|THE YEAR WAS 1980 AND IT WAS TIME FOR
THE KUSTOMS TO COMEBACK!!
The KKOA, a spin-off of the mystic ’79 Merc/Deuce ReUnion,
hung out its shingle for kustom business. October 1, 1980, in
Wichita, Kansas. At the first meeting, 14 fateful kustom
enthusiasts gathered together to become the pioneer’s of the
KKOA. All who attended wanted to join, so to see who would get
those low membership numbers, names were drawn from a ’52 Caddie
Up and running, the KKOA started producing outdoor kustom shows,
with the first being the 1981 Leadsled Spectacular, that
attracted over 300 kustoms, and the legendary Leroy “Tex” Smith and
Street Rodder magazine editor, Geoff Carter. Street Rodder gave
the event national coverage, which was highly unusual those days
for a street rodding mag, and once the dust had settled, the
foundation was laid for kustoms to build on. From that point on,
the KKOA continued to grow in memberships and kustom events.
(The King of Kustomizers, George Barris coined Custom with a
As the KKOA shows increased, the legends of kustomizing,
Starbird, Barris, Bailon, Hines, Winfield, A-Brothers and many
other top names started appearing at the events to meet and
greet the thousands of eager KKOA members.
KKOA President, Jerry Titus has been at the helm since
the beginning, and makes no bones about it, “the members of the
KKOA makes it work.” He also credits his wife, DeVona, for being
the wind beneath his wings, and a major reason for the business
success of the KKOA. “It’s like family at KKOA,” Titus further
That attitude has remained unchanged since day one. Today, the
KKOA has become known as the “polite side” of hot-rodding.
Dedicated to the true kustom enthusiast.
When you join the KKOA you join thousands of fellow
enthusiasts who enjoy the craftsmanship art of kustomizing.
You will receive a kustom designed membership card stating your
support of the KKOA and the kustom movement. You will confirm
that support even more when applying your full color window
sticker on your kemp for everyone to see. You’ll also receive a
subscription to the 32 page (sometimes thicker,) slick cover
Trendsetter magazine. KKOA members get to advertise cars and items for sale at
no charge in the popular Midnight Auto Supply section of the
Trendsetter. Also, being a member lets you receive a $10.00
discount on every KKOA event you enter.
What is a Kemp? It’s a slang word used by teenagers in
the late 50’s, and early 60’s to indicate a car or a truck. When you
say Kustom Kemp, it means kustomized car or truck. So a kustom
kemp can be any make, model or year vehicle, from 1903 to
current year. The word "kemp"
gained national recognition on a
famous TV show called 77 Sunset Strip, where Edd “Kookie” Byrnes
used it often, and in the little 25-cent Rod and Custom
magazines. So, do you consider yourself a connoisseur of
automotive architecture? Okay, how about a good ol’ boy that
digs on leadsleds, mild to wild kustoms and grassroot, vintage
hot rodding? If so, then the Kustom Kemps of America (KKOA) is
kustom built for you.