(Bastrop) Historical Downtown Bastrop transforms into a car show runway with the 12th Annual “Heroes and Hotrods” car show veterans weekend where veterans are honored with a tribute at the main platform.
Co-chair Bill Szelag said from vintage and muscle cars, rat rods, and military vehicles this year’s show, organized by Bastrop Area Cruisers, is already on target to surpass last year’s 350-car entry by 40 to 50 additional cars.
“This is perhaps the largest special event in Bastrop,” Szelag said. “It brings in 1000s of spectators and contestants, and our downtown merchants and restaurants deliver with great food and live music. The key part of the weekend is to honor veterans, but the car show is an additional attraction that brings people into our town. The contestants like the fact that we judge by class, this year featuring 32 different classes.”
(Check out this link for particulars on registration, judging, and the day’s events: http://www.bastropareacruisers.com/bac_2_005.htm)
After Friday’s 4 p.m. cruise in, Saturday morning’s events kick off at 10:30 a. m. with a bag pipe-lead veteran’s pedestrian march where all veterans are encouraged to join the march to receive cheers and kudos from parade bystanders. Veterans who are showing cars receive an entry lanyard with a ribbon denoting their veteran status. The Bastrop High School NJROTC will post colors along with the Bastrop Honor Choir offering tribute song.
Mayor Connie Schroeder will introduce guest speaker Dr. Betty Moseley Brown, president of the Women Marines Association. MSgt (retired) Gwen Herndon and SrA Robin Swain will be honored as this year’s Bastrop County Honored Veterans. A tribute highlight is the San Marcos Commemorative Air Force flyover at approximately the eleventh hour.
Szelag said that this car show attracts clubs from all over including Austin, San Antonio, Dallas. Some attend in mass like the Blue Flame Cruisers who come together with about 18 entries and the Dallas Oldsmobile Club with around 20 vehicles.
“One of the nicest cars I’ve seen at the show was the 2015 Best of Show, a 1957 2-door Chevy Bel Air trailered from Baton Rouge,” Co-chair Tony Sloterdijk said. “That brilliant bluish purple car set off with beautiful chrome and aluminum had the whitest leather interior that matched the trunk interior. The owner had to have at least $100,000 in the vehicle. The engine area was so clean you could make sandwiches off of it.”
Slazeg said people are proud of their vehicles regardless of the money invested or if it is a spectacular build.
“Car show enthusiasts enjoy sharing history. You might hear someone saying, ‘Yeah, I had a car like that,’ or ‘I remember that car in grandpa’s barn,’” Slazeg said.
Besides honoring the veterans and showcasing a variety of cars in a fun, friendly environment, Bastrop Area Cruisers knows the show has been a success once they distribute proceeds to area charities such as the Bastrop Emergency Food Pantry, HIS ministries, and high school auto-tech scholarships. Immediately after the veteran tribute, a live auction will take place to help generate these proceeds.
The group will auction an impressive list of items including high-dollar items such as a steak and wine pairing for 10 at Piney Creek Chophouse, a big green egg BBQ cooker from Ferguson Kitchen and Bath Supply and a hand-made workbench by the Cedar Creek High School Construction Management students. The day continues with a raffle, kid’s activities, live music and the Pine Street Market Days.
“We couldn’t pull this off without the support of the City, the downtown merchants and our sponsors,” Slazeg said. “Through the years I’ve heard car show visitors say, ‘ I drive on 71 through Bastrop, but I didn’t know how beautiful the downtown is. I’ll be back for a visit.’”