Jim Bledsoe has loved cars since he was just a youngster.
“Movies like ‘American Graffiti’ make you want to get hooked on old hot rods. But I was never able to afford them until I got my kids through school. Now I’m finally able to do something with them,” he laughs.
Bledsoe, who says he has a fondness for the street rod-style cars with the big, fat fenders, is the founder and president of Vintage Street Rodders of America. This pre-1949 organization — cars made after 1948 are not eligible — will hold its second show this weekend from 8 to 5 p.m., Friday and from 8 to 4 p.m., Saturday at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport.
Beginning at 7 p.m., Saturday, the top 25 cars will be on display inside MeadowView’s ballroom as local band Wolf Creek provides entertainment with a mix of country, bluegrass and rock music.
VSRA was formed in 2009 and just began accepting members 18 months ago. Today, the group boasts more than 500 members in 31 states and two countries.
“We are certainly growing. We’ve held shows in Ohio and have just signed to do a show in Disney in March,” Bledsoe said.
VSRA caters to those who drive their cars to the shows.
“We accept trailered cars, but we don’t recognize them when we start to give out the top 25 plaques. The only people eligible for the plaques are the people who drive their cars to the shows,” said Bledsoe, who just returned from a show in Indiana in his 1934 Ford Three-Window Coupe.
So far, 80 cars from 10 different states are preregistered for this weekend’s show.
“But we’re hoping for 150 to 200 before it’s over. We’ve got several coming from Florida and the farthest away, we think, is coming from Illinois,” Bledsoe said.
Spectators are admitted free to all events.
For more information about VSRA or the show, call Bledsoe at (423) 571-6430 or visit w w w. v s r a - u s a . c o m .