Abilene Motors Magazine: Issue 6

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THE AUTOMOTIVE MAGAZINE OF ABILENE, TEXAS

6

ISSUE

E TH E PR EM IU M CA R CA RE CE NT ER OFARTH BI G CO UN TRY EA

+ 5 STAR COATINGS

SHOW AND SHINE AT BLUE TWISTED STEEL CAR CLUBS, HOT RODS, CLASSIC CARS, CAR SHOWS and MORE


10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY ON JUNE 10TH, WE CELEBRATED OUR 10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY AND HAD OUR BIGGEST SALE EVER!! WE WANT TO SAY A VERY SPECIAL “THANK YOU!” TO EVERYONE WHO HAS MADE ALLIANCE ABILENE WHAT IT IS TODAY, FROM OUR DEDICATED EMPLOYEES TO OUR CU INCREDIBLE CUSTOMERS!

LICENSED DEALERS ONLY

ABOUT US Alliance Auto Auction - Abilene is a three lane auto auction with a small-town feel in a big market. The cornerstone of our success has been our attention to the small details and by prioritizing top of the line customer service.

6657 US Hwy 80 West Abilene, TX 79605

(325) 698-4391


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THE MEN OF STEEL BLUE TWISTED STEEL CELEBRATES MOVING TO NEW LOCATION WITH A GRAND OPENING EVENT ON CRUISE NIGHT PAGE 18

BIG COUNTRY COATING EXPERTS FAMILY OWNED BUSINESS 5 STAR COATINGS ARE THE COATING EXPERTS OF THE BIG COUNTRY AREA PAGE 26

FEATURES

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT 50 YEARS AGO, BOBBY GREEN BOUGHT HIS DREAM CAR AND MARRIED THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE


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PAGE 48

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS

RIDING ON THE ROAD OF FAITH

LESLIE SEPEDA HAD TO OVERCOME MANY OBSTACLES TO GET ABILENE AUTO SPA WHERE IT IS TODAY

WHETHER IT’S RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL OR RUNNING HIS AUTO BUSINESS, JAMES SARGENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN LED BY FAITH

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15TH ANNUAL ALBANY CLASSIC CAR SHOW EVERY YEAR A CLASSIC CAR SHOW BRINGS AMAZING CARS AND VISITORS TO ALBANY, TEXAS

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THE ART OF THE CRUISE ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE GOES ON A CRUISE WITH BIG COUNTRY C10 CLUB




L E E T S F O N ME

THE

A AN VILLANUEV OTOS BY CRISTI PH | H IT SM TEXT BY JOSH

BLUE TWISTED STEEL CELEBRATES MOVING TO NEW LOCATION WITH A GRAND OPENING EVENT ON CRUISE NIGHT ABILENE, TX - Running any business over a long period of time is no easy feat. Although there are many challenges, the Pritchett brothers, Forrest and Mitch, made it look easy. As the proud owners of a classic car restoration business in Abilene, Texas, for over 11 years. Last year, we featured the two business partners in our 2nd issue. Since our last feature, there have been several significant changes to the business, including ownership, location, and staff. Now, the company is owned solely by Forrest

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Pritchett, who explained a bit about the history, progression, updates, and current trajectory of the Blue Twisted Steel shop: “My brother, Mitch Pritchett, started this business 11 years ago. Both he and I had cars that we’d worked on personally for 40 years. When he got the idea to start the business, I lived in the Metroplex. He called me up and asked, ‘Hey, you want to put together cars, you want to restore cars, and hot rods?’ I said, ‘Absolutely!’


We just started from there and got lucky on a few first customers. So, business and word kind of spread, and we did a little bit of advertising, internet advertising or websites, some yellow pages ads, and some radio ads. And things kind of expanded from there.” Forrest’s brother, Mitch, retired about a year and a half ago, and Forrest wanted a change of scenery at a location that was a little bit closer to town and had more space to store more vehicles. After searching, he found the new location, and last year Blue Twisted Steel moved to their new location at 4110 North 1st St., Abilene, TX. All their customers really like it.

To commemorate the debut of the new location, Forrest held an event on Saturday, April 9th, at Blue Twisted Steel. He was kind enough to explain a bit about the event. He said, “The grand opening that we had was just a show and shine. It wasn’t a car show with any prizes or anything. It’s mainly just for people who want to have a place to park and show off their car before the cruise starts. We had a really good turnout. A lot of people came to hang out, get something to eat, and take a tour of our new shop. They got a chance to see what we do, take a look at our new location, and just kind of get to know some of the guys who work here.”

Since our last feature, there have been several significant changes to the business, including ownership, location, and staff. Now, the company is owned solely by Forrest Pritchett, who explained a bit about the history, progression, updates, and current trajectory of the Blue Twisted Steel shop. ” ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 11


Blue Twisted Steel partnered with a local radio station to help spread the word about his grand opening event. Forrest had this to say about it: “There is an annual cruise that is hosted by a local radio station called Rock 108 and KEAN 105.1 Cruise Night. It has been held every year for as long as I can remember. On that day, everybody gets their hot rods, classic cars, trucks, bikes, and cruises up and down North 1st Street. And there’s people out there with lawn chairs, just all along the street, 1000s of people who show up to watch this. Since we’re right on the road the cruise is on, we decided to partner with the radio station that hosted the cruise.” The event’s advantage was that visitors had a chance to see Blue Twisted Steel’s facilities and would presumably want to have their classic cars restored there as a result. Therefore, holding the grand opening during the annual cruise night event was a bold and brilliant move that will likely bring in more customers. According to Forrest, “My wife, Joanna Pritchett, helped a lot with coming up with ideas for the event.

