The Fresno Bee has reported that Blackie Gejeian, the motivating force behind the Fresno Autorama since its inception in 1958, has decided to retire due to ill health. Because of this development, the Autorama that was held in 2010 will now be its last.
For over half a century, the Fresno Autorama has been a major annual car show that drew some of the finest examples of automotive ingenuity. Participation in the event was by invitation only. The prestige of the Fresno Autorama ensured the appearance of creations by many of the greatest automotive designers and craftsmen of their era.
In recent years Blackie Gejeian’s health has been in decline. However, through sheer determination and passion for the event, he has willed his way through his hardships to ensure that the annual Autorama was a success.
This YouTube video which was produced during the set up of the 2008 event shows Gejeian firmly in charge of the Autorama’s layout even though his mobility and his endurance were obviously impaired. It is also obvious to the viewer that his focus and enthusiasm for both the event and for hot rodding itself allowed him to overcome adversity and accomplish his goals.
The event that was scheduled in 2011 was canceled due to Gejeian’s poor health. That cancellation was only the second in the event’s history. Prior to that, the only Fresno Autorama event canceled was in 1998 due to a scheduling conflict.
To Blackie, thank you for all that you have contributed not only to Fresno but also the greater hot rodding and car show community! We wish you a long and healthy retirement and that you are able to be a mentor to the rest of us for many years to come!