There’s only one real way for a person in the car hobby to kick off the New Year and that’s by attending the KOI Cavalcade of Customs (Photo 1). For those who aren’t familiar with this massive annual event, the Cavalcade is a three day extravaganza that features some of the coolest customs, the sweetest collectors, and even the most unique rods you’ll ever see.

Now in its 59th year, the Cavalcade is sponsored by KOI Auto Parts and will be held January 11-13 at the Duke Energy Center (Photo 2). The Cavalcade is part of a 13 city series that has events throughout the United States and into Canada. Each is part of the Summit Racing Equipment Car Show Series which is the official name of a series of indoor car shows sanctioned by the International Car Show Association.

Founded in 1963, the ISCA serves as a sanctioning body to bring together this series of indoor events and oversee all of the details such as classes and judging. In all they have pulled in three types of shows: Autorama, Cavalcade of Customs, and World of Wheels which, each year, brings in thousands of magnificent vehicles and hundreds of thousands of spectators.

While the Cavalcade is ostensibly a car show, filling the convention floor and the large third floor room of the Duke Energy Center with fantastic cars (Photo 3), there are plenty of other things happening during that weekend. Every year the cavalcade brings in a variety of celebrities geared for all ages to enjoy. This year some of the special guests include NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr., WWE wrestler Kevin Owens, TV personality Dave Kindig, and John Schnieder who played Bo Duke on the long running series The Dukes of Hazard.

With the first and third floors filled with cars and displays and demonstrations (Photo 4), the second floor is always packed with automotive repair and service professionals. This area is set aside for numerous classes and seminars geared toward all types of service technicians and collision and body shop professionals as well as those in ownership and management of repair facilities. There are classes geared for everyone from beginners to experienced pros.

Most people do not consider the ongoing training and self-improvement involved in being an automotive service tech. Over the years, as vehicles have taken on more and more advanced technology, it has become imperative that those people working on them be properly trained. Consider how quickly technology has grown in this industry over the past years and it is almost staggering to consider how much a tech needs to know these days. So these courses and seminars are offered each year as part of the Cavalcade to ensure quality work is being done throughout the Tri-State.

In many cases these courses introduce the people who repair your vehicles to the newest technologies and assist in or lead to ASE certifications. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is a non-profit organization that works to ensure quality vehicle repair and service throughout the industry. Odds are if you look around in your repair shop you will see ASE certifications hanging on the wall. This is your sign that the technicians working there have been properly trained and certified to do the repairs on your vehicle.

As the winter cold begins to clutch the Tri-State, there’s nothing better for folks who love cars to do than to head downtown to the Duke Energy Center and catch the always fantastic KOI Cavalcade of Customs (Photo 5).

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