We haven’t held anything like that in a long time. We were kind of missing doing the car show thing, so it was perfect timing, and it was a great way to celebrate our grand opening.” As mentioned before, the company has also got some new staff; they shared a bit about themselves. Dwayne Burnett is a paint and body restoration expert. He described how customers arrive at the shop with badly done repairs and paint jobs because they failed to take their vehicles to the right experts for the task. He said, “I’m not a perfectionist, but I do like things done right. We do high-quality work here at Blue Twisted Steel, and the standard is not hard when the standard is to get it right.” Josh Pritchett, Forrest’s nephew, is also a paint and body specialist, and he had this to say about the new location: “I like that it’s in town and there’s convenient places to drive to for materials, places to go while on break, of course, and my home is closer. I do like the change overall.”


Nicholas Burlington is a mechanic and one of the newer staff members; he started working at the company in September 2021. He was initially in the military and always had a love for cars. He said, “I always loved cars, but I didn’t really start messing with them until high school. I’m kind of self-taught and played around with hot rods, and my stepdad kind of taught me a lot of things about them too. I’ve been messing with them ever since.” Shawn Truel specializes in finishing vehicles. He loves the company’s new location, which is reflected in his enthusiasm when talking about it. He said, “I love the new location. I love the fact that we have more space and that is better suited to our needs. We have some great new team members, and in this business, everybody has that thing they’re good at.”

The grand opening that we had was just a show and shine. It wasn’t a car show with any prizes or anything. It’s mainly just for people who want to have a place to park and show off their car before the cruise starts. We had a really good turnout.” ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 13


Dean Carter, a retired Engineering Tech for the City of Abilene, now works as a Customer Relations Manager at the shop. He said, “My official job title is the Customer Relations Manager at Blue Twisted Steel. I am the first face and the first voice you hear when you get a car worked on at Blue Twisted Steel.” With an excellent reputation in the Big Country area, Blue Twisted Steel is also known throughout the state of Texas as one of the best classic car restoration shops around. Since the retirement of his brother, Forrest Pritchett has successfully rebranded the classic car restoration shop and provided a completely new outlook to the business. The new staff and change in location have brought the company’s services closer to their clientele in Abilene. Thanks to its relocation, the business has continued to grow. Forrest is very excited about the future of Blue Twisted Steel.

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On that day, everybody gets their hot rods, classic cars, trucks, bikes, and cruises up and down North 1st Street. And there’s people out there with lawn chairs, just all along the street, 1000s of people who show up to watch this. Since we’re right on the road the cruise is on, we decided to partner with the radio station that hosted the cruise.”


FOUNDED 2011

20+ YEARS

OF EXPERIENCE

325-672-9056 www.abilenedieselperformance.com

Abilene Diesel Performance 3001 E US Highway 80 Abilene, TX 79601



PROUDLY SERVING THE BIG COUNTRY AREA FOR OVER

20 YEARS

e c i v r e s y c n e g r e m e s r ou

24 h o

(325) 691-9771

4425 Crawford Dr Abilene, TX 79602


BIG COUNTRY COATING EXPERTS

FAMILY OWNED BUSINESS 5 STAR COATINGS ARE THE COATING EXPERTS OF THE BIG COUNTRY AREA TEXT BY JOSH SMITH

ABILENE, TX - It requires true determination, passion, relentless hard work, and motivation to fulfill one’s dreams. As fruitful as it is, once the goal is achieved, the real grind doesn’t end there. That’s where it starts. Consistency and strength are required to keep going. Troy and Traci Fulgham are an example of how your dreams can come true if you plan, execute, and stay determined no matter what challenges come your way.

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PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MAWSON

They had a vision and a dream, clinched the opportunity, and they have been working hard together ever since. As a team with their children, Tyler Fulgham and Destiny Brantner along with the other staff Mike Wright, Orlando Aguirre, and Chris Skinner produce high-quality services and products to the automotive community through their family business, 5 Star Coatings.


Troy was born and raised in Abilene, Texas, where he attended Cooper High School and AISD Schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Traci is from Ranger, Texas. She graduated from Lubbock Monterey High School, but being from an oilfield and Air Force family, she attended many schools, as she had to move wherever her family relocated. These two met at a mutual friend’s BBQ in 2010 and got married on 7-11-11, in Las Vegas. They do not have any children together, but they had four children, Justin Fulgham, Tyler Fulgham, Emily Fulgham, and Destiny Brantner, when they met. All of them are now all grown up and reside in Abilene or the surrounding areas. In 2010, Troy was asked to manage an oilfield coating and traditional powder coating business. Troy and Traci always dreamed of buying or starting their own business. They both had good experience managing businesses and knew it was time to start their own. They were enthusiastic about it: “We really wanted to start working for ourselves so that we could make the decisions that business owners make and hopefully benefit financially.”

