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Hot Rod Riot brings rockabilly culture to Victoria (video)

By Bianca Montes
Sept. 25, 2013 at 4:25 a.m.

Sandra Rankin, 33, poses with Jay Soule's 1961 Cadillac Series 6200 Four Door Sedan De Ville, which has little modifications and  most of the original components.

Hot Rod Riot

WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: 1308 S. Moody St., Victoria

COST: Free

The '61 Cadillac

White walls set against the hard black rubber, cold metal fins detailing the back end of a 1961 Cadillac and Elvis Presley on the dashboard - it couldn't get any more classic than this.

But as soon as Jay Soule kicks on the shining glory of his restoration - an air rod suspension - and the belly of his car hits the ground, it's perfectly clear that this ride wasn't built to fit into a category. It's one of a kind.

"It's so cool when you roll up, and everyone is looking at the car, and you lay it down - people are like, 'wow,'" he said.

Soule got his start working on cars when he was 16 years old and living in Indianapolis.

"It's just what kids were interested in," he said. "So I started with a Chevelle."

Over the years, Soule has restored dozens of cars, and before restoring his current car, he rolled around in a rat rod from the '20s.

"It was hard to drive, uncomfortable and loud," he said. "I drove it for a while, and I thought maybe I was getting too old for this type of car."

The 51-year-old wanted a big sled and the type of car you don't see too often. He spent a lot of time working with the folks who run South Texas Performance and credited them for keeping his interest alive.

"They're very knowledgeable, and they're very fair-priced," Soule said about Jennifer and Darrell Heibel, who own South Texas Performance. "So many shops you go into, and the first thing they're thinking about is 'how much money can I make off this guy?'

"Darrell and Jennifer, they'll help you research it, and they'll give you options for costs. They'll even show you how to do it yourself."

When it comes to fixing up his ride, Soule said he is never done. "They're never finished. You always have ideas," he said.

As for the King, "To have a '60s car and not have some reflection of the King in there would not be right," he said.

So until the next ride, Elvis sits shotgun.

Pinup.

It's not just about thick, black-winged eyeliner or bright, red lips. It's a culture, a strength that comes from within, and it's fused with feminism, sexuality and, most importantly, a whole lot of attitude.

"It's not that I think I'm the best," pinup Sandra Rankin said, twirling her long, dark brown locks around her fingers. "I have confidence, and that's where my pinup comes from."

Rankin has been perfecting her look for more than 18 years, and the 33-year-old from Bloomington is ready to strut her stuff in the pinup competition Saturday at the Hot Rod Riot.

The event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at the South Texas Performance shop on Moody Street in Victoria, is designed to show off some serious love to the shop's customers and its neighboring communities, co-owner Jennifer Heibel said.

More than 60 cars from across Texas - ranging from hot rods to customized classics - and some of the best Rockabilly bands in Texas will top off the event's entertainment. A panel of judges will critique the pinup competition.

"The culture is really starting to catch on," Heibel said. "I'm starting to see more people (in Victoria) dress pinup because it's just a fun thing to do."

Pinups have no restrictions on who can be one: You can be any shape, size, height or nationality.

It's all up to you.

So you want to be a pinup?

A perfect pinup will make men swoon and women jealous. It's a head-to-toe look, and makeup and hairstylist Sandra Rankin said it all begins with a solid foundation of moisturizer. A sexy babe has to have great skin; everything after that just falls in line.

The pinup curl

The higher the hair, the closer you are to heaven - that's right, it's not just a saying for Jersey girls anymore. The tease is the epitome of the pinup girl do, and it all begins with a rat comb and a whole lot of hairspray. (Rankin suggests Freeze It hairspray as her "go to" brand.) Spray and tease and then spray and tease again to achieve lasting hair bumps and curls associated with the old-fashioned look - that and working with dirty hair, Rankin said. After teasing and brushing the hair out, start at the end, roll the hair up, pinch it in a circle and pin it down. Then, for good luck, spray it again.

The wing-tipped eye

The first rule in pinup culture is that there aren't any rules. That being said, grab the shiniest shimmer you can find and apply it across your entire lid, Rankin said. Then to achieve that surprised bombshell swoop, use a gel-based eyeliner (Rimmel gel eyeliner, at $6.99, keeps costs down). Begin in the center of the lid and work outward, making the line thicker toward the end. For the tip, Rankin said follow the natural curve of your lower eyelid and then create a horizontal line going back toward the eye for the perfect wing tip.

The perfect pout

If you're going to go red, which any pinup should, Rankin said you have to use lip liner. Before tracing her natural lip line - and a little beyond for dramatic sake - put a little makeup base and loose powder over it. Trace the lips, fill in with lipstick and brush it powder. Repeat as needed. "Don't ask me why," she laughed. "It just lasts longer. Always remember a smile is the best thing a pinup can wear."

The style

From capris to poofed-out cupcake skirts, pinup style has may options, especially if you want to put a modern twist on it. Rankin said it doesn't matter if you wear flats or high heels, just make sure you walk tall. It's okay to look at stunners from the past such as Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor or Lena Horne, just don't copy their style. Being a pinup is all about being yourself fearlessly. If you don't know where to start, Rankin said visit any of the resale shops in town. "They always have great foundation pieces," she said.

Finally, the last thing you need is a pinup name. It needs to fit you, embody your persona, and it needs to be sexy - just call me Fifi Flambee.

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