Hot Rods 4 Heroes To Raise Funds For American Legion -- October 6, 2014

Santa Clarita residents along with former and current military personnel are invited to the first Hot Rods 4 Heroes event to raise money for the American Legion.

The event is expected to be held Sunday, Oct. 12 with the opening ceremony to begin around 9:45 a.m. at the Old Town Newhall Library parking lot and American Legion Post 507. Admission is free to the public.

“We want to give recognition and respect to veterans, active military and military families,” said Ray Diaz, sergeant at arms for the Sons of the American Legion. “It’s a day where people can represent themselves.”

Diaz and his brother-in-law, Mike Merlo, the first vice commander for the Sons of the American Legion, organized the event together.

Dozens of Cars

The event car registration is nearly full with 75 vehicles expected to be on display in the Old Town Newhall Library parking lot, Diaz said. The event could host up to 15 more vehicles, bringing the total to 90.

The event benefits the American Legion, with 100 percent of the proceeds going into the organization, Diaz said.

“The American Legion is a place for veterans and their families to go,” he said. “There are different services offered, scholarships and help for veterans with illnesses such as (post traumatic stress syndrome).”

Cars and motorcycles entered in the event will be eligible to win in 11 categories: Best of Show, Best Motorcycle, Best Low Rider, Best Engine, Best Paint Job, Best Classic, Best Muscle Car, Spectators Choice Car, Spectator Choice Motorcycle, Best Truck and Best Exotic Car.

The awards are planned to be presented at 1:30 p.m.

“You should see some of these cars coming,” Diaz said. “Some of these cars are truly amazing.”

The local nonprofit Prayer Angels for the Military representatives entered their 1945 Ford pickup in the show. Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II vehicles are expected to be at the event.

“It’s not just about veterans, it’s about veteran’s families — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, to show something representing their family’s service,” Diaz said.

There will also be food vendors, a beer garden and live music, Diaz said. The beer garden will be held inside of the American Legion with a projector playing the Sunday football game.

“We are asking people to be respectful,” Diaz said. “Using proper flag etiquette and showing respect to military memorabilia. People should bring American and military flags as well as wearing something related to the military.”

United States Marine Corps officials will be at the event collecting new, unwrapped toys for the USMCToys for Tots program.

“It’s gonna be a neat show,” Diaz said. “It’s gonna be really nice and weather is gonna be nice.”