Troy and Traci Fulgham are an example of how your dreams can come true if you plan, execute, and stay determined no matter what challenges come your way.”


With this goal in mind, they saved funds until an opportunity presented itself. They wasted no time, becoming the owners of 5 Star Coatings in 2016. About this experience, they said: “We feel very blessed that we were given the opportunity. Over the years, we have grown the customer base along with the services we provide. We still have a focus on the oilfield coating, but we’ve expanded the amount of powder coating we do.” Since owning the business, Traci and Troy have worked intensely, accompanied by their children and their loyal, hardworking employees. Together, they have all helped the business flourish. As they said: “Tyler Fulgham is a coater and has been with the company for 11 years. Destiny Brantner has been an administrative assistant here for 4 years. We can’t imagine 5 Star Coatings without them. We appreciate all our employees and their dedication to their position. They really work hard on a daily basis and manage the day-to-day duties.” 5 Star Coatings provides numerous products and services, such as Media Blasting, Powder Coating, and Zycoat Thermal Coating, to the automotive community. They also offer Media Retail Sales with multiple types available, including Metal Media, Aluminum Oxide, Copper Slag, and Dustless Glass Media. They told us more about it: “The metal media is very aggressive for steel. Aluminum oxide is used for softer metals, such as aluminum. Copper slag somewhat replaces traditional blasting sand, but it doesn’t have silica, which is not good for the environment. Dustless glass media is mixed with water so thin metal, such as car panels, can be blasted with minimal warping. The glass/water mix keeps the parts cool. We can sandblast small parts in the cabinet blaster and larger ones in the blast room, and our second location has an outdoor area where we can blast any size item like cars, trucks, dozer, and cattle trailers.”

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5 Star Coatings provides numerous products and services, such as Media Blasting, Powder Coating, and Zycoat Thermal Coating, to the automotive community. They also offer Media Retail Sales with multiple types available, including Metal Media, Aluminum Oxide, Copper Slag, and Dustless Glass Media.”

Furthermore, they explained that pretty much anything that is a metal can be coated. The metal must be thoroughly blasted, and all paint, oils, and grime eliminated. Different parts, like automotive frames, rims, tool boxes, step bars, headache racks, grill guards, bumpers, intakes, hood hinges, door handles, and more, can also be processed. Furthermore, they keep up to 200 different colors in stock, and special colors can also be ordered. The variety enables them to color match your vehicle. Another process, Zycoat Thermal Coating, is a coating that can hold out against high heat. It is designed for exhaust and other high-temperature pieces. Available colors for this coating are black, bronze, and silver.

Of course, all businesses run into hard times now and again, and the pandemic tops the current list of issues that have recently given healthy businesses a blow. Troy, Traci, and the crew were also affected by this. Prior to the pandemic in 2020, the two shops ran 18 and 24 hours a day. Since then, only one location and one shift is operational for approximately 9 to 11 hours, Monday through Friday. As they stated: “It has been tough and continues to be tough. One obstacle after another.” Despite all these difficulties, Troy and Traci maintain a strong relationship and support each other. As Traci explained: ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 21


“I am very thankful that Troy and I support each other. Usually, if one of us is discouraged, the other one steps up and takes the lead. Each of us has been on both sides of this, but we’ve never both been discouraged at the same time. I am very thankful that at least one of us has stayed positive and maintained the determination needed to succeed. We are both pretty determined people. We celebrate and share the good times, then sacrifice and evolve through the bad.” The family business has a great name and reputation in the community. They are known to offer some of the best automotive coating services in the Big Country. So, if you are ever in need of their services or more information. Give 5 Star Coatings a visit at 4850 S 3rd St., Abilene, TX 79605, or call at (325) 695-2691. You can also visit their website at www.5starcoating.com.

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Since owning the business, Traci and Troy have worked intensely, accompanied by their children and loyal, hardworking employees. Together, they have all helped the business flourish.”




OSCAR ABILA IN OUR MEMORIES & HEARTS FOREVER

A E ATT TTR E E R W E ’S R W A ’S C R S A O C T S A O T A LLD U D O U W O E W W E E W IK L E U IK O L Y U O Y IA!! ILIA MIL AM R FFA UR OU ATT O TTR EA RE

MOLE PLATE

IF YOU DON’T KNOW OSCAR’S, THAN YOU DON’T KNOW MEXICAN FOOD! Oscar’s Mexican Restaurant #2 5125 Buffalo Gap Rd. Abilene, TX 79606

(325) 232-8970 Monday to Saturday: 8am-9pm Sunday: 8am-7pm


LOVE TEXT BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MAWSON

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AT


FIRST SIGHT 50 YEARS AGO, BOBBY GREEN BOUGHT HIS DREAM CAR AND MARRIED THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE

ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 27


ABILENE, TX - If you’re wise, you know that 99% of the time relationships, feelings, and community are more valuable than any material object. The other 1% is just reserved for those exceptional things that have been in families for generations and are an integral part of our memories. After living in Abilene for more than half a century, Bobby Green still considers this place a calmer version of big cities, with a deeper sense of community and social customs. And a comparison coming from him is as credible as one can be because his family spent many years in other cities, including Austin, Texas, before finally moving here. He attended three different high schools before graduating from Cooper High School.

