Cruisin' fun at Jackson car show

Friday, June 22, 2012
Don Dannenmueller’s 1938 Chevrolet coupe is on display June 9 at Cruisin’ Uptown Jackson. (ADAM VOGLER)

The heady fumes of a simpler time made their way into the passenger compartment of my comparatively modern Ford Focus as I drove toward the Cruisin' Uptown Jackson. A beautiful white, antique Camaro had passed me with a throaty bellow. Grinning with excitement, I turned off Jackson Boulevard toward the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in Jackson. As an avid car enthusiast, I likely would have attended the Cruisin' Car Show regardless of whether I'd been given the assignment to cover it. Who says you can't mix work and pleasure?

I first spoke with Sharon and Jeff Hopkins of Marble Hill, Mo. The couple owns S&H Dream Machines, a classic car restoration company. Sharon and her husband go to car shows regularly, including shows in Oran, Mo., Bernie, Mo., Piedmont, Mo., Cape Girardeau and Marble Hill.

Steven DeClue of Jackson checks out the interior of a car on display June 9 at Cruisin’ Uptown Jackson. (ADAM VOGLER)

"The car has all matching numbers," said Sharon, referring to her blue '79 Camaro. "It won Best Car in the Cape show," Sharon told me, grinning with pride.

As I arrived, I found the area bustling with car enthusiasts, friends, and proud owners of the vehicles. Nearly all subgenres of car enthusiasm could be satisfied: antique cars, muscle cars, street rods, classic cars, custom cars and custom motorcycles lined the streets of uptown Jackson. Each of these pieces of mobile art boasted a unique design and an intricate interior. These cars seemed crafted more than just manufactured.

Since I'd arrived at 5:45 p.m., well before the event's close at 9 p.m., I took some time to satisfy my own interest. I almost immediately ran into my friend Jordan Thomas and his father, Scott Thomas, both of Jackson. Jordan, Scott and I wandered the show, choosing our favorites and marveling at the beautiful machines. Jordan was preferential to the cherry red '69 Corvette, while I couldn't pull myself away from a pristine, silver '65 Corvette.

Pulling out my pen and notepad, I broke away from Jordan and his dad. The owners of the vehicles were friendly and excited to talk about their prized possessions.

That silver '65 Corvette Sting Ray belonged to Gale Walton of Burfordville. He regularly attends car shows.

"I drive my car all over," Walton said, "It's meant to be enjoyed, not just sit in a garage."

He travels to Arkansas, Tennessee and Illinois to show his Corvette. Walton showed me the "knock-off" wheels on his Corvette, which were only offered on the 1965 and 1966 models. These wheels are held on only by three-pronged metal spanners, and a lead hammer is used to remove the wheels and put them back on. The show proved to be quite an interesting learning experience.

A third classic car enthusiast, Steve Amos, sat contentedly in a lawn chair behind his blue '67 Chevelle Malibu.

Steven, right, and Hunter DeClue of Jackson check out the interior of Mel Uelsmann's 1935 Ford truck Saturday, June 9, at Cruisin' Uptown Jackson (ADAM VOGLER)

"I like the Cruisin' events better than a traditional car show," Amos said.

He enjoys the less competitive, relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to socialize with friends. Amos also owns a '57 Bel Air and another Malibu, a 1964.

Debbie Pensel, a Jackson resident, attended the event with her mother and great niece. She doesn't attend car shows often, but enjoyed her time at the Cruisin' show. "It's just something to do on a Saturday night in Jackson," she said. "There's free food and awesome cars."

Free hot dogs and hamburgers were offered by Montgomery Bank of Jackson. Music by Hot Rod Nights completed the easygoing, old-time feel of the show. Some attendees also participated in a street dance.

Attendants could sign up for door prizes or enter a 50-50 raffle where the pot of money was split, with half going to the winner. The other half of the money was donated to the Jackson Community Outreach organization. Jackson Community Outreach presented the Cruisin' Car Show.

If you missed the June 9 show, other shows are scheduled later this summer. The event will be held again from 6 to 9 p.m. July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 8, all in uptown Jackson at the county courthouse square. Attendees are encouraged to drive their antique car, but the events are open to all.


Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau County Courthouse, Jackson, MO 63755

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