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Tower of Strength

The icon for the Iola Old Car Show has always been the 100-ft. Forest Ranger tower that was erected years ago to help eliminate traffic control problems. Despite some horrendous local road construction projects, equally horrendous gas prices and some sudden heavy rain late on Thursday afternoon, the 2007 Iola Old Car Show was a smashing success that surprised me. With rising prices on everything from soup to nuts and gas jumping up to 40-cents a gallon just prior to the show, I had my doubts if the people at the downtown car show office and the folks here at KP/F+W were going to see a down year in car-show activity and attendance. As it turned out, the number of show cars and the quality of the vehicles was amazing. The theme "Coming Up 7s" featuring cars from years that end in "7" seemed confusing to me, but it worked. What people said is that they liked the idea of seeing all different kinds of cars from all different years. "It's better than seeing 100 Mustangs or 100 '57 Chevys," one visitor remarked. There seemed to be less show cars on the grounds on Saturday and this fooled some folks into thinking it was "slow." However, if you walked the swap meet that day, as I did, you realized pretty quickly that it was packed with more people than usual. Sales of admissions, hot dogs, beer and $5-per-copy "bruised" books were all way up. The Old Cars Weekly staff created a "Tulsarama" CD to sell at the show and editorial director Robyn Austin had to run out Sunday morning to have more copies "burned." As has become the typical practice, many of the vendors and show-car owners departed the show grounds on Saturday evening to get an early start for home. This gave the Sunday show an enjoyable, leisurely pace. If you walked around and counted the show cars, there were still more than appear at most shows around here and the quality was high, but I'll admit they were scattered about. The Fox Cities British Car Club spearheaded a special "International Alley" section for imported cars and it drew about 45 cars, which was 14 less than last year. However, here again there was a nice selection of unusual vehicles and the shortfall was in the numbers of MGBs around. So all in all, Iola '07 was a "Tower of Strength" and a credit to all of the hardworking staffers and volunteers who put the show on for the benefit of our community.

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