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Cruising NWKS: Fenders still shining in year 2 of car show





STOCKTON -- A year ago, Dean and Libby Kester were overwhelmed by the turnout for Stockton's first Swing into Summer Festival and Car Show. The number of cars and people flowing through Stockton's city park was more than they ever imagined.

Fast forward a year, and the couple was better prepared but still pleasantly surprised at how popular the car show and all its offerings were.

"It's really nice for our small community to have so many people in town," said Libby Kester, one of the show organizers.

Nearly 150 cars were entered in the show, and many of them made it Friday night for the cruise-in, too. Plus, the park saw many interested people who stopped by out of curiosity to see some of the brightly colored automobiles.

The Stockton Rodders, of which the Kesters are members, sponsored the show, which gave awards based on votes from car enthusiasts and the general public.

"They have a great car show. They've done really well for just starting out," said Paula Rathbun, who, with her husband, brought a 1930 Street Rod from their home between Plainville and Hays.

The variety of classic and new cars on display ranged from Smith-Moore-Overlease's restored hearse and a 1969 Plymouth highway patrol car to a couple of dragsters and numerous Ford Mustangs from all eras.

Vendors were set up across the park, and inflatables were available for children. The registration fees for the car show, as well as proceeds from a lunch served in the park, benefited the Stockton Fire Department.

"It's good for the community," said Rodney Roy, a Stockton native who now lives in Hays.

More than a decade ago, he bought a 1941 Chevy pickup that was used as a farm truck, restored it and has been showing it off since. The woodworker added wood sideboards to the back and a Sinclair Gasoline logo.

"It gives it that old-time look, which seems to be popular now," Roy said.

Parked next to Roy's green Chevy was Rick and Judy Armstrong's 1932 Ford Roadster, transported from Ardmore, Okla. Rick Armstrong works in the northern Kansas area sometimes, and the couple has made the Stockton car show both years.

"We have fun with them," Rick Armstrong said of his classic restored cars. "You can't not drive them."

Beyond the car show, there were children's activities, including a bicycle rodeo sponsored by the Stockton Police Department, at the nearby Stockton Medical Clinic parking lot.

It was there Noah Griffin, 5, was riding round-and-round on his bicycle.

"Any opportunity that he has to bring his bike to town and ride, he thinks he's pretty big stuff," said his mother, Jana, of rural Stockton.

The Griffins planned to take in all the sights of the car show as soon as they could pry Noah from his bicycle. For them and others, it was a great way to spend time with family on a summer day.

"It takes a lot of people," Libby Kester said. "It's great to have the whole community come together and get this done."