One more thing that everyone in the family has in common is their love for Bobby’s gorgeous 68’ Dodge Charger. Bobby got hooked on fast cars and drag racing after the first time he sat in a hotrod back in the 60s.”

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As a father of four girls, grandpa to a bunch of grandkids, and husband to a beautiful wife, Bobby has always felt blessed for the life he has lived. The family has the strongest of bonds because they don’t just spend time together at home but at work too, as they have owned a successful family-run bakery called McKay’s Bakery, formerly known as Virginia Lee Pie Shop, for several years. His daughters now run the family business, which is located in downtown Abilene. The reasons for their harmony do not end here. They also share a passion for traveling, classic cars and motorcycles — some of their favorite hobbies!


One more thing that everyone in the family has in common is their love for Bobby’s gorgeous 68’ Dodge Charger. Bobby got hooked on fast cars and drag racing after the first time he sat in a hotrod back in the 60s. That was his favorite era for cars too! He bought his 68’ Dodge Charger on June 26th, 1970, the day before his wedding. He knew he couldn’t miss the opportunity, as life was bound to change after marriage. He proudly says, “I have had the same car and lovely wife for over 50 years.” Bobby was mistaken to think that cars would not be a big part of their family life after they got married. Everyone loves the Charger, and the family has utilized it for road trips, vacations, and even races. He has competed on the race tracks at Green Valley Raceway in North Richland Hills, Penwell Knights Raceway (now known as the Caprock Motorplex in Odessa), and the Big Country Race Way here in Abilene. His fastest time is 10.80 and a top speed of 128 mph. The beast never let him down.

Bobby is an avid racer, so the Charger’s gears and rear end have been modified several times. It has had 410 and even 456 ratio gears for events, but now it has a 354. The heart of the vehicle is where it excels. Upgraded from a stock 375hp/440ci V8 engine, it now has a 525ci Hemi that produces 700hp!”

ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 29


There is a hilarious story that happened over 50 years ago. It took a lot longer to finish the paperwork than he thought to buy his dream car. On the day the couple were supposed to get their marriage license, Bobby decided to get the car first and surprise his future wife. When Bobby went to pick up Dianne, her dad said, “If you don’t get that marriage license, you can’t get married. If they deliver those flowers tomorrow, we are going to use them for a wedding or a funeral.” This is something that they all still laugh and joke about today!

The 68’ Dodge Charger is completely restored and in immaculate condition. It is also one of the most sought-after hotrods in the country and it costs a pretty penny to get your hands on one of these beauties. Bobby says buying classic cars is always a good investment! However, he believes this car’s actual significance is all the memories he has made with his family.

Now, setting sentiment aside, we’re excited to share some facts that left us pretty amazed. Bobby is an avid racer, so the Charger’s gears and rear end have been modified several times. It has had 410 and even 456 ratio gears for events, but now it has a 354. The heart of the vehicle is where it excels. Upgraded from a stock 375hp/440ci V8 engine, it now has a 525ci Hemi that produces 700hp! Those numbers are insane for something that still has a pristine and stock-looking exterior and interior. It has the stock wheels, but they are a little wider. A friend of Bobby’s, Don Vito, fixed everything on the uni-body as well. After that, Bobby and another one of his buddies, Mark Fault, fixed everything on the car, including every nut, bolt, and screw.

When Bobby went to pick up Dianne, her dad said, “If you don’t get that marriage license, you can’t get married. If they deliver those flowers tomorrow, we are going to use them for a wedding or a funeral.” This is something that they all still laugh and joke about today!”

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BEYOND EXPECTATIONS TEXT BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ | PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MAWSON

ABILENE, TX - Everyone experiences adversity in life and business, and Leslie Sepeda is no exception. As the owner of a premium car care center in Abilene, Texas, USA, Leslie is an experienced entrepreneur who is well accustomed to the trials and tribulations of running a business. Originally from New Braunfels, Texas, Leslie moved to Abilene about 19 years ago. She started her business, Abilene Auto Spa, in 2006. This is after she left her job at a car detailing shop. She had been interested in the car care industry from an early age. She expressed those feelings here: “Of course, I kept my car clean. You know, I always keep it clean. I waxed it on the weekends, I made that car shiny, and I loved doing that. I worked at a detail shop here in town. I saw a lot of things that could’ve been done better, but I couldn’t make those decisions because I was only an employee. But one of the business accounts they had was a car dealership, and the owner of that dealership asked me, ‘Why not do this on your own? Why not open up your own business? You know, you’re very professional; you treat me the way I am supposed to be treated. And I’ll be your first account.’” That is how it all started. That conversation was the first time she ever thought about being a business owner. Today, Leslie credits Scott Sims, the owner of Freedom Motors in Abilene, for igniting her entrepreneurial mindset. He was the one who pushed her to start her own business.

LESLIE SEPEDA HAD TO OVERCOME MANY OBSTACLES 34 ISSUE 6 | ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE TO GET ABILENE AUTO SPA WHERE IT IS TODAY


Leslie left her job to start her car detailing business with less than $100, which she used to buy the chemicals and supplies needed to kick start things. From those humble beginnings, she has managed to grow her business to be recognized as the premier car care center in the Big Country.

