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INSIDE Pride and joy: Readers show us their rides Restored, vintage or custom: Find out what it takes Monsters: Truck shows bring in the fans, some for a good cause

Truckonomics With truck manufacturers keeping the economy in mind, saving money at the pump has never looked so rugged BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

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rucks have long possessed the capabilities to haul, tow and thunder down the road. Do you need a vehicle that will carry loads of rock, dirt or debris? Get a truck. Maybe you just like the feeling of driving a little bit higher off the ground? Get a truck. But if you need a vehicle that will save you some money at the gas pump, maybe you should look elsewhere.

Throughout this section, you’ll see selected photos of trucks sent in by our readers. Go to www.thesouthern.com/ JustTrucks to view all the photographs we received.

Not so fast, say local truck dealers. Truck companies have worked hard over the years to buck that gas-guzzling stereotype and establish their products as fuel-friendly modes of transportation. New engines, body overhauls and technological advances have kept trucks ahead of the curve. “Truck buyers are a very large percentage of our buyers,” said Larry Sherertz, with Cash’s Baker Chevrolet Cadillac in Marion. “They are so versatile, and there is a lot of room in them. And, of course, the increased fuel economy has gotten to a point that is very customer-friendly.” Cash’s Baker has had an extended-cab, plug-in hybrid truck since 2007, and the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty won the coveted Motor Trend Truck of the Year award. A shift from Chevy’s old fuel-injector system to electric injectors has helped improve the new Silverado’s fuel efficiency. “They’re always twisting things around a little bit to make things better,” Sherertz said. “The latest is the advanced fuel economy. They’re always trying to improve that. They’re always trying to meet or exceed the government ratings or go along with the guidelines that come out. They try hard to stay as green as possible.”

Truckonomics: Read more on Page 2F.


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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

Patience, pride and plenty of money That’s what it takes to customize a pickup BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

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rt Brown’s pride and joy sat untouched in a building on his son’s property for more than 15 years. The 1970 Chevrolet C-10 was tired. It was a workhorse truck in the oil fields for many years and had twice been hobbled by blown motors, not to mention a ton of miles. But when Brown retired in 2001, he told his wife it was time to treat his truck — and himself — to a total restoration and customization. He brought the truck back to his house, took it apart down to the frame and went to work on it. So much for that retirement. “It was a lot of work,” said the 70-year-old Ridgway resident. “The whole process took about 2 or 2½ years.” Brown and his son installed a 12-inch, highrise manifold, an all-electric ignition and two Edelbrock carburetors. The outside features a hunter green paint job with silver stripes, and the inside boasts new door panels and a new dashboard. These features, along with many more improvements, are what helped turn the beater into a beauty. “I paid $3,800 for the truck in 1972,” Brown said. “The motor was blown in it, and my father-in-law was a mechanic at the Chevy shop in town. GM put a new motor in it, and I bought it. I drove it for quite a while. My son and I went to pumping oil wells in the fields and, well, we just took it wherever we wanted to go.” One of Brown’s favorite touches to the truck is the half-inch red Oak flooring that replaced the original metal floor. “I got the wood from a local lumber supplier,” he recalled. “Then I finished it with six coats of stain. It’s sharp-looking.” Brown has won more than 50 awards since he began showing his truck at local events. A fan of auto shows for many years, Brown actually started his own fundraising event five years ago to benefit his town’s fire department for which he volunteers. The show always takes place on the last Sunday in September and draws an average of 125 vehicles per year. “I enjoy people coming up and looking at it and asking questions,” Brown said. “It’s got the old threespeed on the column and a lot of people come up and say, ‘My dad used to have a truck like this. I wish I would have kept it.’ I tell them that I had a ’65 convertible I wish I would have kept, too.” Brown has had chances to sell the truck, but he has put in too much work to let go of his prized possession. He says anyone who has restored and customized a truck can appreciate his loyalty. As for people looking to delve into the art of restoration, Brown offers this advice: “Do not get in a hurry. You don’t necessarily have to buy all original parts for your truck. There are so many places on the Internet that you can find parts. I bet I called 35 or 40 companies to see about their parts. I’ve ordered parts from California, Kansas City, Missouri and Florida. Most of them will send you free catalogs, too.” And what about the money side of restoration? “Oh yeah,” he said, laughing. “Save up lots of it. I told somebody the last time I checked I had two coffee cans full of bills.”

