Lug Nuts' 11th event raises $9,000 for Camp I'm Still Me

On a Roll

Auto enthusiasts rally at City Park for young burn victims

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A little weather wasn’t going to deter the Lone Star Lug Nuts auto aficionados – more than 170 vehicles turned out for the group’s 11th annual Early Bird Car Show Saturday, raising a healthy donation for the event’s burn victim beneficiaries.

“We’re going to be able to give the kids $9,000 this year,” co-organizer Marylin Morris said Monday. “Isn’t that great?”

It’s a strong step up from last year’s $7,000 donation to the Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation. The latest funds – raised from vehicle entry fees, vendor reservations, a live auction and more weekend activities at Kilgore City Park – will help offset costs at Camp I’m Still Me for children disfigured by burns.

“It feels great,” Morris said. “That makes it all worthwhile, all the work.”

Friday night’s rainfall damped the automobile enthusiasts’ annual downtown cruise night, but they turned out in force the next morning.

“It was wet and muddy when we first got there, but the guys got shovels and brooms and we got it ready,” Morris said. “We braved it and so did the cars.”

The lingering wet didn’t keep visitors away either, she added.

“Lot of spectators were out there. They were all over the park. I think the vendors did real good with all the spectators and car people,” while visiting cloggers entertained the crowd and Elvis tribute artist Al Joslin dominated the stage of the park’s amphitheater. According to Morris, “He was awesome. I think he was the best one we’ve ever had – that’s what everyone was telling me; they’ve all been real good, to me. He walked around out in the audience and sang.”

Once again, the Lug Nuts awarded their Top 25 entries (see inset winners) in addition to a handful of select awards including Best of Show Car to Gerald Roe, Best of Show Truck to Tim Surman, Best Motorcycle for Darrell Guidry, Best Rat Rod to Darrick Hooper and Club Choice for David Wallace.

The 2017 Percy R. Johnson Burn Center Pick was awarded to Bill Bennett – his 1926 Model T has been in the family since 1926.

Co-organizing the event with other members of the car club, it’s a family affair for the Morrises: along with Marylin, Gary Morris is president of the club while son Larry and daughter-in-law Amber run the auction.

“We raise more money by having an auction,” Marylin Morris noted, and they’ll soon be passing on the day’s proceeds to the burn foundation and its camp.

Plans are already underway for 2018’s 12th annual event: “We’ve already got it set in stone, March 31, 2018.”

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