|A publication of the|
Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club.
A not-for-profit corporation.
A chapter of Bow Tie Chevys
and Classic Chevy International.
|Bricktown; from 1991 to 1999|
By Charles Stookey
The year was 1990 and the Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club had just finished hosting its annual show at the old drag strip on the Oklahoma Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
The show was a success but the fairgrounds location was beginning to pose more of a problem. Larry Myers was elected president that year and soon after the club held a discussion as to possible locations for the club's annual show. Many spots were discussed with Bricktown seeming to get the most support.
The Bricktown area was just testing its wings in the early '90s with Spaghetti Warehouse and O'Brien's being the only restaurants and area improvements few and far between.
Club officers approached the Bricktown organization with an idea for a car show and they agreed. The January 1991 club newsletter was headlined "Bricktown to host club's spring show."
On May 11, 1991, and despite morning drizzle, somewhere around 300 cars (counting host cars) showed up. The sky cleared and the show was a success. Cars filled Sheridan from the railroad viaduct east to Walnut Street. A picture printed in the April, 1992, edition of the newsletter shows the large parking lot alongside Oklahoma south of Sheridan full of show cars and host cars.
That 1991 show established the high level of excellence that every year since has sustained. Many people over the years have contributed to the success of this show. All club members work on the day of the show and many work the week or so before while still others work all year long on the event.
The following have served as show chairpersons for "Cruisin' Bricktown". Included are their spouses without whose help nothing could be accomplished.
The June, 1991, newsletter carried an open letter from COCCC President Myers to the membership thanking everyone for making the show the success that it was.
The 1994 edition of "Cruisin' Bricktown" 1994 marked Chelino's best day to that point with more than a thousand Mexican food meals served.
In 1992 and 1994 the show topped 500 cars. Other show turnouts have been hampered by rain.
Perhaps the lowest point was in 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Building was destroyed in a devastating explosion. The downtown Arts Festival was cancelled that year because it was on the heals of the tragic explosion. It was decided to go ahead with our show as it would provide a much-needed break from all the grief that gripped Oklahoma City, and even the nation, in those months following the tragedy.
Many attendees that year walked over to view the destruction at the Murrah site and the mood for the day was somewhat somber.
Another low was was in 1993 when a large thunderstorm system brought torrential rains, flooding, lightning, high winds and tornadoes to Central Oklahoma. Despite those problems Bricktown hosted some 300 cars. Club officers shut down the show early when a tornado was reported in Chickasha.
Your editor and his wife, Marilyn, were heading south on Shields around 10th Street in a driving thunderstorm after the 1994 show when Show Chairperson Bays caught up with us and yelled over the sound of the driving rain, "Don't go, you'll drown." We turned around and found a hotel room for the night. Darned if I know where he went but he's still around so he must have made it too.
Bays was right. Only a few blocks ahead of where we turned around the street was under some four to five feet of water and houses had water inside. Further south the flooding worsened and lives were lost.
On a comical note, 1992 was marked by Bays falling through the roof at O'brien's. He had climbed up to the roof through the inside and was all alone at the time but managed to free himself and get his pictures. "It was quite a little climb," Bays said.
In the last few years we have added a successful model car contest to Cruisin Bricktown. It is efficiently run by the Mertens.