‘The finer details’ Clyde Shafer of Metropolis agrees with Brown. He says patience is key. “What I’ve always told everybody when you go to redo something is to take one particular place or job and work on that until it is finished,” said the original owner of a 1977 Chevrolet Scottsdale. “Then you find something else that needs work. You don’t stand back and try to make it look good all at one time. It’s all in the finer details.” Shafer’s frame-off restoration started in 1998 and took about one year to complete. He chromed out his engine, installed mirror panels under the hood and replaced or re-did every part on the truck. The process came easily to Shafer, who taught automotive classes for 31 years at Shawnee Community College before retiring last year. “I’ve been around vehicles all my life,” he said. “It’s

funny, we didn’t really restore it thinking it was going to be a show vehicle. We needed it to pull a boat and things like that. But we took it to a show and won best of show right off the bat.” Shafer and his wife, Trish, drive the Scottsdale to every show instead of the more common method of trailer-hauling. “After people find out that we drive the truck everywhere instead of keeping it in a trailer, they will say, ‘I don’t know how you keep it looking that good,’” Clyde said. “And I tell them it doesn’t just stay looking good. You have to work on it.” The Shafers sure practice what they preach when it comes to hard work. “We get to a show at about 8 a.m., and it takes us until noon to get everything finished,” Trish said. “We both have our cleaning jobs before the show. We drive the truck to all the shows, so even if we clean it at home before the show, we still have to clean it again when we get there.” Trish has taken pictures of every vehicle at every show the Shafers have attended for the last 10 years. She prints the photos and arranges them in binders by shows and dates, and also helps make flyers for the events, all to spend more time with Clyde. “Being with my husband is the best part,” she said. “There are a lot of women who never come to the shows or don’t want to get involved. He loves to do it, and I don’t want to be just sitting around at home while he’s at the shows.” Now that both of them are retired, the Shafers plan on spending even more time showing off their rich red Chevy — if that’s even possible. Clyde and Trish attend an average of 40 shows per summer. “The one thing I really enjoy about going to shows is the camaraderie that you get when you meet so many new people,” Trish said. “It lasts a lifetime. You get close to so many people, and before the car show season starts, we’ll all be e-mailing each other saying how we can’t wait to see each other again.”

TRUCKONOMICS: Today’s trucks are more fuel-efficient than ever FROM PAGE 1F

In another effort to help its cashstrapped consumer base, many automobile companies are offering Ford’s F-150, the nation’s most generous incentives to keep sales strong popular-selling truck for 34 and customers happy. consecutive years, underwent an “With the 2010 models, you could get extensive makeover this year. Four allsix or seven thousand dollars in new engines — the 3.7-liter V6, 5-liter incentives,” Weshinskey said. “Now you V8, 6.2-liter V8 and 3.5-liter V6 that can get three or five thousand. That’s uses Ford’s EcoBoost twin-turbo system — were designed to help drivers what people are looking for.” Sherertz agrees that incentives have get more money out of their miles. The helped boost business in Marion. He new engines, to go along with the said families looking to implement a truck’s industrial look, have made it a truck payment into their monthly popular choice for buyers nationwide. budgets need to take into consideration And Southern Illinois is no different. all aspects of purchasing a new vehicle. “They’ve just got a great service “Depreciation is a lot less on trucks record,” said Kern Weshinskey, sales than cars,” he said. “With all of the manager at Vogler Motor Company in things that trucks can do, it makes Carbondale. “It’s the engineering and the styling of it that people like. People them a very smart purchase for a lot of people in Southern Illinois. It just all who want a truck know the F-150 is depends on family needs and what they going to be a great truck.” In a time when many large companies can afford. With such a wide range of are waiting out the recession with cost- sizes and prices, a family can find cutting measures, Weshinskey has been whatever truck they need.” Only three miles west of Cash’s impressed by Ford’s dedication to Baker, George Lee is seeing great sales improving its fuel performance. But on trucks at Marion Toyota. The even the most fuel-efficient trucks Tacoma and the Tundra continue to be can’t be expected to overcome gas popular at the dealership because of prices that some experts say will their versatility and fuel-efficiency. continue to increase throughout 2011. Lee said fuel-efficiency is a popular “If gas goes up to five bucks a gallon, there aren’t too many vehicles that will selling-point for customers, but safety is even more so. accommodate that,” Weshinskey said.

