5C's Car Club show draws large crowd at Red Fern

Apr. 29—Vintage and souped-up new cars lined Water Avenue, all vying for trophies in the 5C's Car Club Show at the annual Red Fern Festival.

The festival began Friday, April 26, under threat of severe weather, but by Friday afternoon, all was a go for vendors and visitors. Saturday started out stormy but cleared early and remained sunny all afternoon.

Allen Rule is president of the local car club, which has been around since 1987.

"We are a nonprofit and we raise money with our car show. We have a toy run at the end of the year and donate gifts to underprivileged children of Cherokee County — that's our mission," Rule said.

Cars of all colors filled the street, some restored with original colors, others taking on shades preferred by their creative owners. Chrome ornaments flashed in the sun, and even the rustiest of the vehicles were admired and had a beauty of their own.

Bill Holsey entered his 1955 yellow Chevrolet BelAir, which he bought already restored from a classic car dealership.

"This car's exactly the color, interior and everything to what I drove in high school," Holsey said. "You get in her and it's 1961 again."

Car owners competed in modified, stock and age categories. Holsey competed in the stock category, meaning it is still intact as he purchased it.

Paul Wood competed with his modified 1955 red Chevrolet BelAir.

"My interior is different, my engine is fuel injection, tires and wheels are different," Wood said. "I bought her like this."

Wood and Holsey live in Tulsa and are in the same classic car club.

Curtis Lamb displayed a modified 1947 Chevy Stylemaster painted voodoo blue that he purchased at an auction in Tulsa.

"Paul, Bill and I are good friends. Paul and I and our wives even went on a trip together for our wedding anniversaries," Lamb said. "I bought my car at an auction in Tulsa and it was already modified."

Lamb said the person who restored it spent over $100,000 bringing it back to its original condition, and Lamb bought it for $30,000.

"The urge to get into restored cars just came on me, but it's a good way to get together with friends," Lamb said.

Bobbi Anderson was there with her husband Terry, showing off a 1941 Chevrolet truck, which is in the process of being restored.

"Got a piece here and piece there to restore it. I grew up with old 1960s model Chevrolets, fixing them up," Terry said.

Three judges — T.J. Rutherford, Brian Carroll and Brett Thompson — walked around each car, examining paint jobs, engines and interiors.

Rutherford taught at Indian Capital Technology Center and worked at a car dealership. Carroll's background is in engine building and auto machining, and he used to work at a restoration hot rod shop in Las Vegas. Thompson was raised in the hobby and raced circle track and builds engines.

Robbye and Bartley Meaders, a retired couple, stood by an old Mercedes that was restored by a young man and his grandfather.

"I grew up in a car dealership and I've been fascinated by cars since I was 8 years old," Bartley said. "My favorite car is a Mercedes. Nothing feels or drives like a Mercedes."

Wyatt Stephens, 16, and his grandfather, Tommy Baker, own the 1949 Mercedes 170S that was being admired by the Meaderses. Tommy traded a horse for the shell of the vehicle 40 years ago. They won first place in Class B.

Wyatt's grandmother, Linda Baker, said it looked terrible when they got it, but all of the parts are original except the engine. They also had to replace a wooden window frame that they managed to find after an extensive search in Pennsylvania.

"I like how it's so curvy. Other cars are more boxy and no other car looks like it," Stephens said.

A student at ICTC, Aly Ridenhour stood by her former instructor's truck, admiring the work. She is going to graduate May 18 from auto service, and next semester will study auto body work.

Don Ridenhour, her father, supports her in whatever she wants to do and said she was passionate about engine repair.

"I love the satisfaction of finishing them," Aly said. "Once you finish a project, it just feels so good — like you did that on your own."

Two Model T Fords — one a Speedster made mostly of wood with only a couple features fashioned from metal — were displayed by Larry Ross. He use to race stock cars and his wife's nine uncles all had Model T's in Wisconsin. Ross won first place in the Class A division.

"They went on a run every year, and every year a different brother had the job of planning the trip," Ross said. "I wouldn't be caught dead in one of these but I had a racing bad season, so I went on one of the trips."

Ross said when they stopped for a meal and break, one of the uncles said he wanted to teach Ross to drive one.

"He got me behind the wheel and I didn't go 200 feet before I realized they drive so different," Ross said. "They drive completely different than any other car."