Alan Hench is a Madera, California resident and longtime participant in Hot August Nights.
How many years have you been coming to the event?
This is our eleventh.
What vehicle did you bring with you?
It’s a ’57 Chevy pickup.
Tell me about it.
I’ve owned it for 34 years.
It’s a nice-looking truck. Was it in that shape when you got it?
No. No. It was a mess. It was a basketcase. I bought it for a project.
Have you taken home any awards with it?
Quite a few—not from here, but at other shows, yeah.
Why do you come here?
One is the venue: Reno—the gambling. That, and it’s a week long. It’s a lot of fun. The cruises, I mean, there’s so many things to do—different casinos, different venues every day. You don’t get that anywhere else.
What have you seen change over the years?
You can tell when corporations get involved and it’s all about the money—but, I guess, it’s the times.
Can you be more specific?
Well, it’s changed even in the last couple of years. When Barrett-Jackson [Auction Company] got involved with the auction, you know, it almost seemed like they were taking over a lot the things that the Hot August Nights outfit was doing themselves. I didn’t really care for that, but I know they’re trying to raise money for charity and whatever they can get. But it makes it bad when you’re trying to count on things that normally are there—that aren’t. And the development down here [near Victorian Square in Sparks] has taken away a lot the parking, a lot of the space for cars. People don’t want to come when they can’t park. It’s crowded.
It took me ages to park today. I’m like three-quarters of a mile east of here.
And I apologize to the people who live in Reno and Sparks, because we know what kind of a problem it is when they close the streets and all that stuff.
Not so much, I think. By the way, do you have a favorite venue to park your ride?
I like here, and actually downtown Reno.