Being a woman in a predominantly male-dominated space has not been a walk in the park for Leslie. When she first opened her business, she faced many challenges, as she explains:

Abilene Auto Spa, formerly known as Abilene Detailing Center, provides various car care services, including; car restoration, ceramic coating, dent repair, and detailing. As Leslie kindly shared with us:

“After my first three months in business, I got vandalized. There were five vehicles that were vandalized, with $10,000 in damage. And it was by competitors because they didn’t like what I was doing. So, they came in and did some damage to the vehicles. I almost threw in the towel, but then I thought about it and decided, the heck with that; I am not going to get bullied. So, I persevered and didn’t give up.”

“We offer a variety of automotive detailing services that include interior detail, exterior detail, headlight restoration, hail damage repair, minor dent removal, door dings removal, automotive paint touch ups, and more. We also install ceramic coatings by Feynlab. I’m an authorized installer for Feynlab, and I am also an authorized installer for Surface Protective Solutions.”

After that ordeal, Leslie mentioned that her story was aired on the local news channel, which helped her business a lot, especially in terms of her customer base. She managed to get more clients and support from the community, most of whom were women from Abilene. This just goes to show how community awareness, unity, and support can go a long way in helping someone through difficult times.


Leslie also maintains close relationships with her employees, who have always been loyal to her and provided their best work. She considers them part of her family and instrumental in the exponential growth of her business over the years. She said: “I have a great team, from my techs to my bookkeeper and financial advisor. They all mean a lot to me. They’re like my family. I see my techs five days a week, 8 to 10 hours a day. So, I see them more than my family. They’re my work family, and we take care of each other. We all have each other’s backs.” Leslie also mentions that she has a lot of loyal customers and repeat buyers who have always supported her business, helping it grow. She is very appreciative of them.

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Her company has now also expanded their detailing services to motorcycles, RVs, boats, semi-trucks, and watercraft. “When it comes to my clientele, I go above and beyond, and many of them are repeat customers. A lot of them are getting automotive details or ceramic coatings for their entire family. Like the husband, wife, and kid all get their vehicles serviced here with either a coating or detail. Now, ceramic coatings are becoming a family favorite. First, they all get it for their cars. Then, when they see the results, they are like, ‘let’s get the boat done too.” My clients appreciate the quality and know it is going to be phenomenal. That’s why they keep coming back to Abilene Auto Spa.”


The pandemic affected many small businesses around the world, including Abilene Auto Spa. However, Leslie handled it by not only balancing her own company but also helping many others. When asked about the pandemic, Leslie had this to say: “It hurt us for a good six months when Texas had to shut down. I had to let some of the staff go, but me and my office manager at the time did some brainstorming, and we decided to run an interior special. We thought, ‘Why not help these nurses who have to go to work, these people who are delivering food? Why not give them a nice clean car with a service that also kills bacteria, germs, and viruses?’ So, we offered an interior special with a free disinfectant treatment that guarantees 90-day protection. So that individual’s car was protected for 90 days. That’s what I did, and it felt good to help others.” Leslie’s company helped to disinfect car interiors and protect essential workers from the contagious virus. She wanted to protect every person who had to go to work, like nurses, police officers, and other first responders. This shows how selfless Leslie is; even in her most difficult moments, she was able to support the community and find ways to help fight the pandemic. Leslie is also very charitable in her community; she mentions that she gives back to her community as often as possible, as she will do this year. “I love to donate and support any way I can. I donate to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Association, Ben Richey Boys Ranch, West Texas Rehab, and Clay Shoots. I’m always doing something, and I’m always donating to great non profit organizations like the West Texas Rehab’s silent auction. This year, we will have a car show in conjunction with Big Country Mopar, and we will contribute money to the Children’s Miracle Network and Hunters for Heroes. That’s coming up in September, and we’re going to do it on 9/11. I am very excited about that!”

The pandemic affected many small businesses around the world, including Abilene Auto Spa. However, Leslie handled it by not only balancing her own company but also helping many others. ” ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 37


At Abilene Auto Spa, Leslie and her employees use three kinds of products: Feynlab, Surface Protective Solutions, and Opti-Coat. She is an authorized and certified user of these products in Texas. She has undergone rigorous training and courses on how to use them professionally. Speaking more about these products, Leslie said: “I’ve been a veteran installer for Feynlab since 2016. I believe in the product, and I’ve done three training seminars with them. Two of their representatives came here and demonstrated more effective ways to use their products. I went to their training facility in Houston. I believe in continuing education, and Feynlab continues to raise the bar. I think it’s the best coating in the world. This year, I will meet the owner and will pick his brain. I am definitely looking forward to that. Surface Protective Solutions has some great products too. They specialize in graphene coating. Which is a very good coating, especially for sports cars.”

