SANTA FE, N.M. — Dubbed “the lowrider capital of the world,” Española will have to settle for hosting one of the largest lowrider shows in the country on Saturday.
Roughly 450 contestants from throughout the U.S. will converge in the heart of northern New Mexico for the second annual MainStreet ShowDown Super Show, which is sponsored by Lowrider Magazine. The event runs from noon until 6 p.m. and will be located on Paseo de Oñate, which is the main street running through Española.
On hand will be more than 25 vendors, including peddlers of car accessories and various foods from throughout the state. Musical acts also will be offered, highlighted by hip hop artist Lil Rob, whose 2005 hit “Summer Nights” broke into the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 36.
But, of course, the centerpiece of the event will be the cars.
“This is a national tour show, which are the biggest shows in the country,” said one of the event’s organizers, Andrez Valdez of Cultura Promotions. “People coming out will be able to see the prettiest cars around, and some of the most unique cars around.
“…Lowrider Magazine has been around for 30 years, putting together the biggest and best shows. Now, we are part of it.”
Participants will compete for prizes in more than 100 categories, ranging from the best classic cars dating back from the 1950s, to the best trucks and contemporary vehicles. As for the main prize, the winner of the best of show will earn $1,000, which will be voted on by a panel of judges assembled from throughout the lowrider world.
But the event isn’t just about competition, Valdez added. It’s about the cars.
And owners of lowriders who do not wish to compete are welcome to simply show off their vehicles, which is exactly what Valdez will be doing with his heavily modified 1962 Chevrolet Impala.
“I put a lot of work into my cars. People tell me to compete, but I just choose not to,” he said.
Asked what exactly constitutes a lowrider, Valdez explained: “It could just be as simple as a car with a modified suspension, dropping the tail end – just like what my dad used to do back in 1960s. … Or it could be modified by painting them with murals. Some put hydraulics; some put air bags. … There are just so many different ways to make a lowrider.”
As for Española’s claim of being the center of the lowrider universe? Valdez said all you have to do is head out there on any weekend night to understand why.
“It’s part of the culture here – it’s instilled in us,” he said. “Per capita, of all the people in the valley, there are more lowriders here than anywhere else.
“That’s why Española is the lowrider capital of the world.”
Española’s Fred Rael, whose Daytona sunset orange 1967 Chevrolet Impala convertible Supersport – dubbed Liquid Sunshine – was featured on the cover of Lowrider Magazine magazine last year, is expected to be among the competitors at this year’s event. Rael’s car is the defending best-of-show champion.