“This year all of our trucks come with the 5-star safety system standard,” Lee said. “That includes the vehicle’s stability control, traction control, brake assistance, side air bags.” Mike Fiorenzi of Auffenberg Chrysler in Herrin said the safety features and overall dependability of the Dodge Ram and Dakota were the reasons that last year’s truck sales accounted for 63 percent of the dealership’s sales revenues. “A lot of people say that the Dodge Ram Diesel is the best diesel on the road,” he said. “It’s got the famous 5.7 hemi engine. Just all the different cabs and variations you can get with the Ram make it our most popular truck.” Even though gas mileage is improving in truck production, Fiorenzi says customers know what they’re getting when they buy a truck, especially a diesel. “I would say that most people who want to buy a big truck want them to pull a boat or something like that,” Fiorenzi said. “I don’t think gas mileage is really part of the equation. Most people don’t ask you about gas mileage when they’re looking for a bigger truck.” Gas mileage and trucks may not be the perfect pair, but as many Southern Illinois dealerships have seen, companies are making advances to find some common ground with consumers who are looking for any relief they can get.

Art Brown restored and customized his 1970 Chevrolet C-10 (top). ‘It was a lot of work,’ he said of the project. The bottom three photos show Clyde Shafer of Metropolis and his 1977 Scottsdale Chevy 4x4. Shafer shows off his 1977 Chevy Scottsdale 4x4 (bottom) on Sept. 12, during the Appletime Show and Shine car show at Murphysboro’s Riverside Park.

Running on fumes? Not splurging on a new truck this year? Some phone calls to local mechanics produced these tips on making your pick-up more fuel-efficient. Don’t buck the basics: It’s Truck 101 — if you take care of your truck, your truck will take care of you. Routinely changing your oil, along with your air and oil filters, will keep your truck running smoothly. Regular tune-ups will also lead to high-quality performance, keeping your fuel efficiency at topnotch. Treasure your treads: Your tires can have a big impact on your truck’s fuel efficiency. Making sure you have the correct size tire is an important factor, as larger tires can lead to decreased gas mileage. Always make sure your tires are aired up to the proper levels. Lighten the load: Reducing the weight that you are lugging around town will prove beneficial in the long run. Accessories like heavy bumpers or super-sized brush guards weigh down your truck and could negatively impact your truck’s performance. Cover up: The shape and design of truck beds disrupts the flow of air and can create gas-guzzling effects. Installing a truck bed cover will help keep the air from slowing down your truck and its fuel efficiency. — Joe Szynkowski


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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN

Dale Stearns lifts the hood of his 1955 Ford F-100 to reveal a fuel-injected 302 engine. Stearns’ shop competely renovated his 1955 Ford F-100 pickup truck.

‘We’ll do the small stuff like the mud flaps or the Nerf bars. But then we’ll also get the guys who come in and want everything done to their truck. Building is what I enjoy. The design and fabrication are the parts that are fun to me.’ DALE STEARNS, OWNER OF STEARNS SALES IN ENERGY

From the smallest parts to the biggest overhauls Stearns Sales in Energy has the goods to take care of your truck BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