Leslie left her job to start her car detailing business with less than $100, which she used to buy the chemicals and supplies needed to kick start things. From those humble beginnings, she has managed to grow her business to be recognized as the premier car care center in the Big Country.” 38 ISSUE 6 | ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE

If you are ever in need of car care services in the Big Country area, Abilene Auto Spa will be glad to assist you. They offer numerous services that include; car detailing, paintless dent removal, Feynlab ceramic coating, and Feynlab glass coating. You can reach them by phone to set an appointment at (325) 692-1688. You can also visit them today at 4250 Burl Harris Dr., Abilene, TX 79602. They would love to help you! All businesses start with some challenges and uncertainty. Likewise, Leslie Sepeda started her business with almost nothing in hand. She faced vandalism, and bullies as a new business owner. Those obstacles only made her stronger. Through it all, she kept her head up and didn’t give up. That is why Abilene Auto Spa is now one of the premier auto care businesses in the Big Countvry area today.



15 ANNUAL ALBANY TH

EVERY YEAR A CLASSIC CAR SHOW BRINGS AMAZING CARS AND VISITORS TO ALBANY, TEXAS

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CLASSIC CAR SHOW TEXT BY JOSH SMITH | PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MAWSON

ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 41


ALBANY, TX - Car museums and car shows make the best memories for car lovers, and the annual classic car show in downtown Albany, TX, now in its 18th year, has the best of both worlds. Indeed, there are not many classic car shows with the longevity of this yearly event. Initially, the show got off to a slow start. It was not until its 7th year that it began to emerge as a well-attended and anticipated community event. Things took off from there with the help of the Albany Chamber of Commerce and an individual named Wayne Burrow, who was well known in the area, especially in the automotive community. He managed to use his contacts to help get the event going. In the early years of the event, there was an average of 30 to 40 cars. Now, the event boasts close to 100 participants every year. Robert Synder, a primary organizer, shared a bit of the event’s history:

Car museums and car shows make the best memories for car lovers, and the annual classic car show in downtown Albany, TX, now in its 18th year, has the best of both worlds. Indeed, there are not many classic car shows with the longevity of this yearly event. ”

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“At first, the car show had a slow takeoff. For a few years, it was kind of rocky. Where weather affects the event, it has rained out. Over the years, it has matured to a decent show for a small town. It seems like everyone that comes to the show likes it. There appear to be many visitors who come back every year.” In 2016, Wayne Burrow passed away from a tragic accident that claimed both his life and the life of his dear wife, Janie Burrow. In honor of the late Wayne and Janie Burrow, the “Wayne and Janie Award,” is awarded every year in their memory. Robert Synder had this to say about the award: “We do a Wayne and Janie Award for them because they had such an impact on me and just about everyone. We try to find someone that is enthusiastic like them and has a car that fits their style.”


It takes a substantial amount of work to set up and prepare for the event every year, which requires a large workforce. Many people volunteer to help, which is a significant factor behind the event’s success. Robert also mentioned many of the people who return every year to volunteer their time and energy: “It takes a lot of people to help put an event like this together every year. It would be hard to name everyone and I would hate to leave anyone out, but here are a few of the names that come to mind right now; Donnie Anderson, Ronnie Anderson, Billy Boland, Tommy Sullivan, Billy Darnell, Carl Lucas, Randy Hays, Matt Birkla, KC Hemley, Donna Balliew, and Maggie Anderson. Our volunteers help with the burnout, judging, cooking, registration, setting up tables, chairs, and whatever it takes to have a great car show.” The annual event also gets amazing support from the community and several event sponsors like First National Bank, Eagle Auto Parts, and more.

In 2016, Wayne Burrow passed away from a tragic accident that claimed both his life and the life of his dear wife, Janie Burrow. In honor of the late Wayne and Janie Burrow, the “Wayne and Janie Award,” is awarded every year in their memory. ”

This year’s car show was held on Saturday, April 16, 2022, in downtown Albany, Texas, beginning at 8:00 am. The entry fee was $20 for participants showcasing their vehicle. There were over 25 classes of cars on display. There were awards, including cash prizes, for cars and trucks that won. On Friday, April 15th, the evening before the event, the Burnout Contest ran from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in preparation and anticipation for the next day. The prizes for the Burnout Contest were numerous, from door prizes to goodie bags and giveaways.

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The Flying A Museum is a well-renowned non-profit classic car museum in Albany. It was opened by the car show organizers for the Annual Classic Car Show, Robert Snyder, along with two brothers, Donnie and Ronnie Anderson. It is free for the public to access and view their favorite classic cars. Today, the museum is open almost every Saturday from noon to 5pm. Randy Hays played a huge role in the upkeep of the museum and was there every Saturday for over eight years. Opened in 2012, the museum displays cars, signs, and gas pumps from the 1950s-70s. It is also where pre-car show events like the car burnouts and car cruise happen, and the burger meals are cooked and served there to keep spectators well fed. All sales are also donated to the non-profit Flying A Museum. The Annual Albany Classic Car Show has become a cultural heritage event for the residents of the small town, especially the classic car lovers. It is an occasion that unites people and has helped attract visitors to the community for close to 20 years.

The Annual Albany Classic Car Show has become a cultural heritage event for the residents of the small town, especially the classic car lovers. It is an occasion that unites people and has helped attract visitors to the community for close to 20 years.”

