When I think of Middle America one word comes to mind…pride. Every time I traveled to the Midwest I feel an overwhelming sense of American pride and it makes me feel how lucky I am to be free. The word freedom means different things to different people and most of us think of being free as being able to do something by choice. For example, being able to drive a 400-plus horsepower classic truck that breathes fire and keeps tire companies in business is a freedom. On that same note, being able to take the wife on a cruise up a mountain road just to grab some apple pie is a freedom. Freedom is something that is taken for granted more often than not, that's why when we can enjoy our freedom in life we should take advantage of it.

The Goodguys 22nd Heartland Nationals was held on an extended Fourth of July weekend and was held at the Iowa State Fair Grounds in Des Moines. The Fourth fell on a Thursday, but the fireworks continued all weekend and blasts of smaller pyrotechnics were spotted Sunday evening. The show was not only a time to watch fireworks, grill some hamburgers, and have some downtime, but also celebrate the Independence Day with honor and pride. Everywhere I turned the American flag was waving in the wind and classic vehicles wandered the city with a sense of elegance and rich history of Mid America. So I'll ask this question: What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than driving or enjoying pre-1972 classic vehicles?

On Friday morning, the rumble of 3-inch exhaust, open headers, and straight pipes lined the fairgrounds. As I walked into the show I was welcomed by the musky smell of old magazines and rusty car parts as the owners of the perishable items tirelessly unloaded. Moving forward toward the center of the fairgrounds, cars and trucks alike lined up to find a spot in the shade under the tall trees. Others tirelessly chased the chance to hold a Goodguys trophy, and for them, parking in the right location is key. I overheard a gentleman say he was getting ready for the show at 3:30 a.m. in the morning and how he could use some naptime. With the hundreds if not thousands of people making their way through the gate, foot traffic was high. Young kids with their grandparents saying, “Look, look grandpa I want that one!” And who can forget the overwhelming smell of fairgrounds food. Chocolate-covered hotdogs anyone?

Hidden behind a bar, the autocross was running full force. The crowd favorites were cheered on by family, friends, and onlookers as TV personality Tim Strange worked the mic. The gathering was strong and each and every autocross pass got faster and faster. Fun times were had by all and the weekend was wrapping up, but not before the awards were given out. Happy motoring everyone. See ya at the next show.


Classic Trucks Finest Five 2013