In early August, over 300 vehicles of every imaginable type filled the show field on the campus of Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Virginia for the 18th Annual Veterans Car and Bike Show, put on by the Southern Knights Cruisers car club. Mother Nature smiled on the show this year after two years of wet weather and gave the car fans plenty of sunshine. A grove of pecan trees planted in the early 1900s provided a picturesque venue for viewing classic cars, monster trucks, sports cars, motorcycles, hot rods, rat rods, and a few totally radical customs – there was something in the show to suit everyone’s taste.
Southern Knights Cruisers
The Southern Knights Cruisers (SKC) car club was founded in 2004 by Central Virginia car enthusiasts who enjoy showing and driving their cars. The club is a non-profit organization and the members enthusiastically organize three major car shows a year, the proceeds of which are donated to charity, in addition to a weekly Saturday night cruise-in. Unlike many car clubs that specialize in a particular make or type of car, The SKC members have eclectic tastes that include street rods, custom cars, classic restorations, hot rods, sports cars, and trucks.
The show has grown to become one of the largest car shows in Central Virginia. According to Club president Ricky Williams, there were 341 registered entries for this year’s show, a huge turnout for great causes.
Show class winners
Judges had the unenviable task of picking the Best of Show winners in five classes and presenting more than 120 awards, including top 25 awards in each class, club participation award, longest drive award, and an award for the youngest participant. This year’s Show Class winners were:
Best of Show, Up to 1954 1931 Ford Jim Reese
Best of Show, 1955 – 1972 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Paul Jones
Best of Show, 1973 – 1992 1975 AMC Matador Matt Guedori
Best of Show, 1993 and later 2005 Chevrolet SSR Mel Ogburn
Best of Show, Pro Street Dragster 1948 Ford Anglia Charles Hammack
Over $300,000 donated to charity
To date, the Veterans Car and Bike Show has raised $338,000 for various charities that assist and benefit military veterans. The SKC club has regularly supported charities local to the Richmond, Virginia area helping veterans and their families, such as the Richmond Fisher House, the McGuire Veteran’s Hospital, and the Fort Lee Holiday Helper Association.
The Richmond Fisher House opened in 2008 on the grounds of the McGuire Veteran’s Hospital and provides free lodging to families of veterans receiving treatment at the hospital. The Fisher House has twenty-one fully handicap-accessible family suites and has accommodated over 2,000 families since its inception. Having veterans’ families in close proximity provides immeasurable benefits to patient care and the well-being of the family members.
The McGuire Veterans Hospital, established in 1946, provides health care available to more than 200,000 veterans from 52 cities and counties, extending from Central Virginia to parts of northern North Carolina. The 1.2 million square foot facility contains a Polytrauma Center, a radiation therapy center, an MRI suite, and a large spinal cord injury unit. With these treatment centers, coupled with a hospice unit, nursing home care unit, and extensive ambulatory care facilities, McGuire Veterans Hospital can give its patients whatever level of care they require.
The Fort Lee Holiday Helper Association helps families of wounded warriors and nominated military members facing difficult times to have a memorable holiday season by allowing them to shop at their dedicated toy store free of charge. The toys are donated to the Association, or purchased by the Association from monetary donations. The Association assists all branches of the service, including the National Guard and Reservists.
Richard Bland College – Southern Knights Cruisers Scholarship Fund
The Southern Knights Cruisers Club has recently expanded its charitable interests by establishing a Scholarship Fund in cooperation with Richard Bland College, the host venue for the Veterans Show. Richard Bland College, founded in 1960 as a branch of the College of William & Mary, is the only two-year residential college in Virginia. With a current enrollment of about 2,300 students, the College has 7,500 alumni worldwide. Richard Bland College awards $150,000 in scholarships annually, a number that will increase now that the Southern Knights Cruisers have stepped up with their own scholarship fund.
A Show for everyone
Collector car owners are a unique bunch. One of the attractions of the car hobby is that it can be whatever one wants it to be. You can spend hours working on your car if that suits your fancy; you can drive it to cruise-ins and chat with other car buffs; or you can spend all of your spare time cleaning and polishing your baby for car shows.
Then, there are car owners like the gentleman pictured above– ensconced in a lawn chair next to his 1940 Ford, both well away from the milling throng of show-goers and the other cars, sitting in the shade of the pecan trees – who just want to hang out and enjoy a beautiful summer day. Whatever your car hobby interest, the Veterans Car & Bike Show has something to offer.
A special TireBuyer ‘Thanks’ goes out to Ricky Williams, SKC president, and Daniel Watkins, club photographer, for all of their assistance before, during, and after the event. A car show with over 300 entries is a tough task to organize and manage, but everyone in the Southern Knights Cruisers did an outstanding job and the show was a success – congratulations!
Southern Knights Cruisers – http://www.southernknightscruisers.com/index.php
Richmond Fisher House – https://richmondfisherhouse.org/
McGuire Veterans Hospital – https://www.richmond.va.gov/
Fort Lee Holiday Helpers Association – http://www.holidayhelperassociation.com/
Richard Bland College – https://www.rbc.edu/