By JAMES BELL
On Sept. 17, area car enthusiasts will again come together in Hays for the Thunder on the Plains Car, Truck and Cycle Show.
But the show will offer much more than just vehicles on display. In its seventh year, the event will host various family-friendly events, starting the night before the show.
“We're actually starting on Friday night,” said organizer Jackie Lang. “We have a cruise night, where we’re meeting at 27th and Vine in the parking lot by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
After gathering, attendees will cruise together down to municipal park where Crazy Horse 2.0 is set to perform.
“We'll have a dance, and there will be a food vendor available,” Lang said. “Hopefully, we'll have a good crowd there, and people can enjoy the night.”
On Saturday, the show begins with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Elite Realty/Nations Auction, 700 W. 48th, with other events planned throughout the day.
On-site will be a beer garden, hosted by Soroptimist International of Hays, the Hays Toy Show, inflatables, Pfonz Smokehouse, Sunshine Kitchen and Snow Cone Express. A live auction is planned for 1 p.m. and awards at 3 p.m.
“Our major auction item is the refurbished 7Up cooler,” said organizer Shelby Doty. “It's an old-style 7Up cooler that some of our folks have refurbished into a bar. It's got a refrigerator in it and shelving.”
The cooler was displayed at Thirsty's, 2704 Vine, in recent weeks.
“It's cool. It's really cool,” Lang said. “It's also on our website.”
Doty said they again have brought in judges from across Kansas for the judging.
Those judges will give cash awards and trophies, including $500 for Best of Show car or truck and $200 for Best of Show motorcycle. In total, twenty-seven class, awards are planned along with an award for furthest distance traveled.
“We do have cash awards,” Doty said. “We've got trophies this year. ... So dust your cars off and your trucks and get them out of the garage and come on out.”
“Best of Show for car truck will get $500,” Lang said. “Motorcycle gets $200, so it's worth it to bring your car out.”
While the day will be filled with fun and camaraderie, the event also serves a good cause.
“One of our main objectives is to raise money,” Lang said. “We have a lot of really great sponsors that allow us to do that.”
Sponsors provided both cash and in-kind donations, she said. The items will be auctioned off during Saturday's events.
“We've got lots of great items,” Lang said. “So far for the auction, we've got a meat package, we've got a really, really nice Polaris cooler that one of our sponsors has donated. We've gotten some grills.”
Since the first event in 2017, she said the car show has donated over $54,000 to local organizations.
“That's our main objective is to raise money to give back to the community,” Lang said.
Among those recipients last year was an NCK Tech student.
“Something new that we did establish this past year is a scholarship to a Hays High or TMP student that plans to attend NCK Tech,” Doty said. “Our recipient this past year was Cameron Roth, who received a $1,000 scholarship to NCK. So we're pretty proud of that. And I think he's excited as well.”
After the show, the event site will host a classic car auction.
“Mark Ottley at Elite Realty and Auction is allowing us to host our car show there again this year,” Lang said. “After our event is over, he and his staff are looking to have a classic car auction of their own at that location. So I guess if anybody has a car out there that they've been wanting to, or thinking about maybe selling, reach out to them and see if they can't help you.”
For more information or to register in advance for the Thunder on the Plains Car, Truck and Cycle Show, visit thunderontheplainsks.com.