Sunny farewell: Last (?) Good Times Car Show goes out in style Aug. 21
News of the event's farewell - forced by drastically increased city costs - had been revealed previously in a Westside Pioneer article , but not all the vehicle owners knew about it until the four car clubs that have served as volunteer organizers presented a formal announcement at the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon in Bancroft Park. For the pre-event Pioneer article, go to this link.
Car Show emcee Jon Karroll told the gathering that the clubs' appeals to the city for cost relief have “gone ignored,” leaving no choice but to end the event.
A round of boos and cries of indignation greeted these words. “It's Mayor John Suthers, if you want to drop him a line,” the emcee added.
City officials have previously defended the increased requirements as ensuring that the public is fairly reimbursed for street or park use, looking out for city liability and/or being unavoidable under federal rules.
Asked what amount of money it would take to keep the show alive, Car Show spokesperson Kathy Quatkemeyer said $10,000. City fees aside, it's been costing that much for the clubs - the Colorado Cruizers, Pikes Peak Corvair Club, Rocky Mountain Mustangers and Southern Colorado Mopars - just to put the event together, she said. How have they been achieving that number, year after year? Through “donations and begging,” she quipped. “I've gotten real good at begging.”
In addition, the car owners have paid to be in the show ($30 apiece this year, up $5 from the past). Whatever was left after paying the city would be given to
In keeping with past formats, the six-hour show Aug. 21 offered cars parked along Colorado Avenue and its side streets between 23rd and 27th streets. A band (the Old Dogs) played at no charge - their own donation - in the Bancroft bandshell.
The free event has proven popular in its quarter-century run. Even on event days with iffy weather, most of the car owners would take their chances. And the spectators would do the same.
A car owner who never missed a show is Benny Vallejo, who retired as a barber in 2015 after 54 years in a shop on West Colorado Avenue. He's commented that cutting hair was his hobby and restoring cars was his real job.
On Aug. 21, Vallejo brought one of the three 1930s-era Fords he's restored into street rods. Getting them to look shiny-new took “lots of money and lots of time,” he grinned.
All the vehicles in the show were required to have identifying tags in their front windows. The tag for a bright yellow 1947 Ford Super Deluxe this year said that the owner was “Mr. Miyagi.” This was a joke, according to the real owner, Bob Bee. He did that because an identical car (also yellow) had belonged to the Miyagi character in the original “Karate Kid” movie.
However, Bee noted, he had bought his Super Deluxe in 1969, then restored it and painted it the same color yellow… before the movie ever came out.
The restoration was major. “At one point, you could open the trunk and see the radiator,” he recalled. “It took hours and hours, but it was fun doing it.”
As for the rumors of a possible return Quatkemeyer said there have been feelers from a different group that might want to bring it back to Old Colorado City. But nothing has been proposed, nor have the car clubs met with the group. Another rumor is about the Car Show moving downtown (like the St. Patrick's Day Parade 10 years ago). But that is just talk, and it may be that no answer will be known until a possible Sunday in August 2017, when bright and shiny cars may once again perk up Old Town.
Westside Pioneer article and photos