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ang. Clank. Buzz. Those are the sounds of business at Stearns Sales in Energy, and business is good. The family-owned company opened in 2005 and sells car and truck accessories, performance parts, trailers and ATVs. “It’s been going pretty good over the years,” said co-owner and manager Jeff Stearns. “We’ve just kept continually growing.” Stearns Sales’ staff members don’t just sell products. They can custom lift a truck to the extreme or lower one to the ground. The business offers more than 700 different vendor lines, giving its customers plenty of options when purchasing anything from wheels and tires to powerful performance parts. But Stearns has really built its reputation on its ability to take trucks apart and put them back together again. “We’ll do the small stuff like

the mud flaps or the Nerf bars,” Stearns said. “But then we’ll also get the guys who come in and want everything done to their truck. Building is what I enjoy. The design and fabrication are the parts that are fun to me.” If you need proof of Stearns’ passion for truck reconstruction, look no further than the parking lot at his business, where three restored Dodge Rams are on display. Stearns morphed one of the Dodges — a 1997 Ram 1500 — into a 10-foot monster truck. “That’s a project that’s been going on for about two years,” Stearns said. “It’s got a completely custom suspension. We’ve done it all in the shop. It’s basically like a monster truck. We do competitions and mud bogs and stuff like that. And it’s funny, even though it’s so high off the ground, it does manage to get muddy. People don’t think it will but it gets pretty muddy.” The monster Dodge wasn’t the first truck Stearns Sales restored. The shop completely

Clyde Jolly of Stonefort submitted this photo of his 1998 International Eagle.

Frank Schemonia of Murphysboro submitted this photo of a 1978 Ford F150. The truck was white and rusty when he got it. He removed the bed, built a flat bed and repainted the cab.

Jack Taylor of West Frankfort submitted this photo of his 1985 Chevrolet Silerverado. It has 78,000 actual miles and is all original. He is the truck’s second owner.

re-did co-owner Dale Stearns’ 1955 Ford F-100 in an astounding seven months. “That kind of job would probably normally take three to five years,” said Dale Stearns, Jeff’s father. “I really wanted a ’56 Ford, but I bought this one up in Benton for $4,000. It only had one brake that worked on it. “It had an old transmission and motor in it. The interior had holes on every corner. It was not in good shape at all,” Dale said. “I always wanted to restore a truck but I didn’t have the talent to do it. My son, brother and nephew at the store did all of the work.” The truck was sand-blasted, acid-dipped, taken apart and put back together before being customized with a “sunset pearl orange” paint job. The only original part remaining on the truck is a front axle. The volume of work is what made the accomplishment such a special one to Jeff. “That was pretty much unreal,” he said. “We got pretty carried away on that one. We put a lot of late nights into that.

PAUL NEWTON / THE SOUTHERN

Stearns Sales in Energy worked on this 1997 Dodge last winter to turn it into a monster truck. The truck sits more than 4 feet off of the ground.

It basically had every nut and bolt replaced.” That kind of dedicated attention to detail is what Jeff Stearns promises to his customers. But he knows he couldn’t do it without his supporting cast.

“It’s pretty much all family at Stearns,” he said. “I’ve got two younger cousins who work for me. And then my dad, of course, and my uncles help out, too. Everybody’s just willing to chip in to keep everything running.”

1959 Chevy Apache 3100 owned by Don Marks of Marion.

Robert and Cindy Parks submitted this photo of a 1957 Chevy 3100 Stepside.

Billy Hall of Zeigler submitted this photo of a 2006 Ford F-150. He said the silver truck is a 4x4, with a 5.4 liter motor with 35+12.5 tires.

Shannon Withrow of Sims owns of this 1995 Peterbilt 379.

T.J. Rutherford of Carterville submitted this photo his Ford F-150 Short Bed. He purchased the truck new in 1992 from Marion Ford. It has 332,000 miles with the orginal V8 engine and four-speed automatic transmission. ‘Nothing ever trailored and no heavy loads hauled,’ he said.


THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

PAUL NEWTON / THE SOUTHERN

This 1931 Model A milk truck is on display in the lobby of the Robert N. Brewer Family Foundation in Herrin.

