Enthusiasts gather around the classics at car show

By Matthew Ockinga
Empire Press Correspondent

Art Schick stands next to his 1923 Ford Model TT truck that belonged to his grandfather. (Empire Press photo/Matthew Ockinga)

The term ‘car show’ is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, no show is complete without shiny fenders, sparkling hub caps and vintage upholstery. But while carburetors and exhaust pipes are fun, car shows are more about people than pistons.

The Waterville Rollers Car Club’s 2018 Antique & Classic Car Show was no exception. Held in Pioneer Park during Waterville Days on July 7, the show served not only for cars hailing all the way back to the 20s, but as a cozy, quaint gathering for car enthusiasts and novices alike to congregate on a hot summer day around shiny tributes to the past with a touch of the present.

“That’s what everybody likes about it, because you can stand there and look at the cars, visit, learn what they did and what they messed up on,” said Nevin Schmidt, one of the show’s organizers. “There’s guys that come every year, every year it’s the same car. Then you see a lot of new cars every year too.”

Jim Barnes is a car collector who hails from Keyport. Until preparing to bring his eight cars, mostly Buicks, to the show, he and his wife had never heard of Waterville. Barnes said that true car shows are for the light of heart.

Car hobbyists gather at Waterville Rollers Car Club’s 2018 Antique & Classic Car Show held July 7 during Waterville Days. (Empire Press photo/Matthew Ockinga)

“If you’re in this hobby, you gotta be a little flexible. Things don’t always go the way you want them to go,” he said. “If you’re one of these people that gets all wound up about little things, then you don’t last in this hobby.”

Speaking of lasting, the oldest vehicle at the show had an intriguing local connection. Art Schick stood proudly next to his 1923 Ford Model TT truck. Schick’s grandfather bought the truck new at Waterville Auto in 1925 and used it on his wheat ranch until about 1931. Shortly after, he sold the truck and it passed through several owners until Schick’s uncle reclaimed it for the family nearly 40 years later. That’s when Schick and his father worked on the truck, modifying it while simultaneously maintaining as much of the original structure as possible. The Waterville Rollers show marked the first time the Ford had returned home since Schick hauled it to Washington’s coast decades ago. Back in the 1920s, the Schick family truck would make the two-day trip hauling wheat to Coulee City. While it was rated a one-ton truck, Schick said it often hauled two tons.

“It is very much a homecoming for the truck… It’s just a miracle really,” Schick said of the family heirloom. “I have good memories of working with my dad on this. I’ve heard tons of stories while working on this that I never would have heard otherwise.”

Up for grabs were sever trophies composed of old car parts. Schmidt and a friend collected old donated junk parts including timing gears, friction discs, pistons and pullies. They cleaned and shined the parts then welded them together to make unique and attractive prizes for the shows’ winners. Prizes included Best of 30s, Best of 60s, Best Rat Rod, Best Tractor, Best Truck, Mayor’s Choice, People’s Choice, Best Original, and Best of Show.