The American love affair with automobiles has lasted more than 100 years and shows no indications of dwindling. Anyone who disagrees should ask local auto repair expert and car enthusiast Glenn Buck – who, since 2007, has driven one of his self-built classic cars in the "Martinsburg Cruise Night."
And, he shares that passion with his family.
His son Monte has helped him for years build cars for the cruise and has even entered a few cars himself and won a few competitions. This year, Buck's daughter, Savana, plans to enter the family tradition for the first time, showing off her baby-blue 1966 Mustang. His other daughter, Sierra, and wife, Nancy, are also very supportive, when she's not running her pet grooming business. Monte's wife, Emily, also supports the family hobby and helps build the cars when she can.
"It's a car show per se, but not in a spirit of normal car shows, where you go, have fun and a few judges go around and give out special awards," Buck told said in a recent interview. "This one offers a fun cruise and the opportunity for spectators to look at the car and see what we had to go through to build it.
"It is for sure, by far, the most fun car show that we have around here, and it's a great time to spend time with friends that love the same thing you do."
The 10th Annual Martinsburg Cruise Night – hosted by Martinsburg Area Community Betterment – is being held Friday, April 26, in downtown Martinsburg. Any car, truck or motorcycle can participate. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a car show, followed by a cruise through the downtown area.
"Each year, this family-friendly event has consistently grown larger; bringing car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts together from throughout the region in an old school rendezvous and show off," said Rhonda Arens, a spokesperson for the Martinsburg Area Community Betterment organization. Arens said the first year probably had 30-40 cars. But in 2012, nearly 200 entries were submitted. The increased numbers of entries and spectators, she said, "demonstrates the American fascination with the car is alive and well."
Buck couldn't agree more.
"I think I came out of the womb wanting a '57 Chevy with a four on the floor, and it just went on from there," the 49-year-old father of three said. The walls of his shop – Glenn's Garage, located at the corner of Hwy. 54 and State Road HH – are filled with awards he has won with his burnt-orange colored body and white top 1969 Chevrolet Nova. Buck has owned more than 120 cars in his lifetime; 90 percent of which have been General Motors products. Additionally, Buck has been in the general auto repair business for more than 25 years, and is an active member of the Quarter Mile Cruisers.
Page 2 of 2 - His favorite part the cruise is what's called the "Burn Out Contest," where cruisers are allowed to spin their tires and do a burn out in downtown Martinsburg. "The cruisers enjoy it and the crowd loves it," Buck said.
A new adventure in connection with this year festivities is a Poker Run. The starting point will be the Old City Jail in downtown Martinsburg at noon. The run will meet up at the finish line at 4 p.m. Any car, truck or motorcycle may participate with a $10 registration fee. Prizes will be awarded and maps with stops are available at registration. Call 573-581-7702 or 573-473-5683 for more details.
With the proceeds from the Car Cruise and Poker Run, the Community Betterment organization hopes to continue its mission of "promoting good community relations in Martinsburg."
The Community Betterment Council was founded in 1997 when Martinsburg Bank donated the building currently known as the Martinsburg Branch Library and Community Room. Cruise Night has become the group's major fundraising effort to meet the expenses related to the upkeep of the building and various other community undertakings. Previous projects for the Council have included new playground equipment at the city park, jailhouse restoration, hosting a "trunk or treat" for Halloween 2012, and hosting an Art and Home Tour in January 2013.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the car show, Miss Audrain County 2012, Courtney Thomure, will be on hand to award trophies. Cars will be judged in categories of Camaro, Mustang, Muscle Car, Truck, Race Car, Motorcycle, and Best Car. New to the program is a "presentation or themed car" award that will go to the best-looking car among those with a theme.
Cruise Night offers free admission for spectators. Musical entertainment will be provided by Music Express, advertised as Mid Missouri's premier mobile DJ service. A menu of burgers, hot dogs, pork loin sandwiches, and fried taters will be offered for sale by Community Betterment.
Spaces for the Car Show are available on a first-come, first serve basis. A $15 entry fee gets your vehicle in the car show and cruise. For more information about the car show or to pre-register, call 573-492-6446 or 573-492-6488.