Vintage milk truck delivers ‘wow factor’ in Herrin BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

P

eople who walk past the Robert N. Brewer Family Foundation in Herrin have been known to stop, stare and strike up a conversation with staff members about this truck. The 1931 Model A milk truck that sits in the building’s lobby is quite a sight, but it is what the red and white classic represents that makes it one of a kind. Brewer’s son, Denver, restored the truck and gave it to him for a Father’s Day present

in the mid-1990s. “We get a lot of comments,” said Marie DeLaney, the foundation’s secretary and treasurer. “People that see it come in a lot of times off the streets to find out more about it. It’s such a unique truck.” The foundation awards college scholarships to Herrin and Marion high school graduates who have maintained at least a “C” grade-point average. Preference is given to students with financial need. “Those are the basic

‘We get a lot of comments. People that see it come in a lot of times off the streets to find out more about it. It’s such a unique truck. MARIE DELANEY, SECRETARY AND TREASURER OF THE ROBERT N. BREWER FAMILY FOUNDATION

requirements and we also are looking for students who have a good, hard work ethic,” DeLaney said. That’s where the milk truck comes in. Brewer began delivering milk to Herrin residents when he was in sixth grade, spending a bulk of

his childhood waking up each morning at 3 a.m. seven days a week. Later in life, the self-made millionaire founded America’s Best Inns and a management company. He also established the Encore Development Co. to create quality housing

for seniors. And even 10 years after his death, Brewer continues to give back to his community through his foundation that has awarded college scholarships to 389 students. “The truck is a huge symbol to the kids when they come into the office to find out how to obtain scholarships,” DeLaney said. “We’re very proud of it. Along with the truck, we’ve got several different symbols here that pay tribute to Mr. Brewer’s past.” DeLaney, who began

working with Brewer in 1980, said her longtime employer would be proud of how the foundation has grown over the years. “I will never meet another man in my lifetime that could walk behind him, let alone fill his shoes,” she said. “There are a lot of people out there who have the ability to give back, but for whatever reason, they choose not to. Mr. Brewer was the opposite. He worked very hard, but very smart and was very passionate about giving back.”

‘Big Elvis’ has a whole lotta love for his Chevrolet truck BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

The voicemail greeting on his cell phone ends, “Thank you, thank you very much.” He channels his love for music by entertaining the masses. And his vehicle turns heads wherever it travels. But this Elvis’ car of choice isn’t a pink Cadillac. It’s a black Chevrolet. Meet John “Big Elvis” Milani and his 1992 Z-1500. Milani’s DJ company, Big Elvis Rock and Roll Show, performed 42 times last year from as far south as Metropolis to as far north as Albion. He started playing tunes at local car shows 10 years ago, captivating the crowds with karaoke and vintage rock ‘n’ roll. While making a name for himself on the car-show scene, Milani decided he needed to fit in. That’s why he and his fiancée, Yolonda Hess, bought the Z-1500 from one of his friends last summer. After an extensive restoration — one that is still under way — Milani and Hess take pride in showing off their hard work. “It’s what you would call a

10- or 20-footer,” joked Milani, of Herrin. “It looks real good from about 10 or 20 feet away. Really, it’s not a bad-looking truck. Not as bad as it could have been. When we first bought it, I didn’t know if we’d ever be able to fix it up the way I wanted.” The truck was riddled with dings and dents when Milani brought it home. Almost one year later, it now sports an underbody light kit that changes colors at night, red accents on the wheels, a front kit that makes it look like a ’52 and a powerful 305 V8 engine. “It’s an unusual-looking truck to say the least,” Hess said. “It’s funny when some of the older guys come up and say, ‘I used to have a truck just like it.’ They’ll look at it closer and say, ‘Oh, nevermind.’ Then they’ll ask us what year it is and things like that. It kind of throws them off.” This isn’t the first vehicle Milani has restored. He customized a Ford Escort GT into Mustang when he was younger, had it painted “plum crazy purple” and showed it at various street machine national shows.

Gary Moon of Energy submitted this photo of a 1936 Ford Pick-Up.

John ‘Big Elvis’ Milani owns this 1992 Z-1500.

