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18th Annual La Harpe Classic Car Show Reunion Nears

The La Harpe Classic Car Show Reunion is almost here and organizers have the logo made, bought, and paid for with several items for collectors including t-shirts, mugs, and plaques.

Sponsors have committed, and 170 plaques have been purchased and are ready to hand-out to the top 3 winners in each of 47 classes.

In talking with Kenny Brown, a U.S. Veteran, former La Harpe Mayor, a and consistant organizer of the La Harpe show for 18 years, it is found that some of the guys who haven't been here for awhile will be back on August 6th, including Carl Stuber.

Entrys have come from Florida as well. NICKEY Chevrolet from the Chicago area will be coming with new Camaro's.

It wasn't told if there were any special edition 50th year 2017 Camaros so we'll just have to attend the show and check it out for ourselves. I read about it in Chevy magazine and it is pretty stunning in detail and with a 450 HP engine. Brown said, it all starts in January when they sent out 700 flyers and begin passing them out at shows and acquiring sponsorships.

The pre-entries have been coming in for some time now, along with sponsorships, which is what makes the show go.

The Browns have attended a couple of shows this summer, one show in the Quad Cities and one in Chicago so far where they also drum up business for La Harpe's and neighboring upcoming shows.

Brown said that this year's shirt design is showcasing the business that sponsors the show each year.

"We also have 4 jackets that will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the honor flight. The jackets are donated by Brad Richardson and Shottenkirk Dealership and we really appreciate their support," he said.

This year, auction proceeds and 50/50 money and any other funds go to pay expenses and then the extra goes to fund the HONOR FLIGHTS that have been so meaningful to our veterans.

"No matter what we do, it's a day of giving:people give."

Brown said because of the later date this year, the bagpipe players who come for the Mormon pageant in Nauvoo will be gone and unable to play, but "Amazing Grace" will be sung at the opening ceremonies by an outstanding singer from Blandinsville who is a minister.

The day will include the "big tents", along with the amazing Kenny Barnhardt, 80, of Elgin and his #16 Camaro and his wife Terri. Barnhardt is the only person in the U.S. who is an original owner of one of the 50 Camaros bought off Fred Gibb, the brightly orange painted #16 1969 ZL-1!

He won his class in the U.S. drag racing nationals in the early days, and I hear he still drag races. His 80th birthday was celebrated a couple weeks ago.

The Monmouth, Illinois "Maple City Street Machines" have around 20 members, according Kenny Tatman of Monmouth's Tatman #1 Auto Sales and Tatman said it was because of the La Harpe car show 18 years ago, that their show became so big and popular.

Like Brown's in La Harpe, the Monmouth cruise night just started out small as a Father's Day treat around McDonald's.

La Harpe's was planned at first as a small gathering around the La Harpe park, but quickly grew that first year to so many entries, (100), that it was moved to the golf course where it has remained for 18 years. The enthusiasm in La Harpe was the Fred Gibb legacy.

There has been a lot of surprises at the car shows and one of the few family events where you can gather with your kids or grandparents and talk about the good ole days. It can be fun for all ages. There is fathers and daughters, fathers and sons, husbands and wives, singles who bring cars or come to see them.

The Browns have attended a couple of shows this show in Chicago, and one in the Quad Cities where both Kenny Brown and Kenny Tatman are members of the Quad Cities Camaro Club.

Brown thought Maxine Hilton was bringing The Model A she and her late husband Cecil worked on which will be a highlight for attendees. Every car and every couple who comes has a story and they love visiting with folks.

Kenny Tatman said in their Monmouth Club, the women do an amazing job taking care of running the show and the 50/50 drawings, food, prizes, music, etc., and the men take care of the cars and entries, and that helps with their success. "But it was the Fred Gibb legacy in La Harpe that fueled their Friday night show," Tatman said. Bob Lionberger had an amazing part in all of that." Tatman said.

Kenny Brown said that he has had very good support in from Bob Lionberger, Jerry Burford, Darrell Kraft who are the committee, and also many community members and businesses have continually been there to help each year.

Tatman said there is a lot of support.

"It's the true car-guys that know about cars and understand the importance of it all that continually flood the city. But it's also with the help of the girls who take care of the benefits, activities, church and school groups, food, and give-aways. Thegirls do an amazing job and they keep us in line"

Tatman added, "I heard the #3 Copo Nova of Gibb's original 50 in 1968 is coing back for the show. You're have to go and see," Tatman said.

The show begins Friday night August 5th on the streets of downtown Monmouth, continues Saturday morning August 6th with a 10 a.m. opening ceremony at the La Harpe Park District Golf Course until late afternoon, then continues on over to Macomb's historic town square for the rest of the evening. There's no admission fee.