More than 2,000 custom cars from the east and west coasts, and many places in between, will be heading to Salina next week for the 2022 edition of the Leadsled Spectacular.
Kustom Kemps of America (KKOA), the largest and oldest association of custom cars and trucks in the United States, returns to Oakdale Park July 28-31 for the 42nd annual Leadsled Spectacular, the largest show in country custom cars.
As the show moved into its early years, Salina has been Leadsled’s permanent home since 2005.
Custom cars like a work of art
Jerry Titus, Founder and President of KKOA, said that creating custom cars is more than a hobby, but also an example of one-of-a-kind art.
“A custom type is an artist,” Titus said. “He doesn’t want a car that looks like everyone else in the neighborhood where he lives. He wants to customize it to his tastes.”
Titus said this type of art is what people see every year when they come to the show in Salina.
A love of custom cars from an early age
Titus fell in love with this kind of art when he was a teenager, hanging out at a body shop near his home in Wichita that did customization and body modifications.
“I would walk over there…and sit on a 5-gallon canister and watch all the action,” Titus said. “It just ate at me, and I’ve had a custom car since I was 16.”
As a teenager, Titus roamed the streets of Wichita on Friday and Saturday nights.
“You were hanging out in the street,” Titus said. “You would do it (for) two reasons. One, you would try to impress the high school cheerleaders.
He said the other reason people cruised was to put their cars against others.
“You could, at a stop light, look at the other guy and ask him how fast his car is going,” Titus said.
What often followed was a drag race to the next red light to see who was the best.
These cruises weren’t just a Wichita thing, as Salina residents experience the same kind of spontaneous happenings that happen on Santa Fe Avenue.
Where and when will the Leadsled Spectacular take place?
Although there are no drag races on Santa Fe Avenue, the Leadsled Spectacular opens its weekend at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 by honoring this tradition and hosting a sunset cruise .
Hundreds of cars will roll down Santa Fe Avenue that night, with thousands of Salinians and visitors lining the sidewalks to view these works of art as they drive down the avenue.
People will be able to view the registered entry cars for the 1/8 mile drag races from 4 p.m. to dusk on Friday, July 29 at the Berkley Family Recreation Area in Salina.
Other events and activities throughout the weekend include beauty pageants, a vintage bike showcase, live music, auto swaps, custom roddings and food vendors.
Cindy Williams, famous for “American Graffiti” and “Laverne and Shirley,” has been announced as the Spectacular’s special guest. She will be on hand to meet and greet fans and sign autographs.
The Leadsled Spectacular showcase will open at 9 a.m. each day from July 28 through July 31 in Oakdale Park.