Special Interest Winner: Custom Cushman, owned by John Prather
Winter gloves and wool caps were an unusual sight at the 14th annual C.A.R.S. Club Car Show at McPherson College May 4.
But although the day was cold, rainy, and dim, bright smiles were on the faces of hundreds of attendees who braved the unseasonal cold to come to the student-run show.
Jared Coho, junior, Bellwood, Pa., and president of C.A.R.S. Club, said it was a great turnout given the poor weather.
“If it was a warm day, I think we would have had one of the largest attendance in C.A.R.S. Club history,” Coho said.
Sgt. Matt Reed, stationed with the National Guard in Hutchinson, Kan., counted himself fortunate that his 1152 Humvee was placed right next to the show’s entrance. He had “front-row seating” as about 150 unique and antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles drove right by him - enough to make a car-lover salivate.
“I think I might need a bib,” Sgt. Reed said with a laugh. “I’m a car guy.”
Reed works as a mechanic for the National Guard and the Humvee is the “tool wagon” he’s responsible for - his other vehicle is a Paladin tank. This was his first year attending the show, after he learned about the college from his roommate, an alumnus of the four-year restoration program.
Nearby was John Prather of El Dorado, who has attended the show since it started. He brought a custom mini-racer, home-built on the base of a five horsepower Cushman Truckster (similar to a modern-day golf cart). The custom work is shiny and sleek. It seemed ready to take flight with aircraft-grade aluminum formed over the entire body. The original builder was Willard Morris of Wichita, a pilot who built the custom in 1948.
Prather said he’d heard about McPherson College before the show began in 1999. But the event helps bring together car-lovers and supporters of McPherson College from all over, he said.
“The show is a connection point,” he said. “And it’s fun that the show is driven by the students.”
Look across the show field and it was hard to miss Corky Coker, with a thick, bushy moustache and curling white hair. Coker, President and CEO of Coker Tires, was the guest speaker at the “Evening with Automotive Restoration” dinner the night before. Coker Tires sells vintage-style tires and rims for antique and collector cars.
Coker said he was tickled to be in McPherson and to see so many young college students working to enter the collector car and restoration industry. New and young leaders in the field are essential, he said, especially when industrial arts classes in high school seem to be disappearing.
“I think there’s a part of the brain for when people use their hands. Imagination goes wild,” he said. “There is something soulful about shop class. There’s something that causes confidence, self-worth and striving for perfection.”
Seeing amazing cars wasn’t all the show had to offer. Throughout the day, visitors could tour the restoration building, and youth could join in the fun by judging selected cars for themselves through the Operation Ignite program, sponsored by Hagerty Insurance.
Later Ed Barr, assistant professor of technology, signed copies of his newly published book on professional metal shaping, then demonstrated some of the techniques explained in the book to a packed audience.
The day wrapped up with awards presentations, with the winners as follows: • Best of Show: 1907 Tincher, owned by Don Boulton (Oklahoma City, Okla.) • People’s Choice: 1958 Edsel, owned by Rudy Gernale • Students’ Choice: 289 Cobra, owned by Roger Morrison (Salina, Kan.)
Categories: • 1927-older: 1926 Hudson Super 6, owned by Ron and Genine Staymates • 1928-1944: 1929 Ford Model A Speedster, owned by Rus Guthrie • 1945-1954: Lincoln Continental, owned by Claude Blakesley • 1955-1964: 1963 Dodge Custom 880, owned by Tyler Henning (freshman, Sedgwick, Kan.) • 1965-1973: 1970 Chevy Camaro, owned by Roger Gawanda • 1974-1985: Studebaker Avanti 2, owned by James Burke • Special Interest: Custom Cushman, owned by John Prather (El Dorado, Kan.) • Truck: 1949 GMC 920 Flat Bed, owned by Gary Crow • Hot Rod/Custom: 55 Chevy Truck, owned by Pat McCullough (Wichita, Kan.) • Foreign: 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle, owned by Brent Sheets • Shelby: 2005 Shelby GT owned by Vince Stephens
Hagerty “Operation Ignite” Youth Judging • First: 1926 Hudson Super 6, owned by Ron and Genine Staymates • Second: 1930 Ford Model A, owned by Aaron Frazier (senior, McPherson, Kan.) • Third: 2005 Ford GT, owned by Richard Morrison