveying the car show experience but something else was needed. Starting at the end of 2011 video was captured of a few really cool cars, interviews shot with the owner or builder explaining the cars in their own words, in their own voice. This is episode number 1. I hope you enjoy it!