“I’ll be doing this for as long as I’m doing the DJ business at car shows,” Milani said. “It’s all about getting to meet different people. And you really get ideas for your own vehicles at the shows. You might like the way this car is painted, but you might like the interior from another one that you see.” Milani, who works days in maintenance at General Dynamics in Marion, also hosts

his own radio show Thursday nights on WGGH. He takes requests for music from the ’50s through the ’70s. “The show streams online so it can really be heard from anywhere,” Milani said. “We’ve had calls from Phoenix, Florida and Detroit, even as far away as Germany, England and Australia.” The worldwide interest in music and vintage vehicles goes

hand in hand, Milani says. “What’s great about the car and truck community is once you get involved, there are always people willing to help,” he said. “It’s just been a real neat thing to be a part of.” “If you’re on your way to a show or at a show and you have any problems, people are more than happy to lend a hand,” Hess agreed. “It’s a very tightknit group of people.”

Rhonda Graves of Marion submitted this photo of a 1938 International Ford Rat Rod. She said it’s tons of fun to drive, and it is a 350 V8 automatic.


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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

JUST TRUCKS

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Steve Watson of Herrin submitted this photo of his 1952 Chevrolet 3100.

Dale Garver of Ava submitted this photo of a 1964 Ford F-100. He said it is step side, mostly orignal, with 60,000 miles, and his grandfather bought it new.

Scott McAdams of Chester submitted this photo of a 1962 Chevy C10. This is a rare Custom 1962 chevy short bed fleet side truck, with 2010 Camaro synergy green paint, a 327 small block engine, Gennie shifter, custom lowered suspension, custom gauges, a chrome tilt steering column, white oak bed, foose wheels. It is totally restored from the ground up by McAdams.

Norm Alexander of Harrisburg submitted this photo of a 1934 Ford Pickup. It has an all metal body, 4-inch chopped top, Chevy 350 motor, .60, mild cam, Edlelbrock 750 Carb, 700R transmission, 12-bolt rear with 411 gears and 15-inch ‘wire’ wheels.

Sean Bittle of Carbondale submitted this photo of a 1989 GMC K-2500.

NEEDED Rhea Korte of Marion submitted this photo of a 1966 Ford F-100. It is a lime green and white 4x4, four-speed with a 302 engine.

for the 5th Annual

BIG TRUCK N I G H T

May 7th @ University Mall

All Trucks & Specialty Vehicles Welcome! Michael Ritter of Carterville submitted this photo of this 1998 Ford F-150 ‘4’ pro.

Pickups Fire Engines Construction Equipment Farm Tractors & More!

If you have a big truck, and would enjoy letting kids check it out, please contact Brandi Williamson at 529-3147 or cfc24brandi@gmail.com

Early Intervention for Young Children with Special Needs Herman Pritchett of Goreville submitted this photo of himself with his 1941 Chevy 1/2 Ton truck. It has a 350 Chevy motor and 350 turbo transmission. The 1941 Chevy pickup was the last truck built before World War II until 1946. It was rebuilt about 15 years ago.

WWW.THESOUTHERN.COM z WWW.THESOUTHERN.COM


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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

A generous group

Monster trucks go rolling right into Du Quoin

Coordinators of local car and truck shows work to raise funds for their communities BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

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n just about every weekend from the spring to fall, town squares and parking lots turn into playgrounds for truck-lovers of Southern Illinois. From the vintage to the customized, trucks of all makes and models are a huge draw to the local auto shows, which not only provide an atmosphere of fun and excitement but also one of generosity and good will. The third annual West Frankfort Car Show — scheduled for September — raises funds for individuals with developmental disabilities. Brad Friend coordinates the event and is also the manager of professional services at the H Group in West Frankfort. He said the event began as a fundraiser to offset the government cuts of grants for the organization’s disabled clients. “I feel proud and could not do this without all of the staff who assist me in donating their time and efforts in making the show a success,” Friend said. “The monies pay for such things as pizza parties, purchasing turkeys to make a Thanksgiving feast for the clients, and for the Special Olympics basketball team to attend district and state playoffs.” As coordinator for the auto show, Friend handles everything from advertising for the event and judging the contestants, to obtaining food, drinks and prizes. He says the show attracts

