Chad’s Blog: Cruisin’ Sparks

Cars were meant to move. Yes, it’s obvious and a little ridiculous to point out, but think of the typical car shows you go to. The cars just sit there, right? Maybe they’re moving in and out of the venue, but otherwise they just sit there, waiting to be admired.

One of the most visceral connections we have with cars is the way they sound. Guessing between a blower and a gear drive whine is a fun pastime, and so is trying to pinpoint which of the vehicles is making that deafening racket down the block. You can’t tell which cars sound good and which don’t when they’re just holding down the grass.

Thankfully there are still some people out there in this big, wide world that want to admire the cars in motion, even if slowly. Praise be to the man who introduced the concept of cruising.

And you never know what’s going to happen. Maybe a car full of pretty girls wants you to do a burnout at the light. Maybe a cop mistakenly pulls you over for reckless driving. (I still maintain we did nothing of the sort.) It’s different every time, even if it is the same streets, the same people and the same cars.

Many municipalities have banned cruising in the past decade or two, threatening fines and even impound of your car, thanks to those few bad apples that spoil the fun for the majority. Many car clubs hold their own cruise nights, but there’s nothing like getting everyone in town together to watch the cars idle by. And this week in Reno everybody is there to see the cruises.

Hot August Nights sponsors controlled cruises in Sparks and Reno almost every night of the event. Hundreds of cars arrive before 7 p.m., lining up in parking garages and lots. Local officials shut down huge stretches of downtown streets. And then the stars roll out in a cacophony of chaos. Just the way they were meant to.

The Sparks event on Friday night was one of the largest I’ve ever seen, with literally thousands of people lining the streets to watch hot rods and muscle cars roll by. Some of the drivers revved their engines, while others were full of passengers who tossed candy and glowing bracelets to kids in the crowd. It was part parade, part car show, and all fun.

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