It’s that time of year. The heat and humidity of another Southern Illinois summer are building along with the excitement for the Street Machine Nationals. After two years without any major hiccups, the show's promotion company, Family Events, and the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds inked a three-year deal keeping the show here through 2017.

I know some Southern Illinois residents were reluctant to see the show return to the area. I understand it developed a bad reputation years ago of just being a “big party,” but there seems to be a more positive buzz in the air about the show these days. Let’s be honest, the show greatly helps the Southern Illinois economy by bringing in thousands of people from all over the country and they will eat, stay and shop here.

I’ve always enjoyed the “national celebration of horsepower” even though I only remember bits and pieces of my trips as a youngster when my dad took me to the show. I have been fortunate enough to return the favor to him the last two years the “Nats” have been back at the “Motorhead Mecca” of Southern Illinois.

I recently reached out to Matthew Louck, the VP of Marketing and Communication for Family Events and he said he expects more than 2,500 participant vehicles at this year’s show. He also said as of now there are more registered vehicles than at the same time last year.

I hope everyone has accepted the show as a family event and that it will continue to grow in the number of participants and spectators. I’m also hopeful that everyone will see the true meaning of the show.

The Street Machine Nationals are meant to celebrate the automobiles that define us. I know some of the attendees have spent many years and countless dollars making their ride something they are proud to call “one of a kind.” It’s not just about the cars either; it’s about the people and the stories behind those cars.

I look forward to talking with some of the owners of some special automobiles at this year's show. I look forward to the sights and sounds of gleaming paint and open headers. I look forward to the smell of burned racing fuel. I can’t wait to see the new autocross and I’m always excited for the Dyno challenge and Performance Marketplace.

Speaking of the autocross, which will run each day of the event, Louck said, “The Hotchkis Autocross will challenge participants to get behind the wheel and tackle a tight-turning, hard-braking course. The object is to make it around the course as fast as possible without hitting the ever-present and ever-dreaded orange lane marker cones. It is a driving challenge that any car can take on. Hotchkis and their partner brands will be presenting special achievement awards.”

I know a lot of time and effort went into bringing the Street Machine Nationals back to Southern Illinois, and I just want to go on record to say thanks to all those who put in that effort. I hope it continues to stay here for many years to come and that everyone can have a good time without causing any trouble.

So bring the whole family out and make this an annual tradition that all ages can enjoy. I want the next generation of gearheads to experience the sights and sounds I have been able to only at the “Nats.”

The show begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 26th and will run though Sunday, June 28. Tickets can be purchased at Black Diamond Harley Davidson in Marion for $10 or at the gate the day of the event for $13.

To see the complete list of this years schedule of events or to register your ride to be a part of the show visit http://www.streetmachinenationals.net/du-quoin-street-machine-nationals-june-26-28-2015

If you have a special vehicle you are taking to the Street Machine Nationals and you’d like to share its story get a hold of me at shawn.anglin@thesouthern.com.

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Shawn Anglin is a sports clerk for The Southern Illinoisan. He also blogs about cars at thesouthern.com/blogs/idlethoughts.

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