08/16/09 02:42PM Car Shows, Copper Country Cruizers

Antique models align for car show
By Walter Rubel/Sun-News managing editor

SILVER CITY - "Hey, check out the dashboard on that one. They did a nice job on that," a young car enthusiast said to his friends as he peered inside the cab of a 1948 Studebaker owned by Neil Beydler of Globe, Ariz.

Car Shows,Events,Walter Ruble

Beydler's orange antique was one of the more than 100 cars and trucks, all model 1973 or earlier, that lined the streets surrounding Gough Park on Saturday for the 18th annual Run to Copper Country car show put on by the Copper Country Cruizers. And the sharp-eyed motorheads who came out to inspect this year's crop didn't miss a detail.

Richard Sanchez of Silver City sat beneath a blue umbrella to protect him for the August sun as he watched a steady stream of admirers file past his baby blue 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge. Sanchez said he bought the car new almost three decades ago at the former John Roberts Auto, which has since been replaced by a convenience store.

The GTO, which Sanchez said has about 80,000 miles on it, is one of three classic cars in his collection, along with a '52 Chevy and an '80 Corvette.

"I graduated from high school in 1966, when all these cars were big, and the hot rods," Sanchez explained. "I love cars."

That sentiment was shared by the hundreds who filled Gough Park, either to show a car of their own or to drool over somebody else's baby.

"It's great. They've got a nice variety of cars, nice calls from all over, many different states" said Squeg Jerger of Hereford, Ariz., who was showing his 1941 Ford convertible.

"These guys are really organized, the hotels they set up and then up here," added his friend Joe Proski of Glendale, Ariz.

"They are quite a club," said Jerger of the Copper Country Cruizers. "And I think that's what it takes to make something like this work."

Terry Ward, president of the Cruizers, said as of about 9 a.m. Saturday, they had 122 registered entries this year, with the expectation for a couple more. That does not count the 13 cars shown by club members. A car from Chino, Calif., came the longest distance, and there were several cars from Arizona, Texas and throughout New Mexico. A 1923 T-Bucket Ford was the oldest car in this year's show.

Registration numbers were down a little bit from last year, when 148 cars were registered.

"It's mostly the economy this year," Ward said in explaining the slight drop.

The weekend events started Friday night with a reception at the Holiday Inn, and will continue this morning with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Lions Club.

Proski didn't have a car in this year's show, but said he has a 1950 Mercury that he's working on.

"See you next year," he said.

Walter Rubel can be reached at wrubel@lcsun-news.com.