HJ - Gant Cruzin Clarinda 2019

Roger and Pat Gant of Clarinda pose in front of their 1956 Chevrolet, which is part of their car collection. The couple will be co-grand marshals of the annual Cruzin’ Clarinda car show parade, along with Jack and Evelyn Weaver, Saturday, June 1, around the Clarinda square. (photo courtesy of Heather Marsh)

“I just like old vehicles,” Jack Weaver of Clarinda said.

Weaver is not alone. More than 1,000 classic vehicle enthusiasts are expected to attend the Fifth Annual Cruzin’ Clarinda event Saturday, June 1, around the downtown square in Clarinda.

The unique feature of the Cruzin’ Clarinda event is all motorized vehicles are encouraged to participate, such as cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles and tractors. As a result, participants from across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska attend the event.

The vehicle show and parade has steadily grown in popularity each year. As a result, the event this year will feature not one, but two couples as grand marshals. Serving as the marshals will be Jack and Evelyn Weaver and Roger and Pat Gant of Clarinda.

“Jack said no at first, but then he thought it over and said he would. The kids wanted him to do it,” Evelyn said.

“I was surprised. I usually just drive in it, so I didn’t know what they expected out of it,” Jack said. “I’m looking forward to it and the kids are too.”

“It’s a great deal for Clarinda. I just enjoy it,” Roger said.

“We felt very humbled because we have not had old cars as long as some others have,” Pat said.

Vehicle registration for the free “Show & Shine” vehicle show will begin at 11:30 a.m. with judging to follow. The participants will be displayed from 1-4 p.m. on the square. The first 150 vehicles to register will receive a free event dash plaque.

Free children’s activities will be offered on the Page County Courthouse lawn, including a Disney bounce castle, a Mickey Mouse bounce castle and an inflatable obstacle course. Vendors offering a variety of food items, automotive specialties and memorabilia will be set up around the courthouse area.

“It brings a lot of different people to town. Even the little kids like it. I don’t think it would happen if it wasn’t for (committee chairperson) Mike Williams,” Evelyn said.

“It appeals to common people and that makes it a very nice show,” Roger said.

“Since it’s a daylong event, that should benefit some of the local businesses like the restaurants,” Pat said.

The Curzin’ Clarinda Parade will be held at 5:30 p.m. with the parade lineup beginning at 5 p.m. at the intersection of 13th and Washington Streets.

To lead the parade, Jack and Evelyn Weaver will be driving their faded black 1929 Ford pickup. Jack purchased the truck 21 years ago after retiring from a career of more than 40 years with Hy-Vee.

“I saw it listed in the Omaha paper. The owner had it in West Point, Nebraska, and his uncle had used it for deliveries with a hardware store,” Jack said. “I called about it, went up to look at it and bought it. I had Snyder’s bring it home.”

“He said he would wash it for the parade, but normally he doesn’t wash it since it’s an old truck,” Evelyn said.

The couple has also owned a 1929 coupe and a 1934 Ford over the years.

“I have had a lot of other old vehicles through the years,” Jack said.

“He likes cars. He always told me the transmission was going out and we needed to trade. He told me that a lot before I got smart,” Evelyn said.

Roger and Pat may have as many as three vintage vehicles entered in the parade this year. Roger, and his son-in-law Ryan Richie, have restored a 1938 Farmall F-20 tractor and a 1956 Chevrolet. Not to be outdone, Pat owns her own 1966 Ford Mustang convertible.

“That is the first Ford we have ever owned,” Roger said.

“We keep them in separate locations so the Ford and Chevy won’t fight,” Pat laughed.

The first restoration project Roger undertook was the 1938 Farmall F-20 tractor. His father had the same tractor and he used parts from the family tractor to complete the restoration of his tractor.

“That was the first tractor I learned to drive when I was a kid,” Roger said.

A heavy machinery operator, Roger said he and Richie spent about two years restoring the tractor in their spare time. Then, in the fall of 2016, they moved on to restoring the 1956 Chevrolet.

“I had one right out of high school. I told my son-in-law I hoped I never saw another one because I would probably buy it. He found this one 100 miles south of St. Louis,” Roger said.

The original 1956 Chevrolet Roger owned was black and white in color. However, the car he purchased to restore was dark purple.

“He went to New Market and their school colors were purple and gold. So my daughter, Reba (Richie), and I were able to convince him to keep the dark purple,” Pat said.

“We had trouble finding the right shade of purple. I eventually had the paint scanned in Shenandoah and found out it was Mercedes Benz purple. Then, we did the top, trunk and side stripes in pearl white,” Roger said.

The restoration project also involved some body work and installing a smaller motor. The car had been used on the drag strip circuit and featured two side by side four-barrel carburetors.

“I didn’t want that big of motor,” Roger said.

In December 2017, Pat fully joined the car hobby by purchasing her red 1966 Ford Mustang convertible with black interior. The car was street ready at the time it was purchased and only required some minor work.

“My first car was a 1960 Chevy Impala four-door hardtop that was light grey on dark grey with red interior. I looked and looked and looked, but could not find one. Even the Branson Car Museum does not have a does not have a 1960 Chevy. So, instead, this Mustang became available through a mutual acquaintance. When I lived in Omaha my roommate had a Mustang from that era and that style. When I saw it I liked it, so I bought it,” Pat said.

Even before they had vehicles entered in the Curzin’ Clarinda show and parade, the Gants and Weavers enjoyed attending the event. Both couples said their favorite part of the day is talking with the other vehicle owners and the people attending the event.

“I enjoy seeing the cars and reminiscing because I have had several of the ones I’ve seen,” Jack said.

“We enjoy visiting with the people that walk around and look at the old cars. That’s fun for us because every car has its own story,” Pat said. “The event brings people with like interests together. It is a good way to showcase Clarinda and we appreciate all the sponsors in town. They do a fantastic job.”

Businesses have rallied together in support of the day’s activities with more than 50 corporate sponsors defraying the expenses. Businesses have donated prizes and gift cards for the event.

Sponsors have volunteered to send judges to the “Show & Shine” event in order to encourage community participation at all levels.

In case of rain, the event will be Saturday, June 8.

“We hope the weather is good,” Evelyn said.

“A nice sunny day really helps the attendance,” Pat said.

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