The inaugural MainStreet Showdown - a lowrider car show - went off without a hitch Aug. 4, as an estimated 3,000 people descended on downtown Española for six hours of family-oriented fun, featuring music, food, and, of course, more than 275 lowriders and other classic automobiles.
“It was an awesome time, bro,” said Eppie Martinez who helped organize the event, which brought to Española four sanctioned judges from Lowrider magazine.
From the time the gates opened at 11 a.m., and well into the afternoon, a long line of people waited their turn to pay $15 dollars to view the vehicles, which had arrived in Española from all over the southwest.
Although most of the vehicles had New Mexico license plates, some had arrived from Texas, California and Arizona.
Moses Martinez, of Alamosa, Colo., put his 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo on display, but keeping with the day’s family-theme, said the best part was being with friends and family.
“It’s a great way to show off my car and spend time with the kids and grandkids,” he said. “Really we came to enjoy the show.”
Chimayó resident Leroy Duran brought his 1977 Cutlass Supreme that is 10-years and $20,000 in the making. A work in progress, Duran said he built the purple auto from the chassis up.
“I still have a lot more to do,” he said.
Four sanctioned judges from Lowrider magazine were on hand. The event was a qualifying round for national lowrider competition held in Las Vegas, Nev. each year.
“Most people overlook the details,” said event judge Tyron Magdalino. “We judge for craftsmanship. We judge for the overall look and how well the car is put together.”
Mayor Alice Lucero issued a proclamation naming Española the Lowrider Capital of the World.
In the children’s area, Candita Borrego watched her two sons, Isaac, 10, and Fabian, 12, take turns trying to dunk each other in the dunk tank. Impatient with either sons’ inability to strike the target with the ball, Borrego pushed the plunger manually, sending Fabian into the water.
Mariachi band Marichia La Lluvia walked the grounds playing for attendees, competing for acoustic space with the beats pumping through the main stage speakers.
Dora Ortiz, of Nambé, came to show off her 1963 Falcon. The classic car hasn’t been retrofitted with a hydraulic suspension, but Ortiz takes pride in that nearly every part is original. More than showing it off, Ortiz likes being behind the wheel.
“If you have a tuxedo, dance in it, don’t get buried in,” she said. “I drive it around all of the time.”
Victor Martinez, of Chimayó, showed of his pinstriping skills using his 1997 Lincoln as his canvas. Martinez said he’s been painting cars for 33 years and took the opportunity to market himself.
“I’m here to show people what I can do,” he said.
Around 2 p.m. the hop began to a packed audience. Over the next 30 minutes the front ends of six vehicles bounced against the pavement to the great delight of the crowd.
Over all, city officials said they were very pleased with the event and are already looking forward to next year’s showdown.
“The kids loved it,” said interim city manager Joe Duran. “The cars they only see in magazines were there, It was a success in every way.”