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Cruising NWKS: Cars tell the story of owners' passion





Paul Simpson described the Rock, Roll, Ride Rod Run cruise night and car show perfectly: "Every car's kind of got a story."

Simpson's story goes back to his high school years. He got his 1969 Dodge Charger when he was a sophomore in 1977.

"I let it fall into disrepair, then later restored it," Simpson said.

He takes it to a few shows a year, including the annual Rock, Roll, Ride Rod Run in Hays. He had it out Friday night at the show's cruise night in the parking lot between KFC and Advance Auto Parts. Dozens of cars came out the night before the show, hoping much-needed rain wouldn't spoil the weekend too much.

But nothing could spoil Darwin Lindenmuth's time back in western Kansas. The Russell native goes to a lot of shows in bigger cities that are sponsored by big car clubs. But he prefers shows like the one in Hays.

"It's just a bunch of guys that get together. They put on a good show," said Lindenmuth, who now lives in Woodward, Okla.

And you never know what kind of cars will show up.

Austin Carver hadn't had his 1950 Chevrolet pickup out much in the past few years, but at the urging of his friend, Tyson Wiesner, the duo rolled up in the bright blue truck Friday night.

Carver and his dad, Pat, restored the pickup a few years back in memory of Pat's brother, Doug, who originally owned the pickup.

Under the hood, "In Memory of Doug," is engraved in silver, and the license plate says it all: 4UDOUG.

"We used to take it to shows a lot," Austin Carver said.

"And race it," Wiesner added.

The duo planned to go to the car show Saturday at Lewis Ford, too.

"Just to see what people do to (their cars). See if they keep it original. See what they do to it," Austin Carver said.

Self-professed gearheads Paul and Jennifer Hrabe of Stockton are just starting to enjoy car shows like the Rock, Roll, Ride Rod Run. They have a "company fleet" of classic cars they've tinkered with and restored, including a 1979 Trans Am.

"I've looked for one of these," Paul Hrabe said, resting his arm on the passenger door. "It was my unicorn car. I've wanted one of these since I knew what cars were."

So when it came for sale partially restored nearly four years ago, he knew he had to have it.

The couple has restored a 1980 Camaro, and they've started working on Paul's first high school car, a 1976 Oldsmobile 414.

The couple strolled through the dozens of cars parked Friday night along Vine Street after Jennifer surprised Paul by driving him down for the cruise night.

"The people are just really nice you meet," Paul Hrabe said. "It's a good family all around."