HURRICANE – Hurricane Community Center, 100 West and 100 South in Hurricane, is mobbed every year the Saturday before Easter as about 10,000 visitors from all over the world visit the Hurricane Rotary Easter Car Show, and this year, the show’s 30th, those attending enjoyed a record-breaking show of over 400 cars, more than its seen since its sixth year.
For 30 years Hurricane has been the place to see cars and trucks of all makes and models on Easter weekend and this year’s show, put on by the Rotary Club of Hurricane Valley, saw a beautiful turnout, just as expected, with many hot rods, motorcycles, trucks and an exquisitely redone van with matching boat.
Classic car owners enjoy bragging rights, one proud owner at the show was Bill Brown with his 1958 stock Packard. It’s one of only 25 left in the world, he said.
How it all started
It was 1985 when Keith Averett and his son Ashley had the idea to hold a car show in Hurricane.
With the help of ABC Auto Parts, Wizard Auto Upholstery and the Rex Ruesch family the first annual Hurricane Car Show was held at the old Napa Auto Parts parking lot at 40 E. State Street. It consisted of 59 cars and trucks.
The second year, entrants went up by 36 making a grand total show of 95 automobiles.
“The third year we would need a bigger field,” Ashley Averett said, “so we asked the high school and they let us put it on the football field. We ended up with 125 cars.”
The fourth year ended with 195 entrants; and, by the fifth year, it was moved to the high school practice football field with over 200 participants.
It was during the sixth year that the show saw a record 375 automobiles – a record number until this year’s 400 entries.
For nearly 15 years, the car show was run as a family affair by the Averett and Ruesch families. Tonna Abbott, a Ruesch family member, said it was days and weeks of planning and paperwork. There were no computers at that time. It was all handwritten forms. Registration took place in the old El Chaparral restaurant attached to the Travelodge at 280 W. State Street. It was time consuming and laborious work, she said, but everyone loved it.
“I helped park cars while my dad, Rex, would direct us where to put them,” Abbot said, adding that when she was a teen, she “loved every moment of it. It was time spent with my family and I was able to drive some pretty awesome cars.”
Time for change
It was sometime between 1995 and 2000 when the Rotary Club took the reins.
“Change was something we were ready for,” Averett said. “We knew the Rotary Club would do a good job.”
The Rotary Club of Hurricane Valley is a nonprofit organization made up of local business people and the Easter Car Show is their No. 1 charitable event of the year. The money is used locally, depending on needs. In past years, money has been donated to the Police and Fire departments and used for scholarships.
Rotary Club President Wade Beatty said this year the money will be used to send a couple Rotarians to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, to work in an orphanage and deliver rice and beans.
“We really have a lot of, not only Rotary Club, but a lot of other volunteer organizations involved,” Beatty said. “We have great food from a lot of different vendors. It is really a great time.”
Patrons left with visions of beautiful automobiles on their minds and full bellies from all the great food and organizers are already planning for next year’s big event.
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