Presented by Rod ‘Hot Rod’ Loveless

This year marks the Parade’s 50th Anniversary. Legendary Phoenix Suns Broadcaster Al McCoy, was named as the Grand Marshal. This parade, makes my 9th year of assembling, and directing a “Unit” in the Fiesta Bowl’s Main Parade. The many applications to be filled out, documents, phone calls, emails, and meetings seem to get easier every year, with one exception- Cold dark parade day mornings. Still dark out at 6:00 am, with the temperature of barely 34 degrees… That part never gets any easier. But with the cars and trucks rolling into the staging area, along with the excitement and enthusiasm of all taking part in the All American Hot Rods-Unit, that quickly warmed my heart, but not my feet.

This year’s “All American Hot Rod Unit” was made up of 10 awesome hot rods. In making the selection, I not only wanted to have outstanding rides, but outstanding owners as well. Each one are truly “car people” with a love, and passion for hot rods.

One of the questions on the application was: This year’s theme is “Legends Made Here”. How does your group fit or relate to the theme? This was the answer I submitted: All members of my unit are already legends. Their families will always remember dad, mom, uncle Joe, or grandpa’s hot rod. Many family members have had a hand with building these hot rods by riding along on cruises or attending car shows.  These are cherished memories they will pass down to their children, their children’s children… They are already legends.

Every year, and every parade, one of the most prestigious, and honored members of a unit are the banner carriers, and this year’s members were Jeff and Lucy Nagy (owners of ‘Roddin & Racin’) with their two awesome teenage kids, Ian and Myra. They set and maintained the pace for our unit, and always allowed the proper distance between us, and the group that we were following. Not an easy task…

Sunrise in Phoenix, on the corner of W. Bethany Home Rd. and Central Avenue, was very exciting. The sun is bright, as are the bright colorful parade balloons being filled with helium, the sounds of various marching bands warming up, and watching the thousands of parade participants, along with the Fiesta Bowl parade officials, all with anticipation of having a wonderful sunny parade day. There is one photo image I captured that describes that morning. 

Around 9:30 we had to move to our new staging position to Central Ave. I have no idea of how or why, but we were selected to start the parade off in the number 13th position. Number 13 out of 94 entries, that was quite an honor. To whomever… Thank you. I would like to give a shout out of appreciation to Scott Montilla. During the early hours of our staging, there were two different parade officials working our area. One official wanted us to stage vehicles in a single line, close to the curb, so as to leave one lane open for emergency vehicles.  The second official wanted us side-by-side in two rows, disregarding, or not realizing a need for an open lane. It was like a ‘chinese fire drill’.  2 rows… 1 row… 2 rows… 1 row. Thankfully, Scott stepped up and orchestrated the changes, leaving me freed-up to take care of my unit director and photographer duties. Thanks Scott! Note; After the Fire Marshal passed by, it was determined to remain one row, only!

10:00 am and we were ready to Rock! Jeff, Lucy, Ian, and Myra advanced our unit by proudly displaying our ‘All American Hot Rods’ banner. Just as we were starting to roll…Whoa! Four Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets performed a flyover of the parade. That is what freedom looks and sounds like. Arriving at the grandstand section, inundated with TV Cameras, we were met with 3TV’s live broadcast coverage. The announcers had nothing but praise to give to the hot rods. They LOVED Rodney & Gina’s incredible custom dually truck, especially their “Train Horn”. The final on air comment about our unit was, “very impressive”!  To see your ride live on TV, has to be the highlight for any car guy or gal. Making our way down the 2-mile parade route, with literally tens of thousands of folks lined along the route giving us robust cheers, and very positive comments.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s parade, and praying for warmer weather.

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Fiesta Bowl Parade committee members that made this all possible:

Page Mueller – Team Operations and Event Manager.
Jessica Sallurday – Game & Event Operations Coordinator.
Alex Iervasi & Jake Shoen – Team & Events Operations Seasonal Associate.

Rod Loveless
All American Hot Rods
Unit Director

Owners, passengers, and vehicles in our unit included:

  • Scott Montilla & Michelle Clague – 1950 Chevy 3100 Custom P/U Truck
  • Stoney Stonebreaker & Karen Jaeger, Bob Smith, Paula & Brian Maresh – 1955 Chevy
  • Fletch & Lorena Fletcher, Henry & Hudson Herrington – 1948 Ford
  • Harold & Chris Backus – 1937 Ford
  • Fred, Chris, Hudson & Hunter Pickering – 1948 Plymouth Club Coupe
  • Frankie & Kathleen Debick – 1950 Mercury Coupe
  • Rodney & Gina Fresquez – 1999 Chevy Custom Truck
  • Porfirio & Paul Pina’ – 1952 Custom Truck
  • Joel & Bobbi Lewison – 1951 Willys Jeep Rat Rod- “Honorat”
  • Robert Kempf – 1929 Ford Tudor Rat Rod.