Colorado has a long history of mining – the Rocky Mountains are filled with both active and dormant mines from which valuable materials were extracted from the earth. Goodguys built on this tradition over the weekend during the 21st Colorado Nationals, where we discovered plenty of fine tin, unearthed some gems, and celebrated the precious metal of hot rods, customs, and vintage vehicles.

From the minutes the gates opened on Friday morning, there were sparkling nuggets of automotive goodness to be found throughout the expansive Ranch Events Complex in Loveland. The treasure trickled in throughout the day until there was a mother lode of vintage iron filling the facility. We had it all – bitchin’ hot rods, cool customs, trick trucks, rumbling muscle cars, and fun classics of all varieties. The rides literally glistened in the sun – which was abundant all three days, with perfect cruisin’ temperatures reaching into the 80s.

A TGIF party at Pinkee’s Rod Shop and Mash Lab Brewing got the weekend kicked into high gear Friday evening, with live music, tasty food from local vendors, and plenty of cool projects to see. Pinkee’s owner Eric Peratt ventured out to the event Saturday morning to select our Builder’s Choice Top 10 and delivered another winning lineup. The Goodguys crew, meanwhile, selected dozens of other awards, including three finalists for our Top 12 awards – Steve Wildman’s ’56 F100 for the Truck of the Year Early finalist, the ’69 Z28 of Harmon Anderson for the Muscle Car of the Year finalist, and Tad Leach’s ’58 Continental as the Custom Rod of the Year finalist. On top of that, we found Kirk Byerly’s Suburban for a Fuel Curve Pick, and Junior Mass’s ’31 Model A roadster pickup for the Gazette Pick.

Over on the AutoCross track, the awards were based on performance and were earned by those with the fastest times around the cones. The high-revving, tire-squealing, brake-locking action reached its peak on Saturday afternoon for the Western States Shootout presented by Pennzoil, which pitted the 16 fastest vehicles against each other. Scott Fraser continued his winning ways in Bruce Cambern’s Cobra, qualifying first for the Shootout and picking off each of his opponents on his way to victory. Class winners included Don Yarbrough in Truck with his ’55 Chevy, Andrew Chenoweth and his ’70 Challenger in Street Machine, BJ and Lisa Penrod in Hot Rod with their ’33 Factory Five, and Scot Spiewak for All American Sunday in a 2003 Corvette.

The Ranch was packed with spectators all weekend and Goodguys had plenty to entertain them – from live music and a great lineup of vendors, to the earth-shaking Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions and high-octane Burnout Competition. Specialty Auto Auctions even hosted an on-site auction Saturday afternoon, with a fantastic selection of classics, hot rods, cruisers, exotics, and other rides up for grabs. Add in a kids fun zone and model car display, and there was plenty to keep you busy when you weren’t checking out the cars.

Yes, the Colorado Nationals proved yet again why the Rocky Mountain region is a special place for hot rodders and car enthusiasts. The bounty on display over the weekend shows that there’s always more automotive treasure to be found and enjoyed.