[KHTS] – Santa Clarita residents of all ages looked at dozens of hot rods at the Hot Rods 4 Heroes event to raise money for the American Legion Sunday.
Hundreds attended the event held in the parking lot between the Old Town Newhall Library and the American Legion Post 507.
“It initially started with 75 cars and now we’re at 90,” said Mike Merlo, first vice commander for the Sons of the American Legion who organized the event in partnership with his brother-in-law Ray Diaz, sergeant at arms for the Sons of the American Legion.
The event was free to the public and car show entry fees are going to benefit the American Legion Post 507.
“The event took a lot of organization to get to this point and it’s ended up going pretty smooth,” Diaz said. “There’s not just one type of car here. There’s new vehicles, there are classics, low riders, hot rods, motorcycles, rat rods.”
Along with food trucks, vendors and cars, the event had a beer garden where attendees could watch football while enjoying their beer.
“It’s a learning experience for us because we didn’t expect so many hot rodders to come out and support the American Legion,” Merlo said.
Cars and motorcycles entered in the event were eligible to win in 11 categories: Best of Show, Best Motorcycle, Best Low Rider, Best Engine, Best Paint Job, Best Classic, Best Muscle Car, Spectators Choice Car, Spectator Choice Motorcycle, Best Truck and Best Exotic Car.
The judges were volunteers from the community and all have different levels of expertise, Merlo said. From restoring classic cars to building engines, to paint detailing.
“This is an awesome event,” said Brian Martin, agitant for the Sons of the American Legion. “My dad was a veteran and I’ve been a member here for close to 30 years. This is just something that was put together to let the public know that were here. The older veterans are going away and the younger veterans need to step up and keep this post going.”
Find out more information about the Sons of the American Legion and more events like this one at the website.
“I spent most of my life getting up and going to work and then coming home and spending some time with the family,” Merlo said. “I’ve never gotten to do anything for the community and this is a way for me to do that.”