Car show and memorial draws a crowd


The annual FOP Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show ‘Tom Gray Memorial’ was a success in several ways.

For starters, this was the fifth year for the event, which once again proved to be a success in providing a fun outdoor event with cars, food and music for the community to enjoy.

Another success is the event raised a little more than $15,000 for the Fraternal Order of Police Donald M. Winn Lodge 108’s Cops and Kids program despite taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Finally, the car show was successful in honoring the memory of Tom Gray, who was a member of the Seymour Area Cruisers car club that helps with parking and judging.

Gray passed away Dec. 30, 2019, at the age of 52 of esophageal cancer.

C.J. Foster, president of the FOP lodge, said before making the decision whether or not to go ahead with the event, he kept updated about Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s mandate about conducting events and also spoke with Paul Ramsey with the Jackson County Health Department.

Foster said they came up with a safety plan for the car show and the health department approved it.

Signage was in place asking people to wear a face mask if they got closer than 6 feet to others; practice social distancing; not congregate; and not attend if they were ill. Hand sanitizer also was available.

Last year, a record 243 vehicles were a part of the show, which takes place in the Robertson Mill and Walnut Street parking lots in downtown Seymour.

This year broke that record. By Thursday, there were around 100 pre-entries for the event and by Friday evening, 256 vehicles including cars, trucks and motorcycles, had registered for the event.

Josh Cummings of Brownstown and his dad, Gabriel Cummings, were among those participating in the show.

Josh’s 2013 Ford Mustang was parked among the entries.

“This year there haven’t been many car shows so it’s nice to still be able to get out and come to this one,” Josh said. “I pretty much enjoy working on cars just about as much as showing them.”

Josh purchased the Mustang new eight years ago in December, so it was kind of like a Christmas present to himself because he’d had it on order for awhile, he said.

“It’s nice to know this is helping raise money for the kids and I hope they raise a lot,” he said. “Especially because I know a lot of the other fundraisers have been canceled.”

Gabriel knew Tom Gray, who was being remembered during the event.

“I knew him from the cars shows and we were about the same age,” Gabriel said. “I think this being a memorial for him was a good idea because he’s had his hands on a lot of this and helped get this started and this is for a great cause.”

Seymour’s Laura Stahl and her husband, Jon Stahl, each had a car registered at the show. Their lawn chairs were sitting between their two vehicles.

Laura said they didn’t hesitate to register their cars for the event during the ongoing pandemic.

“We’re tickled to death to be able to get out and enter a car show since we haven’t been able to for awhile,” she said. “I thinks it’s nice, the memorial for Tom, and he did a lot for the car show.”

Laura said her husband had given her the yellow car that she was sitting next to Friday night at the show.

“Jon gave me this 1971 VW Beetle for my 70th birthday,” Laura said. “He thought I’d like it since we used to have one in college, so he had it shipped here from California and then redid it himself.”

Jon’s truck was a 1929 Ford pickup he called ‘Frankenstein’ because he built the truck from different vehicle parts he’d gathered up.

“The body and fenders were built from 16 different Model A Fords and the suspension unit, front and rear, is from a Mazda Miata,” he said. “The engine is an 1985 Ford Thunderbird turbocharge, so it rides like a sports car but looks like an old truck.”

Jon also knew Tom Gray and thought he was a great guy.

“Everybody loved him and I knew his health was declining and so one day I took him for a ride in my Porsche,” he said. “I believe he really enjoyed that.”

Besides cars to admire, the event offered raffles and a silent auction. Junkyard BBQ and Homemade Ice Cream food truck sold food and the FOP had ice cream floats for sale. Plus, live music was provided by local band Six Ways to Sunday.

Cody Moore, the band’s drummer, said the group liked participating in an event that supports a good cause.

The band has been playing together for nearly nine years now covering predominantly country with a small variation of rock. Other band members are Matt Sutherland, vocals and guitar; Joe Peak, vocals and guitar; and Jeremiah Blackerby, bass.

“We have been blessed over the years to perform at some iconic venues with touring national acts,” Moore said. “We certainly appreciate the opportunity to play for our community, family and friends.”

He added to give back in this fashion is the very least they could do. It just doesn’t get any better than hot rods and country music.

All proceeds from the car show benefit the Cops and Kids program, which pairs local law enforcement with less-fortunate kids to shop for items they need at Christmastime.

“The biggest part of the program is the Christmas event, and pretty much what we make on the car show goes toward Christmas and then some,” Foster said. “Last year’s car show had nearly 250 vehicles entered and $22,000 was raised, which was the total for both Friday and Saturday.”

Foster said there was no specific goal for this year, just whatever they got they would be happy with. He also wanted to thank the Seymour Area Cruisers, as the FOP could not hold this event without them.

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