Rogue Valley Street Rods

Celebrating our 50th Anniversary - 2023     New Members Welcomed!

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Originally established in 1973

           In the early 1970’s the hobby of building street rods, hot rods, and custom cars was growing quickly in the southern Oregon region.  In response to that growth of interest, several street rod families got together in the fall of 1973 to organize a street rod club.  The original name of the club was “Medford Roadsters.”  One of the first priorities was to have a membership drive and let others know of the existence of the club.  In February of 1974, the members had a small booth at a local car show and were amazed at the number of people who were interested in the club.  From the small group that started, the club more than doubled its size in three days. In April 1974, the members of the club voted to change the club’s name to the “Rogue Valley Street Rods” (RVSR) to more accurately reflect the composition of the organization.  In those early days, the club was sponsored by Bob’s Drive-In Restaurant in Medford and the club held its meetings in the drive-in’s dining room.  Hamburgers and french fries were available during the meetings, and the people at Bob’s gave the club many free burger tickets to be given away at various events.

           Some of the club’s early activities included appearances at local parades and rod runs.  In those days rod runs were weekend campouts hosted by street rod clubs in various cities all over the nation. There were also regional and national meets to attend, sponsored by the National Street Rod Association (which, at that time, was restricted to 1948 and older cars).  Keep in mind that this was before the time of today’s many “Goodguys” events and most of the ones put on today by local business organizations to attract tourist trade.

           In 1978, the Rogue Valley Street Rods members decided to present an indoor winter charity car show. 

The original name chosen for that 1978 event was the “West Coast Charity Benefit Rod and Custom Show”.  The admission price was just $1.00!  The show was set up to include a cross-section of all types of cars to introduce the general public to the diversity of the automotive hobby.

            That first show was produced on a shoestring budget.  The expenses were paid from the gate receipts, and only a small amount, $1,747, was donated to local charities.  From 1978 to 1981 RVSR produced the show but in 1982 the 5th Annual Show was produced by the local Mustang Club, and the money was donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  From 1983 on, RVSR produced the show and donated the proceeds to the Oregon Health & Science University - Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (OHSU/CDRC) with the stipulation that the funds were to be used only for treatment and care of kids in the southern Oregon region.

           The show continued to grow steadily through the years, reflecting the growth of the club’s membership, the region’s population, and the effort put in by the members to improve the quality of the event.  By the 1990’s the annual donations from the show to the OHSU/CDRC were in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.  In 2002, the Silver Anniversary show, then President and Show Coordinator Larry Stalions, and the club members decided to put on an expanded event.  Additional sponsors were recruited and an expanded promotion program was rolled out.  A general improvement in the show’s quality was the goal.  Attendance at that event set new records as did the donation from the proceeds – jumping to $21,500. 

          The 2003 through 2006 events, then managed by RVSR President and Show Coordinator Troy Boyd, were even larger and more successful extensions of this new philosophy.  In 2004 the event’s name was changed to the “Southern Oregon Rod and Custom Show.”  This shortened the name of the show and more accurately identified its location geographically.  The successes of the 2004, 2005, and 2006 shows resulted in each setting new donation records.  The 2006 donation was $30,000.  Eventually, after over 35 years, the club decided to retire from producing the show.  By then the cumulative donations to OHSU/CDRC totaled over $600,000.

           Many, many southern Oregon kids treated by the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, and their families received help from those donations.  Kids who struggled with diagnoses like cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Spina Bifida, craniofacial disorders, and genetic syndrome.  Since the CDRC’s general operating funds did not always enable them to supply items such as wheelchairs, van modifications for wheelchair lifts, computers, walking aids, and special therapies for these kids, the donations from the Rogue Valley Street Rods club were used for those purposes.

           The show gained a reputation on the west coast as being a friendly, quality, and worthwhile indoor winter car show event.  The club membership worked hard to promote that image. For the last several years of the show, it was held at the Jackson County Expo Fairgrounds and utilized all of the major buildings at that venue.  Many of the citizens of the region looked forward to the show as an annual family entertainment item.  Spectator totals ran about 8,000 to 9,000 a year. 

           Aside from an increased regional awareness of the club’s community welfare efforts and involvement, national recognition was bestowed on the club for its efforts.  In 2001, Eagle One Industries (a national manufacturer of vehicle care products), presented the club with an Award of Merit in their Eighth Annual Golden Rule Award Program.  RVSR was one of only two automotive clubs in the northwestern United States chosen for recognition by Eagle One Industries.  Their award letter to the club said, in part, “This award program is designed to recognize those whose members have worked to support community and charitable causes, an honor that has long been overdue.  Your club is a perfect example of such dedication.”  The club was certainly honored to receive this prestigious award in 2001 but was even more surprised and honored when in 2009 Eagle One Industries again presented their Award of Merit to Rogue Valley Street Rods!  RVSR was one of only a very few clubs in the nation to be repeat winners of this award.

          Since retiring from presenting the car show the club’s members have continued an active life of community, street rod, and social activities.  Community activities include participating in charitable events like “Coats for Kids”, donations to the Salvation Army, and visits to local retirement facilities.  Our car-related activities, just to name a few, include strong participation in local and regional car shows, club day drives to destinations of special interest, and participation in local parades.  The strong social and friendship side of our group is enjoyed with summer picnics, member-hosted meeting sites, restaurant dining gatherings, and car project networking. The club is proud of its history but is not resting on its laurels and it looks forward to playing an important role in community activities and preservation of the street rod hobby.