This year’s revamped Starbird-Devlin Rod & Customs Charities Car Show showed how a lot of hard work and some fresh ideas can, over a very short period of time, revitalize a longstanding tradition.
The show, in its 55th year, had the feel of Wichita’s longest running car show, but with a new vibe. Several show-goers commented that the first show under the new ownership had a more laid-back feel and that it was especially good to see so many young people enjoying themselves among the 313 show cars on display at Century II.
That wasn’t accidental, as the show featured lower prices for families and a kids area that included bicycle and model car contests, as well as a free snap-kit model building feature.
"The goal was to get kids interested in hot rodding at an early age," said Carl Fry, one of the new show owners. A full roster of sponsors was onboard for the event. Fry said 200 volunteers donated their time to help boost proceeds that go to three local charities: Wichita Children’s Home, Starkey and the Arc of Sedgwick County.
Participants did their part, too.
"Most of the car owners donated their tow money back to the charities and Bruce Ricks even wrote us a check for $1,000. We were all overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity and cooperation," Fry said.
Ricks and his wife, Judy, of Sapulpa, Okla., claimed the top honors at the show, the Magnificent 7 first place trophy, with their gorgeous 1956 Ford convertible. Second place in the category went to Jerry Reynolds of Fayetteville, Ark., for his 1969 Camaro and another ’56 Ford, this one showed by Dan and Kathy Coleman of Arvada, Colo., took home the third-place award. Thirty-six cars competed for the Magnificent 7.
A total of nearly 50 individual awards were handed out during the three-day show. Wichita on Wheels was allowed to pick one of those, which went to David and Connie Hime’s great 1941 original Cadillac sedan. Their car will be the subject of a future Wheels page feature.
To see a complete list of award winners, go to www.kansas.com and look for "Starbird-Devlin award winners."