ALDEN — Great Bend’s Richard Fox is a serious car show enthusiast.
He’s so serious, he’s been publicizing car shows for more than 40 years through the newsletter he publishes for the Kansas Automobile Enthusiasts Organization. Fox has shown cars for decades and has helped others restore cars through his former business Affordable Street Rods.
So, like many of his car show friends, Fox journeyed to Alden Saturday for the first Bob Bethell Memorial Car Show. More than 70 vehicles registered for the car show. Seven Kansas cities sponsored car shows Saturday, plus car races drew spectators to Great Bend and Wichita.
“This is the first time Alden has sponsored a car show, so I figured I’d drive to Alden, because I’ve never been here,” Fox said. “I enjoy the car shows for the fellowship and camaraderie.”
Fox’s pride and joy is a brown 1937 Chevrolet Coupe, which was lined up next to a 2009 Ford Shelby Terlingua owned by Great Bend’s Brick McPherson. A 1957 Chevrolet restored by Hutchinson’s Larry Deckard made its public debut Saturday.
“Everyone is proud of their cars and they’ve all done a lot of work on them,” Fox said.
Alden’s Sam Padgett started the car show to showcase Alden and honor his friend Rep. Bob Bethell, who died in a car accident May 20, 2012 after representing the 113th District for 13 years.
Padgett attended church with Bethell, who was an ordained minister, and discovered they both had a passion for buying and restoring vintage cars.
Typically, a car show organizer would charge about $20 to cover publicity and trophies. But Padgett offered no entry fee and encouraged everyone to enter prize drawings. Revenue will benefit Alden Pride, which helps with community projects.
Padgett said publicity was provided by a Hutchinson radio station, which aired spots about the show and conducted a remote feed from Alden Saturday afternoon. Padgett knew of owners from Great Bend, McPherson, Hutchinson and Oklahoma.
“I was really pleased by how many cars were entered and we appreciated everyone’s support,” Padgett said. “There were quite a few cars and owners I had never met until today. It’s my way of helping out Alden.”
Vintage cars collected by the late Rep. Bob Bethell were auctioned June 29 in a sale by Carr Auction of Larned. Lorene Bethell, Bethell’s widow, decided to sell the antique collection.
“Bob loved his cars and I thought sponsoring a car show was a way I might pass that on,” Padgett said. “I know Bob Bethell would be proud of how many attended.”