The city of Phoenix, considered by many to be the crown jewel of the southwest, played host to the opening of this year's tour with an amazing show sponsored by Lugz, Ruthless Records and Unique Auto Salon. The sold-out Arizona State Fairgrounds served as the perfect backdrop for this amazing event, boasting over 700 entries in one of the largest shows of the past few years. It's only fitting that the city named after a mythical bird symbolic of resurrection would play host to this show, as it is a telling tribute to the resurgence of the lowrider culture in the southwest. Once thought to be slowly dying out, lowriding is still a formidable fixture in the four corners area. The number of entries and spectators involved with this show is a testament to that longevity. We're here to stay.

This show started with the anxious fever common among the big lowrider shows. People were lining up early Saturday morning, causing a snake line of cars to wind around the block. The anxious contestants lobbied in the hope of getting that prime location inside. In fact, Saturday's anticipation led to quite an event of its own in the parking lot, as people took advantage of the wait time by cleaning and waxing their rides, doing the final wipe down once the car was parked inside the show. Move-in teams worked with NASCAR level quickness to ensure contestants an efficient entrance and adequate set up time--a back-breaking effort indeed.

The gates finally opened to the public at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, and people began flooding the aisles, gasping in awe at the one-of-a-kind cars. Many of the cars on display came from all over the country, but the local clubs really came out in full force. Todd Land and the Arizona Majestics made their presence felt, as did other car clubs including UCE and Rollerz Only, who rolled in particularly deep. Some of the older traditional clubs competing with cars from El Paso, New Mexico, Arizona and Los Angeles included the Techniques, Klique, Groupe, Society, Spirit and Imperials. Another club from out of state was the impressive Obsessions Car Club of Atlanta, Georgia, who brought in two amazing rides to be part of this kick-off event. Mexico even represented, with one Mexican Side Car Club contestant hailing from south of the border. Other clubs in attendance included Los Angeles' Stylistics, Oldies, Ultimate Riders, Old Memories, Good Times, Royals, Unity and the Intruders.

The outstanding quality of this year's cars could be seen at the outset. Looking down the aisles, spectators could find contributions from Society Car Club including Steve Shmitz' '66 "Rug Burns," as well their incredible vintage Bonneville leading off the line up. The Imperials made their mark on the competition by displaying vehicles that included the '58s pictured with gorgeous Playboy Bunny, Holly Madison, on the March '09 Lowrider cover. Two clubs that rolled out together in a show of solidarity were the SoCal-based Stylistics and Los Angeles Car Clubs. They also brought out their cover cars like George Ramirez' '80 Cabriolet, "Fame," featured on the cover of our April '09 issue and Jose Rodriguez' '64 Impala, "The Game Don't Last Forever," pictured on the cover of our September '08 issue. Cesar Rodriguez of the Oldies broke out a clean '38 Master Deluxe that dared to be different by featuring a leather interior, an element usually frowned upon by the bomb purists.

The Klique C.C. made quite an impact on the crowd with a clean '65 Impala that featured wild graphics throughout and a custom trunk done up by master tuber, Leonardo. Other contestants making a splash towards qualifying early for the titles included Armando Gonzalez of Uniques C.C. with his '91 Chevrolet pick up truck. Good Times Car Club had a multi-chapter showing which included Jesse's '65 Impala, "Overnight Celebrity," that kept them looking good indoors while the rest of their fleet looked impressive under the hot Phoenix sun. Spirit Car Club also looked good with an impressive lineup that was roped off with beautiful club display stanchions.