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RIDING ON THE ROAD OF FAITH WHETHER IT’S RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL OR RUNNING HIS AUTO BUSINESS, JAMES SARGENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN LED BY FAITH TEXT BY JOSH SMITH | PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MAWSON

ABILENE, TX - God gave humankind intelligence and free choice; it is up to us to use these gifts wisely in the context of our environments. Whether it’s the luxuries of a life of ease or a route so arduous we might all view it with apprehension. James Sargent is a man whose life was not easy growing up. But with faith and a strong spirit he overcame the trauma of a tough upbringing. Today, he credits his past with helping him become a loving father, husband, and most recently, community leader.

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He was born and raised on the beach side of the Gulf of Mexico, south of Houston, Texas. James later moved to Abilene, when he served in the military and was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base. James had a very difficult childhood. His father was an abusive alcoholic, and his mother also suffered from addiction. He did not have a healthy relationship with his parents, and his life at home wasn’t what any child should have to go through. He explains:


“There were inherent risks and safety of life concerns frequently living at home with my dad. So much so that, as I got into my teen years, it was safer for me (at times) to stay and sleep on the streets in cardboard boxes and behind buildings or in culverts than it was in that house.” Nevertheless, despite all the challenges he faced, he came to understand that focusing on what he had to be grateful for was far better than dwelling on the negative aspects of life for the rest of one’s days. He decided to end the family’s cycle of abuse and offer his family a better example than he’d had when growing up. James is a spiritual person who has put his past behind him and is working hard to better himself, others, and the community. He states:

“God can make me a new creation. Someone that encourages others and speaks life into them through challenging times. A person that breaks down barriers and walks with other men facing hard times. Who is not afraid to stand against the odds in life. Someone that will stand up for what is right. Who can relate to those who have felt overlooked and unloved.” His wife, Keavy Sargent, is the source of his happiness. They have been blessed with two daughters; their eldest daughter just turned 18 and is preparing to start her college journey. While their youngest daughter, who was brought to the family about a year ago through a foster agency, is about to turn 5.

James is the owner of Auto Aide Repair in Abilene, Texas. He calls his business a “faith and family” friendly establishment. The whole family works together, with their other employees, to get the jobs done. The strength of this family is that they all are welded together through similar interests and support each other no matter what.”

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The couple also share similar interests that include their love for Jesus Christ, dogs, food, traveling, and, most importantly, cars and motorcycles. His wife also has a passion for motorcycles. In fact, she purchased one in 2004. She is a certified welder, and when she’s not busy helping others at her job that is in the health field. She is lending a hand at the shop. Currently, she’s repairing the rusting body of a 1968 Mustang and creating unique frames for a non-profit ministry, supported by her husband’s assistance and their shared enthusiasm for the work. All of this shows their family’s passion for helping others any way they can.

James is the owner of Auto Aide Repair in Abilene, Texas. He calls his business a “faith and family” friendly establishment. The whole family works together, with their other employees, to get the jobs done. The strength of this family is that they all are welded together through similar interests and support each other no matter what. In 2014, the repair business officially opened its doors as Abilene’s full-service garage. The self-service option was ultimately discontinued, and the name was later changed to Auto Aide Repair in 2021. James claims that his faith in God and his family’s fondness for cars and bikes are the reasons he started this entire enterprise. He developed an interest in vehicle maintenance because of memories of his father working on a vintage CJ-7 renegade truck in the 1980s. Moreover, he states:


His wife, Keavy Sargent, is the source of his happiness. They have been blessed with two daughters; their eldest daughter just turned 18 and is preparing to start her college journey. While their youngest daughter, who was brought to the family about a year ago through a foster agency, is about to turn 5.” “Helping members in the community inspired me. Providing that learning opportunity for others that I did not have growing up. To continue to learn and develop my skills in the automotive world and have a positive impact on those around me.” James’ company is up and running as a result of the community’s support and his efforts to help them in any way he can. James talks about his staff as if they were his own family. Discussing how they support one another and operate as a team, he states: “Auto Aide Repair’s office manager for over 2.5 years is Mrs. Cara Tentzer, a mighty woman of God and a tremendous blessing to us and to anyone she comes in contact with.

Cara has truly taught me that grace is a strength. Our all-around shop guy is Mr. Jeff Joye, who has been with us for several months now. Jeff is full of wisdom and life experiences and works toward excellence in anything he commits to do. There is no task I’ve seen Jeff back down from or walk away from.” They recently welcomed a new team member, Greg Florez. Greg is a hard-working young man who brings a broad toolbox of skills and experience to their team. One of the things that James honors and respects about Greg is that, even though he is the newest and youngest member of the team, he is invested in Auto Aide Repair — not just for the business side of the shop, but the family, community, and ministry focus as well. ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 51


One of Jame’s greatest achievements in his community work is his running for the city council. The military man read about all of the country’s founding documents, including the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence before running for office. He quotes Aristotle as his inspiration: “Justice, therefore, demands that no one should do more ruling than being ruled, but that all should have their turn.” Considering this idea from Aristotle, James looked at the issue of local government with the same thought and found flaws to be fixed. He and his wife knew that he’d run for city council at some point in life. James did not win the election but had a great campaign and support from the community as a 1st time candidate. Which got a lot of attention from the local media. He says that it was a very educational experience. Furthermore, he adds, “My wife and I will continue in prayer if I should run again or not.” James has always had a burning desire to give back to the community. Over the years, he has bought several automobiles and fixed them up to give them to those in need. He rebuilt the whole engine of a minivan and donated it to a church. The van is still used to transport orphans and other children in need of shelter and food. According to James, “that is the kind of impact that makes the struggle worth it.” In addition to everything else, he and his wife’s shared passion for motorcycles has caused them to become inseparable as they travel the backroads on their 1998 Harley Heritage Softail and 2005 Honda VTX1300 motorcycles. When James purchased his first motorcycle in 2000, he developed a love for riding and was constantly inspired by his uncle, who rode a 1971 Harley Ironhead. James says: “My first official ride on the Ironhead was on my wedding day. As we left the Chapel, my wife and I were on our bikes.

