Cars and Guitars show rocks downtown Seymour

The Cars and Guitars show was the place to be Saturday as hundreds of people gathered to check out the nearly 200 cars and trucks on display and to catch an evening concert.

The 17th annual event held in downtown Seymour meant something much more to one local family as they were there to carry on a legacy.

The family of Ron Darlage brought three entries to the car show that were near and dear to their hearts, as the vehicles had belonged to Ron, who passed away last September of pancreatic cancer.

Ron left a red 1940 Ford truck to his son, Tom Darlage, a red 1940 Ford Deluxe convertible to his daughter, Karen Wheatley, and a black custom 1935 Ford pickup to his grandson, Tommy Darlage.

Tom said, “My dad had rebuilt the red truck about five years ago, and it was a bucket of rust back then, as all three of these were. He just had a passion for rebuilding, and Fords were his favorite.”

A photograph on display near the vehicles was of Tom and Ron, taken last August, five weeks before Ron passed, Tom’s wife, Ginger, said. She recently gave the picture to Tom for Father’s Day.

Tom said his dad was a member of Cars and Guitars Inc. that organizes the car show and concert each year, and the club had a bench made in memory of Ron.

Ginger said the bench was completed just a few days before Cars and Guitars and is going to be placed at Crossroads Community Park this week.

“That’s where they would meet for breakfast once a week and they called themselves the Breakfast Club, and they’d either meet there or at Larrison’s Diner once a week,” she said. “They just got the bench done and had a ceremony where a few words were spoken about Ronny.”

Ginger said the bench was made at Crane Hill Machine and Fabrication Inc.

“My dad founded Crane Hill, then later sold it to some friends and retired,” she said.

The company also has made the other benches downtown.

When asked who gets to drive the Ford Deluxe convertible, Karen said both she and her husband, Greg Wheatley, drive it.

Jim Hurley of Brownstown also was at the car show with his blue 2007 Chevrolet Corvette.

“I bought the car in 2011, and it currently has about 13,000 miles on it,” Hurley said. “I’ve been bringing the car here for years because this is such a nice car show.”

Hurley said Cars and Guitars is he and his wife Ronda’s favorite car show, and since there’s no judging, they can just be there and have fun.

Another car show participant was Joe McGinnis, who was born and raised in Austin but moved to Seymour about 30 years ago. He was at the show with his black 1965 Ford Mustang.

McGinnis said, “I’ve been participating in this car show for about four or five years, and I like knowing the funds go to help the children.”

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, the “King,” also known as Tyler Christopher, took the stage downtown.

This is the first time the 32-year-old Elvis tribute artist has performed in Seymour. Christopher grew up in Alexandria, Kentucky, and now lives on the east side of Cincinnati, not too far from his hometown.

“Growing up, my dad was a really big Elvis fan and I listened to the music and watched the Elvis movies with him,” he said. “Unfortunately, he passed away when I was 6 years old, so Elvis is a kind of tether between me and my dad.”

Christopher said he gathered up the most Elvis music and footage he could to sing and dance along with.

“By the time I was 12, I was actually performing in local and regional shows. Then when I was 16, I was invited to an invitation-only competition in New York,” he said. “I was there with a bunch of other Elvis tribute artists and completely green and nervous, and it was in a huge venue but ended up winning that contest.”

After that, his professional career really took off, and he has been performing as Elvis for 16 years.

“Most of my shows are indoors, but we do a few festivals a year and the show is very active, so it can get hot,” Christopher said. “There’s a lot of dancing and choreography and a few costume changes, too.”

At Saturday’s event, he started off his show in a light pink blazer and black pants, crooning, “That’s All Right (Momma),” Elvis’ first commercial single from 1954.

He followed up with “Don’t Be Cruel,” then slowed things down with “Love Me Tender.” During the two-hour concert, Christopher stepped down from the stage and walked amongst the crowd of listeners in their lawn chairs.

While singing “Little Sister,” he walked by Betty McCleery of Seymour and took her hand as she stood up and gave her a few spins and they danced together while he sang.

McCleery was attending the concert with her friends. She said she’s an Elvis fan, and since no one else was up and dancing, she decided she would.

“I don’t know if he enjoyed it, but I sure did, and he said I had the moves,” she said.

Cars and Guitars organizers this year were Darrin and Shawna Boas.

“I didn’t know quite what to expect this year with the gas prices the way they were and the temperature, but I think we had a pretty good turnout,” Darrin said. “As far as volunteers goes, the more the merrier, but it takes about 12 to 15 to make things run smoothly.”

T-shirts for the event were created by Seymour High School’s Owl Manufacturing and were available during the show. Shawna said they have T-shirts left over and are hoping to sell the rest of them.

They are having a burnout sale of $10 each. All sizes are still available, small adult to 4XL adult. For information about Cars and Guitars, visit