Bear Creek is a farming town in Waupaca County, Wis., that’s like many other rural villages in America. It has a population of 838 people and not a lot to do on a Friday night, so an old-car show is a big thing. In small towns like Bear Creek, a lot of people fix their own cars and trucks doing evertything from oil changes to engine swaps themselves. Restoring a collector car is just like fixing a farm truck and old-car restoration is a great hobby for long Wisconsin winters.
Chevrolets, Fords and Dodges have long been popular in Bear Creek and being a Wisconsin make, American Motors is a favorite son. Cars and trucks of all these brands came to the Bear Creek show, along with a sprinkling of Plymouths and Pontiacs. The local Volunteer Fire Dept. Even brought out its vintage FWD open cab pumper, which was built “right up the road” in Clintonville.
Cars, trucks, trophy girls and beer, brats and burgers made for a big time small town Friday night bash. After an awards presentation at 9 pm, a live band rocked until midnight. Even the Fire Chief and the Mayor got to pick their favorite entries along with the car show committee and spectators.
In many way Bear Creek’s bash was typical of hundreds of other shows held annually throughout small-town America. There were a couple of gorgeous factory-stock restorations, as well as some neat hot rods and customs.
From Dave Yaeger’s red and white 1955 Ford Crown Victoria to Henry Sawall’s 1930 Model A Ford rumble seat Sport Coupe, interesting postwar and prewar vehicles lined the street. And you don’t see a Bradley GT vintage kit car at many other events. The Bear Creek Car Show may never get to the point where hundreds of cars attend, but it really doesn’t matter. It made for a big night in a small village and that’s what counts in the long run.