a variety of trucks numbering about 65 per year. “(Trucks) are a big attraction in our show, and I think the everyday truck owner likes to see what extras can look like on their truck, such as the extra chrome and fancy paint jobs,” he said. “We have enjoyed large crowds and without the trucks I believe the show would not be the success it is.” The show raises funds by charging fees for vehicle entries, by offering varying levels of event sponsorship and conducting a 50-50 drawing and a silent auction. “To see the faces of each of the clients at our workshop enjoying their pizza or the basketball players as they are getting ready to leave for their games is priceless,” Friend said. “This is the fundraising event of the year. It is physically and emotionally exhausting, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time I spend on the show.” The West Frankfort show is not the only one in Southern Illinois that donates its proceeds to a good cause. Far from it. Local car-enthusiast and radio host Chris Hahn updates his website (www.sicarnews.com) regularly with new show listings. He has been restoring old squad cars since he retired from the state juvenile justice department in 2008. “I think the truck portion of shows has really caught on,” Hahn said. “There seems to be a resurgence in custom trucks and

BY JOE SZYNKOWSKI FOR THE SOUTHERN

The third annual West Frankfort Car Show is in September and raises funds for individuals with disabilities.

restoration and that only helps the popularity of trucks. And shows have always been such a popular thing in Southern Illinois, because most of them are very generous to charities and whatever other causes they’re raising their money for.” One of Williamson County’s longest-running auto shows donates all of its proceeds to the county’s Shrine Motor Patrol, which sends the money to children’s hospitals in St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati. There are 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in the nation, and they treat children up to age 18 with burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and other conditions. Stacey Peebels, coordinator for the Williamson County chapter’s auto event, says helping children is the most rewarding aspect of putting the show together. “I had a child treated at a Shriners hospital and being able to donate our money to them is kind of my way of feeling like I’m

paying them back a little bit,” Peebels said. “That’s how a lot of our members and the people who enter the show feel, too.” The car, truck and motorcycle show is annually slated for the last Saturday in July and features an auction, door prizes and a cash drawing. Last year’s event drew 59 vehicles, 16 of which were trucks. “There are definitely more cars in the show, but you’ve got a lot of people who are really fond of their trucks,” Peebels said. “It’s amazing how much they spend on them and how much work they do to fix them up.” Peebels works hard to fulfill the vision of his late father, William, who founded the event 13 years ago. “He was the originator,” Peebels said. “I pretty much try to carry on the tradition that he started. It’s great that we dedicate the show to honor him. A lot of people that knew him will come out. We think he’d be pleased with how we’re carrying on the tradition.”

Not all trucks are created equal. Some are built with the power to pull. Others are shaped for speed. BIGFOOT was constructed to crush. The monster truck that started it all is more than 30 years old, and has become a main attraction at derbies and shows across the world. The Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin hosted its first E3 Spark Plugs Monster Truck Nationals event last year, and will invite BIGFOOT and five of its monster truck buddies onto the dirt track Feb. 25 and 26. Event promoter Jessica Hubley said last year’s ground-pounding show at Du Quoin was a hit among fans and drivers. “We got such a positive response from last year,” said Hubley, with Promotion Company and Family Events. “We almost sold out that Saturday night show…we’re a big fan of the venue because it can accommodate larger events, and it’s a strategically placed location for our schedule.” Du Quoin is the fifth stop in an 11-date schedule for the nationals. The show will feature more than 60,000 pounds of monster-truck madness competing in side-by-side drags, wheelie competitions and fierce freestyles. The trucks that will compete are the original monster E3 BIGFOOT, Star Marshal, Lucas Oil Stabilizer, Ironman, Diesel RX Airdog and Chalkboard Chuck. “We got a lot of feedback from drivers who loved the dirt track at Du Quoin last year because that’s what they come from early in their careers,” Hubley said. “We usually play at larger arenas with concrete tracks. So the drivers love performing at Du Quoin.” In addition to the monster trucks, the Freestyle Insanity Moto X Team will feature FMX motorcycle stunt riders performing daring stunts and jumping up to 50 feet in the air from take-off ramps. Everyone who purchases a ticket to any of the weekend performances is invited to come two hours SEE TRUCKS / PAGE 9F

