MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 19, 2013

Car show draws crowd for good cause

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Steve Henrichs paused during the wipedown of his 1920 Ford T-Bucket Roadster and picked a small string off the engine block.

The car, black with yellow flames and googly eyes, is no stranger to awards, Henrichs said.

“It usually wins the class, and she won best in show in Eufaula a couple weeks ago,” he said. “I got her three years ago, and I plan to keep her for a while. The car hobby is a good hobby because car people are good people.”

Henrichs’ roadster was one of 98 cars registered at the 15th annual Cruis’n Angels and BancFirst Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show on Saturday afternoon. The event also attracted around 500 spectators to the Civic Center parking lot, which gleamed with bright paint and shiny chrome.

Joey Smith and his wife, Amanda Smith, brought their daughters, Jayde, Jalyn and Kyliegh to the show. Amanda Smith said the family enjoys the event.

“Joey has a ‘55 Chevy hard top he’s working on,” Smith said. “We like to come out and look at the cars and get ideas for it. The girls like coming out and taking pictures with the cars. Everyone can get out and enjoy it, and it brings everyone together.”

The proceeds from the show benefit the Good Shepherd Health Clinic, a non-profit Muskogee facility sponsored by St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church. The clinic assists adults who don’t qualify for welfare and have no health insurance.

Van Barkley, chaplain for the Cruis’n Angels, said it had been his privilege to assist in the organization.

“The club is getting more firm in its foundation,” Barkley said. “We’ve lost some members, but others have filled in and stepped up. I’m really impressed with the participation and the quality of the vehicles in the show this year. We’ve gone through a bit of a slump the last few years because of the economy. The expense of the hobby has affected some people.”

Barkley also said the show is generating some anticipatory word of mouth traffic.

“If you have a Cruis’n Angels flag on your vehicle, people will stop you in the street,” he said. “They want to tell you about a vehicle they’ve seen or ask when the next show is. We’ve even had people from other states involved.”

The show featured vehicles from every generation, as well as motorcycles, tractors, and even a motorized shopping cart and ice chest. There were several Ford Mustangs, a brand new Dodge Challenger, and a 1938 Willis that boasted almost 1200 horsepower.

Henrichs, who belongs to the Big Mac Cruzrs Car Club in McAlester, said the show is good for the local economy as well.

“It brings a lot of people into town,” he said. “Those people will eat here, buy gas here. It brings money and exposure to Muskogee.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat@muskogeephoenix.com.