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Reno Gazette Journal: Largest Hot August Nights event to date

Aug 07, 2013

No matter your age, think August in Reno-Tahoe, and you’ll undoubtedly think Hot August Nights.

“That’s the best part,” said event Executive Director Tony Marini. “Everyone loves Hot August Nights. Whether you’re a 6-year-old, and you say to your mom and dad, ‘Hey, there goes a Hot August Nights car,’ or you’re an 85-year-old who says, ‘I had one of those cars,’ the fact that this event appeals to such a broad range of ages is absolutely fascinating.”

This year marks the 27th time the Reno-Tahoe community has celebrated classic cars and classic sounds of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, heralding the world’s largest event dedicated to “celebrating America’s love affair with cars and rock ‘n’ roll.” The event features organized cruises, drag races, Show-n-Shines, concerts and more.

And this year’s celebration is touted as being the largest yet, with more than $100,000 guaranteed prize money during its highly popular Show-n-Shines. In the spotlight this year: a groundbreaking partnership between Hot August Nights and Barrett-Jackson, billed as “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions™.”

“We couldn’t be happier with this new partnership,” Marini said. “My goal this year is that everyone goes home and immediately plans their return next year. In the car world, we’re hoping to create the biggest car week on the planet, and with the marriage of these two companies, we hope to be on every gearheads bucket list from here to New York City.”

The inaugural Hot August Nights Auction Presented by Barrett-Jackson will take place Aug. 8-10. There, buyers can bid on and purchase vehicles from Barrett-Jackson’s renowned selection of collector cars, then take them right from the auction block to the streets to participate in one of Hot August Nights’ cruises or Show-n-Shines.

The inaugural Barrett-Jackson Cup™ will be awarded during the Downtown Reno Show-n-Shine. The event will include a $40,000 prize purse, with $20,000 being awarded to the car that earns the Ultimate Best of Show Award. Organizers call this the largest cash prize in car show history.


“The only missing piece in Hot August Nights’ successful puzzle was a Barrett-Jackson Auction,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, in a press release on the Hot August Nights web site. “Our collectors in Canada, Seattle, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley have been asking — for decades — for an auction in their region. The partnership with Hot August Nights provides the perfect atmosphere of automotive passion to make that happen.”

Representatives from local casinos are adding to the chorus of support for the partnership.

“We are proud to be the host hotel for Barrett-Jackson,” said Kimberlee Tolkien, assistant general manager of Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. “We welcome the Barrett-Jackson auction to Reno and are pleased to offer the Ford- and GM-sponsored Ride and Drive attraction in conjunction with all of the festivities Atlantis brings you year after year.”

Cash prizes and other awards will be handed out to Hot August participants at 15 regional Show-n-Shines — each of which recognizes a wide array of vehicles, from the most luxurious collector cars to well-maintained everyday automobiles. Popular highlights include a nightly “Best of Show” at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and Grand Sierra Resort and a “People’s Choice Award” at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

“Atlantis is proud to support Hot August Nights and offers a great family-friendly venue with activities for all to enjoy,” Tolkien said. “Our nightly Cruise of Champions is a favorite among car collectors. You get to cruise in with your ’72 or older beauty and be judged.

Winners will share their part of the $35,000 cash prize purse, and just for cruisin' with us, you get a free party fun pack with goodies including a free t-shirt.

We have the hula hoop Guinness Book of World Records contest nightly, along with the crowd favorite eating contests,” she added. “Glad to have Twinkies back!”

Entertainment choices this year include both rock ‘n’ roll legends and tribute acts. Performers from some of the greatest decades in music will take center stage, including Paul Revere and the Raiders, Tower of Power, The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley and more.


“We’ll even have a movie premiere this year,” Marini said of the red carpet event. “’Snake and Mongoo$e’ is a movie about the life story of Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme and Tom ‘The Mongoose’ McEwen.”

The premiere is scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Century Park Lane theater, and the legends themselves are expected to attend.

“There’s a great buzz about all the new and exciting things happening this year,” Marini said. “Hundreds of thousands of people show up each year to watch and participate in Hot August Nights, and we’re expecting it to be even bigger and better this year.”

At the time of the interview, entrants exceeded 5,000 and were “growing daily,” Marini said. He estimated that between 400,000 and 600,000 spectators watch the cruises and participate in events.

“The organization is here to stay in Reno,” Marini said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure Hot August Nights appeals to everyone in the household, from age 5 to 85.”

For a complete list of Hot August Nights events, visit and click “Event Schedule” under the “Event Info” tab.

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