Car shows have become as popular in the Hudson Valley as climbing the Catskills; but when Peter Duvaloois saw an opportunity to offer something a little different, the Rats Nest Run-In was born. The third annual Rats Nest Run-In will take place this Saturday, June 30, with enthusiasts of pre-‘63 cars and the lifestyle that they evoke anticipating another banner year.
“Initially, going back quite a few years ago, I went to a show and got turned away because they didn’t like what I was driving,” said Duvaloois. “So I went back and started my own show.”
For the uninitiated, a rat car is an approximation of the hot rods of the ‘30s through ‘60s, with imperfections and wear and tear often an integral piece of the puzzle. Whereas many car shows feature cars in pristine condition, the Rats Nest Run-In is in many ways a balance of form and function. “We let anybody in pre-’63,” said Duvaloois. “We try and feature the rat cars because no one else showcases them.”
It was clearly an idea ready to be tapped, as the show has grown with each successive year. “The first year it rained like hell,” Duvaloois said. “It came down in buckets in the beginning, but in the end we wound up with 125 cars and motorcycles.”
The following year, the entries nearly tripled: a testament to both the popularity of the rat cars and trucks, but also to the inclusive atmosphere of Duvaloois’ event. It costs just $10 to come to the event, and there are no additional car registration fees. Food is also fairly cheap, Duvaloois said.
“I try to keep the price down on everything,” he said. “Everywhere you go today, you’re dealing with $9 sandwiches. We’re trying to make it so you can come in here with your family, have a fun day, maybe make some money; and you leave and there’s still enough money in your pocket to fill up your gas tank.”
It’s all part of a day that features live rockabilly music by the Living Americans, Tara Elliott & the Red Velvet, the Greyhounds and Tex’s Doomtown Raiders. There are also pin-up contests and a $500 giveaway, with the winner culled from anyone at the show. “I don’t care if you have a car or not,” said Duvaloois. “It’s really not a car show per se. It’s an event, and I feel the people are the show. I just give them a place to put it on.”
Duvaloois himself is a rat car enthusiast, having built a ’33 Highboy in his garage. “With my rats, they create a tremendous amount of attention,” he said. “You park it somewhere, and if someone scuffs it, it only adds to the character. They’re fun to drive. You can be creative with them, and no one is judging you.”
The third annual Rats Nest Run-In is scheduled to take place at 1087 Kings Highway in Saugerties on Saturday, June 30 from 11 a.m. until…well, until it’s over. Entry costs $10, with children under 12 and active members of the military allowed in for free. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Rats-Nest-Run-In/333231766083, or call (845) 706-2945.