After weeks of speculation, Gonzales Tourism Director Ashley Simper announced at the Gonzales Convention and Visitors Bureau (GCVB) advisory board meeting Nov. 14 that the Hot Rods and Hatters event will not return in 2020. Simper said event organizer Joel Gammage opted to withdraw his city funding request and cancel the 2020 car show because of time restrictions.
Simper further clarified that she was informed Gammage would not seek to host the Hot Rods and Hatters event in another community next year. GCVB board member Barbara Crozier corroborated Simper’s claim.
“Mr. Gammage called me as well to reiterate that he really respected Gonzales and was not in negotiations with anyone else and wanted the event long term to be here. He was very firm on that,” Crozier said.
The event relocated to Gonzales in February 2019 after seven years in downtown Lockhart. More recently, the event was at the center of a social media controversy. Allegations that Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir was attempting to block the car show from returning in 2020 for political reasons were refuted by city officials. Simper, who was one the officials who denied the allegations, mentioned she was disappointed that the show would not be returning next year but left the door open for a future return.
“I want to make sure that it’s clear that the city’s efforts for this event, we were incredibly supportive, we offered support, we welcomed the event, we worked diligently to bring this event to the table,” Simper said. “We are disappointed that the event is not happening this year, but that is Mr. Gammage’s decision and that’s where he stands and so, we respect that, but we have of course invited them for 2021.”
“The Inquirer” has reached out to Gammage and event liaison Rob Brown for comment but, as of publication time, have been unsuccessful. As of Nov. 14, both the Hot Rods and Hatters website and Facebook page appear to be deactivated. We will continue to update this story as it progresses.