Hawthorne became a hot spot for car enthusiasts over the weekend of Sept. 14, as the Mineral County Motorheads presented their Shop, Swap and Car Show, held at the El Capitan Casino and Lodge truck parking lot. This entire effort benefitted the local Boys & Girls Club of Hawthorne, while drawing in crowds and show cars from well over 300 miles away, filling the local hotels and camping spots with enclosed trailers and some unusual rides.
Friday evening opened with a pre-show party and dinner at Barley’s Sports Bar, as TV Personality Danny Koker and his Count 77 Band came into town from Las Vegas to present an openair concert. They performed selections of 1970’s songs to an energetic crowd of visitors and locals who were dancing and mingling among parked hot rods. Many of the show cars, which came in for the weekend car show, cruised in under a full moon with the Friday the 13th party atmosphere in full swing. A local ride, mastered and built by Rio DeMars, entitled “The Rogue”, was unveiled as a specialty hot rod, among onlookers.
Saturday brought in a city block full of over 100 car show participants, with cars, trucks and motorcycles to meet a wide variety of automotive tastes. Various food vendors lined G Street, closed between 5th and 6th Streets, while over 20 separate sales booths offered a wide array of choices. Local organizations came loaded with information and mining recruitment booths admitted picking up some solid applicants by the end of the day. The corner Kid Zone entertained kids with games and prizes, provided by the Boys and Girls Club. Kiddie Vintage Carnival Rides entertained little ones, while the Dream Team cooked selected goodies.
A separate section was set aside just for swappers selling car parts and unusual antique collections, but every area stayed busy with crowds weaving through. The smash and bash, “Venting on a Volvo” event, allowed individuals to use a sledgehammer on a real car, which was written with words that would invoke a hit – like bullying, put-downs, abuse, cancer, chronic pain and more.
Near the entertainment stage, there was a hub of 12 headlining vehicles on display for all to see, which awed the crowds. Millers Chopshop from Reno, brought their display of custom Rat Rods and Rockabilly Apparel, plus a variety of part-art. They amused visitors with their pin-stripping talents on display throughout the day.
Curt McBride’s featured 911 Tribute Car, a 1965 Custom Chevy Nova, was a blast following the noon whistle, when the “Start Your Engines” event took hold and he punched the open headers of his alcohol-fueled engine. Crostini’s Dragster was also on display and all the custom engines peaked with loud, rumbling sounds, giving car lovers a thrill to remember.
Chocco Ferrell’s customized1969 Camaro was trailered in from Oregon and displayed on carpeting, to bring him the second place winning trophy for best in whow, while the local 1946 Indian Motorcycle barn find sat stately in a protected, open trailer for viewing. A peers choice trophy was awarded to Ed Pluta’s 1970 GTO, “The Judge” displayed with its original window sticker totaling a selling cost of $4,359.78, as purchased from Hawthorne’s Miles Buick-Cadillac-Pontiac Dealership.
The biggest success of this two-day event came as donations big and small, combined with the event registration funding, were tallied up to reveal that the $30,000 goal set by the Mineral County Economic Development Authority and the Mineral County Motorhead’s Club, had been exceeded at over $34,000.
This tremendous accomplishment was acknowledged by Travis Crowder, Chief Professional Officer of Boys and Girls Clubs of Mason Valley, as it was made possible to benefit the local Hawthorne Branch, by many large company donations, combined with local contributions of cash, plus all items given away for the drawings. Some private donors were publicly thanked, as well as an acknowledgment given for the sacrifices made through the volunteers, which truly made a difference within this large-scale event.