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I even had an oil stain on the inside of the jeans I wore at the wedding because I had to work on the bike in the morning to get it to run.” Today, James has his head up high and is devoted to God’s glory. His business is running with the support of the community, daily effort from his staff and support of his family as well. Which he says are blessings that he never overlooks or takes for granted.

He decided to end the family’s cycle of abuse and offer his family a better example than he’d had when growing up. James is a spiritual person who has put his past behind him and is working hard to better himself, others, and the community.”


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THE ART OF

THE CRUISE ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE GOES ON A CRUISE WITH BIG COUNTRY C10 CLUB TEXT BY JOSH SMITH

ABILENE, TX - They say that California was the birthplace of the automotive artistry known as a cruise, but there is no way to prove this theory. To be honest, there have always been groups of teens, adults, both young and older who enjoy flaunting their cars and bikes on the highways across America. Receiving a license is like receiving a passport for wide roads and freedom from parental oversight.

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PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MAWSON

For many generations, adolescents have looked forward to turning 16 and proudly showing off their carefree lifestyle to their friends. When muscle cars, with their powerful V-8 engines and rumbling noises that made mirrors vibrate, first arrived on the scene in the mid 1950s to early 1960s, everything changed. People developed a brand-new enthusiasm for automobiles, and they began taking road trips in their muscle cars.


A cruise is a gathering of people who love their motor vehicles, including motorcycles, classic cars, hot rods, restomods (restored and modified), and pretty much anything with wheels and a motor. It’s a great way to meet other enthusiasts, and it’s an activity that is done all over the world, including regularly among car groups in West Texas. In the Big Country area, the car cruises are usually organized by local car groups like Big Country Car Clubs, or the local car clubs; Zero Royalty, Keepers Car Club, Texas Roadrunners, Last Chance Car Club, Big Country C10 Club, Royalty Car Club, Key City Truckers, and Big Country Mopar, to name a few. On the morning of Saturday, April 16th, the Big Country C10 Club members met at the Allsup’s gas station on Highway 351 in Abilene, TX. There were preparations for the 15th Annual Albany Classic Car Show that was taking place downtown in Albany, Texas. At the gas station, the club members talked and prepped their vehicles for the car show. Then, they lined up in two rows before heading to the car show in Albany. One week after the car show, we had the pleasure of speaking to Steve Longmire, a member of the Big Country C10 Club. He shared a bit about the event, his experiences, and what it means to him personally to cruise to the event with his club. He shared this with us: “Well, you know, part of having a hot rod is driving it. When you build it, you take pride in it being mechanically sound. So, we all get together and go on cruises. That morning we all traveled to the car show. All 12 of us met with our old pickup trucks and cruised to Albany, Texas, to support the amazing event that those guys put on out there. It was a great feeling being there with the guys and getting to see the look of joy on everybody’s faces when they get to drive their truck.”

On the morning of Saturday, April 16th, the Big Country C10 Club members met at the Allsup’s gas station on Highway 351 in Abilene, TX. There were preparations for the 15th Annual Albany Classic Car Show that was taking place downtown in Albany, Texas.”

ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 55


Those are memories that last forever. For me, driving a little truck is stress relief. Especially, when I am recuperating from a hectic week at work, there is nothing like going down the road in a 50- or 60-year-old truck to make you feel better, especially when you’ve worked on it and brought it back to life.” To some people, car clubs are like a close-knit family that looks out for each other. We spoke with Bonnie Scott, the Club Secretary for the Texas Roadrunners Car Club in Hawley, Texas. She described how members of her car club assist each other and provide support for each other on cruises. She said:

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“Other than the fact that we like to eat together and cruise together, we decided on the first cruise that no one gets left behind. We drive at the speed of the slowest car, so if anyone has a car problem, someone stays back and helps them. No one has to have a finished car to join the club. We are a very inclusive, laid-back social club.” To the naked eye, car cruises may look like a bunch of cars following each other on the highway, but to the people driving those vehicles, they are much more than that. They represent a common bond between men and women who take pride in the vehicles they drive. On cruises, they finally get a chance to reap the rewards of long nights they spent in the garage by getting out on those Texas roads.

In the Big Country area, the car cruises are usually organized by local car groups like Big Country Car Clubs, or the local car clubs; Zero Royalty, Keepers Car Club, Texas Roadrunners, Last Chance Car Club, Big Country C10 Club, Royalty Car Club, Key City Truckers, and Big Country Mopar, to name a few.” ABILENE MOTORS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 6 57




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