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Early start for Shine and Show
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A 1948 Chrysler Windsor, owned by Bill Hylton of LaCrosse, was one of 20 different antique, classic and muscle cars on display at Saturdays Shine and Show at Waters True Value in Great Bend. The show kicked off the 2013 car show season in Great Bend, and the mild weather invited a good turnout by car owners and car enthusiasts alike. - photo by Veronica Coons

2013 Shine and Show Calendar
(come and go gathering, free of charge)

May 10, 6-9 p.m., Convention Center, sponsored by Great Bend Carquest
June 14, 6-9 p.m., Becker Tire, sponsored by Becker Tire
July 12, 6-9 p.m., Wal-Mart, sponsored by IBT of Great Bend
Aug. 9, 6-9 p.m., Wolf Furniture, sponsored by Vintage Wheels
Sept. 13, 6-9 p.m., Kansasland Tire, sponsored by Mid-America Mopars
Oct. 12, 1-5 p.m., Dillons, sponsored by 10th St. Dillons

There was a time when automobile windows had to be opened and shut with handles that operated like a crank, and air-conditioning was a luxury addition.  But body styles were made to be admired at slower speeds, and engines were made for power.  Those were the days.  

Mid-America Mopar’s Shine and Show free car shows offer a glimpse into the past.  This year, the monthly shows got off to an early start Saturday, with 20 cars lining the edges of the Waters True Value parking lot that afternoon.  The mild, breezy weather made for a pleasant perusal of the diverse variety of machines ranging in age from a 1948 to modern day, and all eras in-between.

Daryl Hurtel of Mid-America Mopar and organizer of the event describes the event as a come and go gathering, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to spend a relaxing evening with the community.  That goes for both spectators and car owners.  In fact, many of the car owners have known each other for years.  They make up a unique community of their own, based on a love and pride in their machines that comes from all the hours of work they’ve put into them.

“We have a shared love of cars--the classics, muscle cars and antiques, and we take pride in putting our money and our backs into fixing them up,” he said.  

Neil Woodstone, Ellinwood, decided when he retired from his lifelong career as a mechanic to find a project he could work on. That’s when he found his Ford pickup. The top was caved in and the fenders dinged up as though someone had taken a ball peen hammer to it.  He went to work, giving the old body a whole new facelift, and adding plenty of extras along the way.  The engine is a sight to behold, and the wood dash put together with a craftsmanship lacking in modern vehicles.  When he couldn’t find the right tailgate for his needs, he built his own, and lined the truck bed with oak trim.  

Bill Hylton, LaCrosse, brought a 1948 Chrysler Windsor to Saturday’s show.  He’s been involved with organizing the LaCrosse Fall Fest car show for many years, and had fixed up, shown and sold many cars.  But the Windsor is unique.  He’ll be hanging onto this one for many years, he said.  The car is a low-production body style, and finding information about it has been a challenge for Hylton.  It captures the attention of passersby too, stopping to ask what year it is from, and more than a couple admiring looks.

Across the lot, there’s a two-seater blue dune-buggy owned by Mike Hill of Great Bend.  Not only does he take it for car shows locally, he drives it to several other destinations.  Last year alone, he put 3,000 miles on it, he said.  This summer, he intends to take it to Canada.  

The buggy was made from a 1965 Volkswagen Bug that was cut down and shortened into a dune-buggy in 1970.  When Hill got it, it was in pretty bad shape, brown, covered in oily dust and dirt.  

“I had it in the garage in a million pieces last winter, cleaning each piece and putting it back together,” he said.  Today, the body sports a glittery new blue paint job, polished chrome, and several unique aftermarket additions.  Since the old speedometer was calibrated to the old body length, Hill’s wife located a GPS speedometer that offered a more accurate gauge of mileage and speed. Even though the garage was unheated, he spent the winter putting it together, and now it runs really good he said.

“When you’ve got pride in your machine, it’s worth it,” he said.  

That’s a sentiment shared by every car owner at the show.  But not all car owners have picked up wrecks and repaired them.  Some, like Hurtel, have been longtime owners.  In fact, Hurtel’s 1973 Dodge Charger was the car he cruised around in back in his school days.  He’s only the second owner of the vehicle with just 85,000 original miles.  

Just looking at the car can bring back memories of the cruising era, when young people cruised the Main Street and 10th Street on Friday and Saturday nights.  Hurtel remembers when Main Street had four lanes, and he and the other Great Bend area youth would travel the strip and eventually make their way to the A&W that used to be at 10th and Washington or Griffs Burger Bar further west on 10th close to where Dillons now stands.

On Saturday, May 4, he and other car enthusiasts will have a chance to relive their cruise days when Main Street is filled with cars for a cruise, part of the events planned to punctuate the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of SCRA Racing in Great Bend.  Mid-America Mopar will also hold their 25th Annual Car Show on May 4 and 5 at Brit Spaugh Park.

“There are a lot of cool cars around here, just sitting in garages, gathering dust,” Hurtel said.  “It’s our hope that these shows will prompt more people to bring their cars out to be admired.”

So far, it seems to be working.  In fact, Hurtel noticed several cars at Saturday’s show that he hadn’t seen before.  

He offered further proof that the popularity of the Shine and Shows has picked up in recent years.  This year, the club had to add two more dates on both ends of the car show season in order to fill the demand by local businesses.

“We have them coming to us,” he said.  In addition to the True Value event, the club will hold monthly Shine and Shows each month through October.