DETAILS

VOGLER FORD

Carbondale | 618-457-8135 www.voglerford.com

What: E3 Spark Plugs Monster Truck Nationals When: Friday, Feb. 25 (7:30 p.m. with Pit Parties at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m.) and Saturday Feb. 26 (1 p.m. with Pit Parties at 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. with Pit Parties at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m.) Where: Southern Illinois Center at the Du Quoin State Fair Fairgrounds Prices: $17-$20 for adults; $10 for children. All tickets are subject to additional facility fees and service charges. Online: www.ticket master.com or www. monsternationals.com Phone: 888-718-4253 through midnight the night before the event Box office: Tickets will also be available at the event box office the day of the show.


Tim Anderson of Marion submitted this photo of a 1999 Chevy Silverado. It has 22-inch wheels, new bumpers and door handles with matching color, lowered back suspension to level out the truck, smoked headlights and tail lights, and a black bowtie. All the work was done at Vaughns Master Works in Marion.

Lane Dierks of Ava submitted this photo of a 1995 Chevy Silverado 2500 4x4. ‘This used to my dad’s truck. We used it on the farm and still do today. I got it when he decided to buy a newer truck for himself. He let me add a few things on it to make it stand out a little bit. Those things are a 3-inch lift, alloy rims with Dick Cepek mud country tires, Chrome push bar and dual exhaust.’

JUST TRUCKS

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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011

David Ray of Marion submitted this photo of an old fire truck converted to a mobile wedding chapel, where he and his wife got married.

Matt Fry of Madison submitted this photo of a 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 Crew Cab.

James Connell of Mounds submitted this photo of a 1948 Ford F1. It is a photo of James Connell in his father’s (James Sr.) truck, along with his wife, Barbara, and their seven children.

Matt Coffell of Du Quoin submitted this picture of this 1994 Ford F-150 Stepside. He said it has customized exterior and drive train, headers, cam, MSD ignition, K&N intake, stall converter, 4.10 gears and a Billet grille.

Eric Cook of Galatia submitted this photo a 1967 Chevy C-10. He said, ‘My 1967 C-10 longbed features: ppg sunset pearl paint, a shaved antenna, bed stakes, gas filler, rollpan, trim, bored 283, noisy Pete Jackson gear drive, jet hot coated headers, aluminum intake, Edelbrock 650 4bbl, comp cam, Taylor pro wires, 4:10 gears, Crossover pipe, Hurst four-speed, LINE-X bed liner, no limit custom aluminum gas tank with bed floor filler, louvered tailgate/roll pan, clear lenses, chopped frame ’92 chevy bench seat, gray tweed carpet, tweed/vinyl interior door panels and empire custom door cranks.’

Christian Rath of Murphysboro submitted this photo of a 2001 GMC Sonoma. The truck is owner built and driven since purchased new at Foley-Sweitzer in Marion.

LaDonna Basler of Anna submitted this photo of a 2006 Peterbilt 379. Pictured is Basler of LKB & Sons Trucking with one of the newest additions to her 13-truck fleet.

TRUCKS: Monsters come to Du Quoin FROM PAGE 8F

Harry Sims of Herrin with his 1956 Ford F100.

Carl ‘Cowboy’ Phillips of Mulkeytown submitted this photo of his automatic transmission International truck. It was one of only 800 made.

before that performance to a Pit Party/Driver Autograph Session. The monster truck drivers will meet the fans, pose for photos and show off their machines. It’s that intimate fandriver relationship that has helped the sport grow into a national sensation. “Monster trucks are a big draw across all demographics,” Hubley said. “There are the twoto 10-year-olds who are fans of the trucks and drivers. I think it’s because as opposed to NASCAR, where the drivers are the stars, monster trucks actually take on personalities of their own. Then you have your 30and 40-year-olds who love it for the same reason.”

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THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011


Just Trucks