Nearly three decades ago a group of six men got together to celebrate their love of classic cars.
That was the start of the Parker County Cruisers. They continue to be strong today, with around 100 members, as they prepare for their annual Fall Fling Show at Heritage Park on Saturday, Sept. 23. The all-day event will feature an assortment of cars, truck and motorcycles in over 40 classes, along with cash prizes.
"Most members join because they have a common bond, old classic cars," said club president Brandon Reese. "Collecting old cars, fixing them up, finding parts, learning more about different years and models gets in your blood. There is so much to learn about each and every make and model. What cars came from the factory with and what they are supposed to have. What modified cars are popular and how they are built, painted and overall."
One member might prefer a mid-70's Pontiac, another might like "Tri-Five" Chevrolets from the 1955-57 era, another goes for "Early Fords," and another member might choose 1960-70s Mopar Muscle Cars. The point is, they share a common interest in preserving what they and many consider some of the finest automobiles ever built.
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Some restore/rebuild their cars. Others buy vehicle already restored or finished. Some club members are mechanics. Others specialize in upholstery, others are paint experts, and others know everything there is about exhaust.
"When buying or building that certain classic there's always a need for paint, parts, mechanic, upholstery or exhaust, etc., and its nice to be a part of a club that knows places or people to go to if the need comes up," Reese said.
One of the original six members, Huey Luster is still active.
"Back then we bounced around to either the old Southside Diner or the back room of Petro Restaurant to hold monthly meetings. People in Weatherford treated the club good," Luster said. "For a while Jerry's Chevrolet let the club use a vacant building on the truck lot to hold meetings."
Luster said it took a while for the club to actually get its feet on the ground, but more organizers came along and helped the club grow into what it is now.
"We were having meetings at Kathy Eagleton's mother's RV Park and Jackie Collins started letting the club meet in one of his buildings, which was over and above anything we had before," he said. "We displayed the club participation trophies and members' cars on walls. Real state of the art clubhouse.
"Then, after about five years, somebody was wanting to lease building so the club had to find new location."
Now, the nonprofit club meets monthly on the third Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Harberger Hill Community Center, 701 Narrow Street in Weatherford. It's members are both male and female, including singles and couples. They range in age from the brother-sister duo of 21-year-old Jonah Boyd and his 17-year-old sister Holly to 89-year-old Dennis Cannon.
"We are family-oriented and welcome individual as wells a family membership," Reese said.
Reese credited many people with the continuation and growth of the club over the years, including Collins, a former president. He organized the first Classic Car Show at Heritage Park after hosting it at his home for several years. He was also instrumental in organizing the First Annual Swap Meet and Show & Shine this year.
Along with their own annual event, the club participates in a variety of other activities at which they display cars, including the Parker County Peach Festival. Weatherford Blooms Festival and the Veterans Parade. They also participate in the Christmas Parade and the Parker County Sheriff Posse Rodeo Parade.
The club also helps raise funds for a variety of charities, such as Meals on Wheels, Parker Paws and the Careity Foundation. Any money the club raises from its own car show and/or fundraiser events are distributed among several charitable organizations that are voted on by the members of the club at the end of the year.
Members pay a $30 monthly membership fee. The only qualification to be a member is an interest in antique, classic or special interest automobiles - and ownership is optional.
The club votes as a group on which car shows to attend, and they attend as a unit representing the Parker County Cruisers.
There's also a branch called the Parker County Lady Cruisers. They meet at voted-on locations the first Thursday of every month at 11:30 am. It’s mostly a meet-and-greet to welcome new female members into the Parker County Cruisers, talk and meet new friends.
"They have their own printed T-Shirts with Parker County Lady Cruisers," Reese said.
While the club is based in Weatherford, members come from all over Parker County and nearby Mineral Wells.
"People join the club to be a part of shared interest and to be united, so they see what we do for the community and how much fun we have," Reese said. "Every member is a law-abiding and giving individual, and strives to help the community.
"It's being apart of something so big and fun, while getting to know other like-minded people that come from all walks of life."
Parker County Cruisers
▪ What: A local club devoted to collecting, preserving and displaying classic, antique and specialty automobiles.
▪ When meet: Third Tuesday at 7 p.m.
▪ Where: Harberger Hill Community Center, 701 Narrow Street in Weatherford.
▪ Monthly dues: $30.
▪ Contact: 817-599-7675 or visit www.parkercountycruisers.com.