ASU West took a low ride into Hispanic heritage

Lowrider car show celebrates Hispanic heritage

ASU and the Hispanic Honor Society at ASU West held a Lowrider Car Show and Hispanic Heritage Fair on Sept. 30 in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The fair featured myriad activities for attendees including a salsa den, taco trucks, traditional Hispanic dance performances, bumper cars and a diverse display of lowriders.

Luis Guerra, psychology senior and director of the Hispanic Honor Society at the West campus, said that due to all the components at the fair, it took about a year and a half of collaboration for everything to come together. He said he felt the heritage fair was a very important event.

“I feel that we are underrepresented on campus. For us it’s better to immerse people in our culture," Guerra said. "A lot of people don’t want to hear our history academically, but when they’re (at the fair) getting to know the cars, the folkorico and Aztec dancers, it immerses them."

The flagship attraction at the fair was its lowrider car show, presented in partnership with Motorsport Showcase to bring a venue-filling lineup of lowriders.

Richard Ochoa, owner of Motorsport Showcase, has been a part of lowrider culture since 1975. Lowrider culture is intrinsically Hispanic, he said. 

“Lowriding is important to the Hispanic culture because it identifies a mutual way of expression. The Latino community is widespread, but lowriding has unified that," he said. 

“Lowriding goes all the way back to the early 1940s, the first lowriders were called Pachucos. Those Pachucos migrated from El Paso, Texas, and that’s why (they’re) called Pachuco because Chuco is a nickname for El Paso,” Ochoa said.

Oftentimes, lowrider culture is associated with Latino gang culture. But Ochoa said that isn't necessarily accurate. 

“Although there are some realities that tie (lowrider culture) to gang life, there are some truths and untruths. Lowriding came from the barrios, but the lowrider himself only has the desire to build a car and not cause trouble,” Ochoa said.

From its roots in the various barrios across the U.S., lowriding has taken off as a motorsport worldwide.

“As a culture, lowriding has gone from backstreet America to mainstream America," Ochoa said. "Now you have multi-generational and multi-ethnicity lowrider families. Lowriding has become a fabric not just in America, but in Germany, Canada and even Japan."

Attendees of the heritage fair like pharmacology and toxicology freshman Gabriel Valerio marveled at the lowriders. He said he thought the festival did a good job of initiating new people to Hispanic culture.

“It’s really good to see the art and different (parts of Hispanic culture) on display. I grew up with lowriders, going to lowrider shows and such my whole life,” Valerio said.

Valerio said he thought having Hispanic culture on display helps to counter stigmatization.

“I think it’s awesome to see everyone come together and appreciate Latino art," he said. "There’s a lot of different experiences here for people who have never been exposed to Hispanic culture."


Reach the reporter at aalmouai@asu.edu or follow @shazzam_96 on Twitter. 

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