Car enthusiasts rev up for a good cause

MARIETTA – A little rain on Sunday may have spoiled the quantity of cars, but certainly not the quality of those on display at the annual Marietta Noon Lions Club Bill Drayer Memorial Car Show at East Muskingum Park.

The event is held on Father’s Day every year and has seen as many 135 vehicles parked in the grassy stretch along Front Street, said Clint Holley, president of the Marietta Noon Lions, which sponsors the event.

“This is always a good day for families to come down with the kids, walk around looking at old cars and reminiscing,” he said.

The Lions have sponsored the car show for 21 years. The event is named for the late Bill Drayer, a long-time Lion who was responsible for getting the car show up and running, said Holley.

Though Sunday’s weather hurt the turnout, approximately 30 cars being shown were plenty for event attendees to drool over.

Brock Riser, 36, of Cairo, was headed through town with 10-year-old son Ashton and 8-year-old daughter Brooklyn when they noticed all the old cars in the middle of the park.

“We were actually just driving by and saw this. They really like old cars, so we stopped,” said Brock Riser.

In face, Riser drives a 1987 Mustang, but did not enter it into the show.

“It’s not really a show car. It’s my car that I drive,” he said.

Brooklyn gravitated toward a handful of Mustangs on display at the show. Ashton likes Herbie the Love Bug, said Brock Riser.

“I had a Plymouth Acclaim that we dressed up like Herbie once. You can get the decals online,” he said.

The event has become a Father’s Day staple for many auto-loving dads and their clans.

“It’s a nice one to come to for Father’s Day,” said Gary Gaughan Jr., 52, of Marietta.

Gary and daughter Kyra Gaughan, 11, were admiring a ’72 Chevy Cheyenne pickup truck owned by 63-year-old Larry Watts, of Ripley.

Watts recently retired and the pickup is the first vehicle he has ever shown, he said.

“It’s a really nice job for the first one,” commented Gaughan of the glossy black truck, adding he hopes to soon retire and do the same.

“I’m getting ready to start up on a ’70 Cutlass SX,” he said.

Gaughan also has two sons, but it was Kyra who acted as his car guru Sunday. She helped get her grandmother’s 2007 Saturn Sky Redline ready to display at the show.

Next to the Saturn Sky, Marietta resident Sam Meade was displaying his 1967 Chevy II/Nova. Meade, who loves old cars, has attended the car show for well over a decade, but it was about four years ago that he started displaying his car.

“We used to walk through here and I said ‘I’m going to show a car here one of these days,'” he said.

Now Meade gets to enjoy the car show from the other end, and he never misses the event.

“Every year, rain or shine. I just like meeting all the people and I still like looking at the different cars,” he said.

The rain didn’t dampen 4-year-old Terrance Antill’s enthusiasm as he pointed to emblems and had grandfather Gene Newlon, 46, of Lowell, explain them.

“That’s a Road Runner,” said Newlon of the iconic bird Antill spotted on a Plymouth Road Runner.

Newlon was at the car show for the first time with his father, 69-year-old John Newlon, who was displaying his 1960 Chevy Impala.

“We pretty well worked on it together,” said John Newlon. “I keep my garage pretty full so we had to work on it in his.”

John Newlon has shown the car at the annual Father’s Day show several times, but this his first year back after a hiatus spent working on the car.

“It’s a fun day. I like to show my car off,” he said.

Entrants paid a $10 entry fee to display a car at the show. Though the vehicles were not judged, prizes were handed out for trivia answers and as door prizes. Money raised through concessions and entry fees will go to help fund the Lions’ sight-saving programs, explained Holley.

The organization donates around $12,000 a year to programs that help pay for eye exams, glasses, and vision research. Almost all of that money is donated locally, he added.