TSRA Celebrates Its 46th Year of Street Rodding Fun!
Who would have thought that a small club of passionate street rodders formed loosely in 1971 would still be going strong today? If you ask those founding members, they’re probably not surprised at all to see the Tucson Street Rod Association still promoting the fun of the hobby and working in the community.
The TSRA continues to host events in the region including a swap meet, monthly club events and their flagship event, Rodders Days which has been held annually since 1974!
Rodders Days. which takes place on April 28-30, is more than a show, it’s actually a weekend rod run. The event gathers rodders from all over the southwest and kicks off with a cruise up near-by Mt. Lemmon for a burger burn at 9,100-feet above sea level then they gather at the host hotel for a charity auction and dinner. Saturday morning everyone sets up on 4th Avenue in downtown Tucson for a fun show and shine day with breakfast and awards on Sunday morning. (We’ll be there this year!)
We were able to talk with Thom McDonald, one of the founders of the TSRA, about how the club got started.
“In 1970 I was building a ‘27 tall highboy coupe from scratch in the back of a local company where I worked. One Saturday two guys came in and inquired about the car in the yard, and that’s when I met Hugh Frazier and Dudley Warner. They also were building hot rods, and the discussion led to starting a car club.
“Later, I remember seeing a brownish full fendered 30-31 Model A pickup that was definitely a hot rod because d I wasn’t able to catch up to it. That car reappeared at the old Phillips 66 station on Alvernon just south of Speedway where my father had his car serviced. I met the owner, Kerry Lord, who was working at the station. He eventually introduced me to another hot rodder, Steve Monasmith, who had a Model A fenderless coupe. The talk again was about starting a club. We gathered at Randolph (Reid) Park a few times picking up more interested rodders.
“We were offered a meeting place at the old Montgomery Ward’s basement in El Con for a few years. Those of us with cars under construction usually towed our cars to the meetings and other outings to show progress. Initially, the dues were $1.00 a month. Our operating money came from working the annual World of Wheels car show for many years. We also funded the Club with swap meets hosted at numerous locations in the Tucson area.
“After 46 years, I am just as passionate about street rods as I ever was as a young man. I am also proud to be a member of this Club I helped start all those years ago and cherish the memories. There is talk all the time of nostalgic hot rod history but you know—we are making history,” Thom McDonald.
Today, the Tucson Street Rod Association is comprised of 43 active members. They get together for a monthly meeting the first Friday of the month at the Sabbar Shriners, 450 S. Tucson Blvd. 85716 at 7:00 PM. If you have a ’48 and older rod and are interested in becoming a member, head to a meeting or check out the TSRA website for more info.