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The Iowa Street Rod & Custom Association began in April 1971 in Urbandale, Iowa.  Larry Phllips (National Street Rod Association's General Division Director) ran an ad in the local newspaper for a caravan of interested members to caravan to Memphis in 1971.  The ad generated 15 calls.  Gary Mathern (one of the callers) suggested not only a caravan but the possibility of creating an Iowa Association.  Larry Phillips and Gary Mathern (the first ISRA President) set up a meeting a contacted those who responded to the ad to discuss the forming of an Association.  Ninety plus individuals from around 200 miles of Urbandale attended.  A committee was formed in April 1971 to write by-laws and form an Association.  The original by-laws were approved with 87 charter members.  The Association was one of the largest associations in the United States.  Initially, the ISRA included rods that were pre-1951 because there were some great 1949-1951 cars.  This was established prior to the NSRA standards that pre-1949 cars were defined as  a street rod.  The custom car hobby has grown since then. We now welcome members of custom vehicles from 1949 to the current year.  


The first year the Association hosted family picnics, a centennial parade in Spencer, 24 street rods at Memphis, and the 1st Annual Fort Dodge Rod Run. After a successful Fort Dodge event, the ISRA with the MInnesota Street Rod Association met at PIlot Knob State Park in Forest City for a "free to all members" camp-out that featured hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob and suds, and a Show-n-Shine on Sunday morning. The second year the ISRA hosted a 400 hundred car meet for the American Street Rod Association in Kansas City.  The ISRA traveled to Kansas City with 38 street rods and numerous individuals to welcome street rodders to the event. Next was the 2nd Annual Fort Dodge Rod Run with over 200 rods. Our first honorary member, Mayor Albert HabHab was on hand to lead the parade through town to the shopping center for a show-n-shine.  In July 1973, the ISRA hosted 400 cars at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The event included driving events, tire and plug changing contests, and sprint car races on the 1/2 mile track. Many participants stayed at the campgrounds the same as we see today during the GoodGuys Heartland Nationals. The Machine Nationals were also held in 1973 and included cars from Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Canada, South Africa, and Iowa.


Today, we promote all who are car enthusiasts to join in events sponsored by the ISRA.  Annual events include Spring Fling (April), Mother's Day Cruise (each Saturday prior to Mother's Day, original host for the Goodguys Heartland Nationals (July 4th weekend), All American Show (Labor Day Weekend), and our Annual Banquet (November).

The ISRA is governed by a Board of Directors which holds elections for offices each year.  The Board includes officers and state representatives from across the state of Iowa. If you're interested in having an ISRA representative attend your show or cruise in click the button below!


©  2022 Iowa Street Rod Association

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