Hot August Nights Puts Doubt, Dissention In Rear View Mirror

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It's the first Monday in August. Reno and Sparks appear to be filling up and there are classic cars everywhere you look.

In other words it's Hot August Nights again.

There was a time recently when it was feared this annual week-long tribute to hot cars and rock 'n roll might be moving on.

In 2010, just weeks before the event, news surfaced that then Executive Director Bruce Walter had signed an agreement to hold the event in Long Beach the next year in the same time slot, holding a follow up show in Reno the following week.

It was even reported that Long Beach might eventually have exclusive rights to it.

The move blindsided local supporters including the mayors of both cities.

"I'm disgusted," said Reno Mayor Bob Cashell at the time, "They need to get out of Long Beach and get back to Reno."

Watching the debate from afar were participants like Howard Davies, who'd been bringing his car to Reno each year since 1985.

"We'd hear rumors that it wasn't going to be held, then it was, but it was going to be held in Long Beach first."

Eventually the Long Beach show was cancelled and Walter resigned, but along the way a lot of distrust was created with the event's army of volunteers.

But in working their way through the controversy, new bridges were built, Both Cashell and Sparks Mayor Geno Martini were put on the organization's board of directors.

Still, there were concerns about lasting effects.

The organization felt it answered many of those concerns with last year's show.

This year Managing Director Tony Marini believes it's all in the past.

"No one should be surprised about where this organization is headed," he said Monday watching the set up at the Grand Sierra Resort venue.

"We've got the world's best collector car auction coming to Reno for the next three years. That should tell anyone that we're committed to staying in this community. We're going to grow and continue to add new fun things to this event."

Davies agrees. "Last year was good. This year is going to be bigger with Barrett Jackson and it's going to be better. I'm surprised at the number of cars already here."

Davies had parked his car among a few hundred others at the week's first Reno Show 'n Shine. Two others were held later that night.

These local shows follow weekend events that drew at least 400 cars according to Marini. Registration opens in Reno Tuesday. Marini thinks the event is on track to host 5,500 to 6,000 cars this year.

"The buzz is back."