Lonestar Roundup

Sophia Blaha, Staff Writer

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On April 12 and 13, thousands of Austinites and car enthusiasts flocked to the Travis County Expo center for the Lonestar Roundup. This annual festival brings together custom made cars from before 1963 for a two day festival, which includes a car show, concert and Austin barbeque.

The Roundup, which started in 2002 with a sprawling collection of cars at an old football stadium, has grown to attract celebrities like guitar player and car collector Jimmie Vaughan, and legendary car customizers like Gary Howard and Brian Auderer. The festival has attracted car enthusiasts from all over the country for the past 16 years. The Lonestar Roundup includes different car shops and customizers from all across Austin who set up shop at the festival, including Rudy Morales, owner of Rex Rod and Chassis.

“Each year we set up a vendor booth at the Lonestar Round Up, showcasing traditional-style hot rods and motors built here at Rex Rods,” Morales said.
At first glance, the Roundup seems to be a flashback to the mid 20th century. In order to register a car for the show, you must prove that it was made before 1963 and built in the USA. Charlie Runnels, owner of local Mercury Charlie Garage, has attended the festival since it began.

“The ‘50s were a magical time in America that will never be replicated.” Runnels said, “It was a golden age that should be remembered, because it laid the groundwork for so much of today’s culture.”

The age requirements, Runnels said, helps to capture the ‘50s era in these classic cars. According to Runnels, the old-timey feel of the festival does more than add to the aesthetic and general sentiment of the Roundup.

“I think people should know about [the ‘50s], because it will make them better able to appreciate what’s happening right now,” Runnels said.

Apart from the cars, what really makes this festival stand out is other activities. At the Lonestar Roundup, attendees can listen to Austin music, cruise around South Congress, eat local barbeque, and enjoy all the sites Austin has to offer. Steve Wertheimer, one of the owners of the Austin Roundup, told The Daily Texan that he wanted to incorporate his background in music into the festival, and it just evolved into the hodge-podge of events it is today.

The festival capitalizes on Austin’s most popular elements — live music and great food — while adding a newer attraction of a car show to the mix. This year hundreds of people braved the cold weather and saw history through these classic cars.

“When you’re in one of those classic models, people recognize it’s something special and you see people giving a thumbs up as you’re driving.” Runnels said, “These cars add something special to what has become a world of disposable things.”