Updated: Apr 12, 2020
The car culture in Arizona has never been better. Proof of that shows in the increasing number of car meets, shows, and racing events each weekend. If you're anything like me though, there still aren't enough events to satiate my hunger for all things automotive. That being said, Don Hernandez, a local tattoo shop owner, aims to change that.
One day last week while perusing the infinitely deep abyss that is Facebook, I came across a new meet-up for cars, trucks, and motorcycles at the Westgate Entertainment District, in Glendale, Arizona. It appeared to be on a Wednesday and it was at 9pm. These details had me excited and perplexed all at the same time. It had to be some sort of typo; there was going to be a meet on a weekday, after kids should be in bed, and it's on the West side. I HAD to add it to my calendar and made plans to see how it would all turn out.
Wednesday came around and all day I counted the hours until the meet. That evening there were a couple of comments posted that set the tone for what could be a lackluster meet with little to no attendance. One person mentioned that they had not noticed the meet was on the West side and opted out due to the distance. This is typical; the West side seems to be the bastard child of the Phoenix metro area when it comes to anything other than Cardinals games, so not many people head out that way unless it's a life or death situation.
Regardless, I attempted to remain optimistic and checked back on the event page just before I committed to grabbing my camera and heading out. Don had posted a picture of a lone black Honda Civic in the parking lot to so that attendees would know where the meet was to go down along with a makeshift "X" marks the spot map.
Cautiously optimistic, I jumped in my car and began the trek towards Westgate. As I pulled into the parking lot I was overcome by this feeling that reminded me of moments when I was a child, right after I did something stupid where I would here the words "I told you so." It was 9pm and there were less than a handful of cars in the lot. Being the first meet, I decided to wait until 9:30pm and if it didn't get any better I was heading back home.
For every car that would cruise in and park it seemed that another would pull out and leave. Just as I had written the whole thing off, cars began rolling in like high tide on a clear moonlit night on the beach. In that instant this warm fuzzy feeling poured over me and like Bob Marley said, I knew that "everything little thing was going to be alright."
Tuners, motorcycles, lifted trucks, late models and custom hot rods all came together as one and made that hump day one for the history books. The whole meet was going off without incident until a single person decided that the parking lot needed a little bit of rubber laid down on it.
I heard the screech of tires breaking traction and the whine of an import motor hitting its rev limiter. No sooner than tire smoke began creeping out from between the asphalt and his tires the crowd began booing and yelling at him to leave. Don ran over to him and kicked him out, making an example for anyone else who felt the need to exhibit their lack of rational thinking.
The last thing you want at a car meet is for the police to come and break it up because of some idiot, especially at the first one! Don gathered everyone around as he climbed up on a light pole pedestal and made the announcement that stupid behavior would not be tolerated. Not knowing Don, I was surprised to see that such a young man, was so absolutely mature. He went on to explain how the meet came to be, that he wanted it to continue each Wednesday night, and that after the meets there would be a Beer Pong tournament at Whiskey Rose, right across the parking lot, with a $600 prize.
After he threw in a plug for his tattoo shop the crowd cheered, Don jumped down, and everyone dispersed back to mingling with each other. Eventually people began leaving as, no doubt, they had work Thursday morning. The meet was great and I look forward to seeing it continue each Wednesday. Hats off to Don for putting it all together and to the car community for supporting it.
Photos: Ryan Grimes
Location: Westgate Entertainment District, Glendale, Arizona