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Show combines love of cars, kids

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By Gina Clear

For Central Kentucky Rods and Machines and its President, Bob Merchant, the decision to host the Christmas for Kids Car Show some three decades ago was simple. The showcase combined two passions: cars and helping children.

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“I’ve always liked old cars,” Merchant said. “The cause is what it’s for.”

The show, which raises money for members to sponsor children for Christmas, was Saturday and continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown. The club also holds an auction at 1 p.m. Many items, including a bass boat, are on the block.

The club takes all proceeds to sponsor children from Helping Hand of Hope, Merchant said. Admission to the show is a donation or a toy.
Merchant said this year’s show has drawn around 40 entries, which is up from 24 last year. Owners pay a $15 fee to enter.

Club member William Smallwood said the show is important to the club and community.

“If it wasn’t for events like this, a lot of kids would do without,” he said.

His father, Bob Smallwood, said last year members helped deliver presents to children they sponsored.

“It brings tears to your eyes to see the kids get their gifts,” he said.

For attendees Brenda and Roy Abell, it was the cars and the cause that drew them to the show.

“It goes to a good cause,” Brenda said. “We get to see good cars and help a good cause.”

Roy added many of the cars in the show have stories as he pointed to a gold Anglia named Golden Angel II. He said the car was a former dragster that raced in Hardinsburg in the ’60s and ’70s.

James Martin, president of the Heartland Classics car club, entered a car in the show and said charity is part of what the clubs do.

“We’re always trying to raise money for some cause,” Martin said. “We always try to help each other out.”

Martin also said car shows increasingly are popular because the baby boomer generation is trying to purchase cars they drove as teens and young adults.

“Baby boomers want to go back and get their old cars,” he said. Adding many now have the time and money to restore a car.

“You have to break the piggy bank to do it, but I love it,” he said.

Eddie Lair, a retired state trooper, agreed the cars bring a sense of familiarity and nostalgia.

“This is my time period. This is what I drove,” he said. “I may have chased some of these.”

Gina Clear can be reached at 270-801-8965 or gclear@thenewsenterprise.com.