HomeCommunity NewsDavid Laurell: Road Kings Roll Out the Vintage Wheels

David Laurell: Road Kings Roll Out the Vintage Wheels

There are many typical conversations one overhears at a classic car show: the history and provenance of a vintage car, explaining what modifications have been made, commenting on the restoration work, and exchanging tips on maintenance and where to get hard-to-find parts.

But what makes a Road Kings of Burbank car show different is how many vintage vehicle owners have those conversations with a man who, for more than two decades, engaged in conversations with the most prominent actors, singers, entertainers, athletes and politicians of our time, namely, Jay Leno.

Under the cover of June gloom, the Road Kings rolled into Johnny Carson Park for their 33rd annual Charity Car Show this past Sunday. Hosting the presentation of more than 250 vintage cars and motorcycles, the organization’s show lured thousands of auto aficionados including the former host of “The Tonight Show.”

Stopping to chat and pose for photos with attendees, vendors, and many owners of the exhibited wheeled-wonders, Leno was welcomed to the event by Road Kings President Karen Arellano and her husband Gary Arellano who coordinated this year’s show.

Burbank Vice Mayor Nikki Pérez, who has been coming to the Road Kings’ car shows since she was a child and rode around on her father Marvin’s shoulders, said that coming to this event is a part of her seasonal tradition.

Road Kings member Mike Warme and car show coordinator Gary Arellano were keeping a watchful eye on the event’s happenings.

“This show is such a staple of what Burbank is all about, and I love what the Road Kings do in putting on this show every year. I love how they give back to the community in so many ways,” said Pérez.

The Road Kings are able to give back through the many events they stage throughout the year. This show, their premier event which rolls in shirt sales, registration and vendor fees along with an 50/50 raffle, provides the legendary car club with the funds they use to benefit local schools and nonprofit organizations during a fall presentation event held at the Burbank Elks Lodge.

John Sibert rolls in to Sunday’s show on his 1973 Harley Davidson custom chopper.

Last year, the Road Kings presented $20,000 in $4,000 increments to five local nonprofit groups: the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, the Burbank Police Foundation, Jacaranda Housing, and the Burbank Historical Society.

According to Don Baldaseroni, a former president of the Road Kings who now serves as their community relations representative, the club has provided funding in the range of a half-million dollars during the 72 years that have passed since their establishment.

“In spite of so many big events going on here in Burbank and the surrounding areas today, we are thrilled to once again have such a great turnout,” said Baldaseroni. “For those of us who put on this show every year, it is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. We are proud to be able to use our cars and showcase the vehicles of our show participants to raise funds that benefit our local nonprofit organizations. That is really what makes all the work worth it.”

Established in 1952, the Road Kings of Burbank was initially formed by some big-name drivers as a racing collective, and then a hot rod club. As the years went by, the club transitioned into being more of a vintage car club than being racer oriented, although they still have members who do competitively race in many National Hot Rod Association sanctioned events.

Videos and photos from last week’s show are available to view at the Burbank Road Kings Facebook page. You can also find information about upcoming Road Kings events and club membership by visiting Roadkings.net.

Kyra Steinback behind the wheel of her 1920 La Bestioni vintage fire truck.
King of the Show Ken Nolls was tasked with selling 50/50 raffle tickets because, who can say no to a king?
Burbank firefighter Chris Hansen gave 9-year-old Jaxon Wiecka a close-up look at a vehicle that is always the most popular with little ones.
Kristine Orudzhyan and her kitten Prince were most likely on the lookout for a classic Jaguar, Cougar or Bobcat.
Don Baldaseroni of the Road Kings and Bob Greene of Community Chevrolet, who served as one of the show’s sponsors, were among the guests enjoying the car show.
Jeana and Jason Werntz enjoy the car show with their 5-year-old American bulldog, Harley Blue.
A well-known local icon was among the notables in attendance at last week’s show.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

First published in the June 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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