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Helper Outlaw Car Show fills park with vintage autos

It takes tender, loving care to keep cars in showroom shape

Sun Advocate reporter

Over the weekend visitors to the Helper City Park got a glimpse of the past, present and the future as over 150 cars and their owners gathered for the 24th annual Helper City Outlaw Car Show and Cruise.

The event, hosted by the Butch Cassidy Gang Car Club, started with the cruise starting at Main Street in Helper and going to Kenilworth and Spring Canyon. Residents and visitors lined the street taking photos and waving to the drivers as street rods, classics and other unique cars made the trip down the street to the delight of those in attendance.

On Saturday, cars of all kinds, some dating back to the 1920s to present day, lined the entire area of the park. Visitors had the chance to see works of automobile history and hear the stories of the car owners and the countless hours they spent in the garage, sometimes building from scratch, getting the cars ready for the show.

The car show attracted people from all over Utah and from other states including Colorado, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

At the end of the day, car owners anxiously awaited the judges' decisions on plaques and trophies being awarded in 38 different categories.

Jeff Savage, 65, of Price, entered his 1955 Packard 400 Model into the contest. Over the last four years he worked on restoring it, even minutes before entering the contest. The car was the first time he did a full restoration on a car and the Outlaw Car Show was the first time he entered it into a contest.

For his first time in a car show with his 1955 Packard, Savage didn't do so badly. He walked away with trophies in Best of Show, Best Upholstery, Best of 50s and Castle Valley Center Choice.

"I'm shocked. Everything seemed to pay off in the end," Savage said, noting the over 6,000 hours he spent working on the car over a four-year period.

Savage, like many others at the car show, has developed a love for automobiles that dates back to childhood. While the full restoration of the Packard was his first, Savage said it would be his last.

"The hardest thing I've ever done in my life was the full restoration of the Packard. Working on cars is in my blood," Savage said. "This was a great way to go out. It made it all worth the effort." Not all of the car owners walked away with trophies in hand. But just the opportunity to bring out their car to a show was well worth the experience.

Marshall Sanders, 65, of Woodland Park, Colo., came to the show with his wife, Sandy, and their 1940 Desoto with an original Hemi engine. It was the Sanders first time visiting Helper. While they didn't win any awards, the Sanders accomplished one of their own personal goals.

Their goal is to visit different towns and participate in a car show in every state in the lower 48. So far they have been to 20 different states and have plans to attend shows in other states before the end of the summer.

"This is something that we both enjoy doing," Sanders said. "We enjoy the long road trips and driving the car around. So we are trying to kill two birds with one stone by going to car shows in different states."

These were just some of the many stories that were told throughout the two-day event. While the car show may have been a competition, it's hard to say anyone lost. Visitors got to see 150 cars, each unique in their own way, and owners were able to proudly showcase their hard work in front of car enthusiasts and families.

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