SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There is a group of car lovers who meet every Wednesday in KELOLAND. The Great Plains Street Rodders has 360 members. This past week they took part in a special event at the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls
The Slogan of the Great Plains Street Rodders is “All Cars, All Fun.”
“We only have one rule about the car, there are no rules, so whatever kind of car you have, however much money you’ve got invested, you’re welcome,” said Kevin Lucas longtime a member of the Great Plains Street Rodders.
This last week more than 200 cars lined the parking lot at the VA Hospital. The organizer of this event says there is a strong connection between cars and those who have served in the military.
“Coming home from war, even myself you know I’m an Iraq and Afghanistan vet enduring freedom vet been around the world a couple of times and you come back to those little treasures, you know like a motorcycle or a car its those little things that mean a lot,” said Kelly Riedel of the Sioux Falls VA.
David Lovaas’s daughter works at the VA and told him about the special car show.
“It brings back so many memories because of cars in the 50s, I had a 55 Ford so and what work they’ve done on these cars to make them look like they do so it’s an amazing thing,” said Vietnam veteran David Lovaas.
At these get together’s it is conversation and cars…
David ran into fellow Vietnam Veteran, Henry Mattheis, and his wife. Henry restored this beautiful 1966 Ford Fairlane.
“I painted the car myself straightened all the dents, built the motor transmission rear end its been kind of my pride and joy,” said Mattheis.
Henry has heart disease he says brought on by agent orange. He had a heart attack in 09 and his doctor told him to find a hobby.
“I built this car though as a therapy car, it was a 160-dollar junker,” said Mattheis.
Hard to believe with the way it looks and sounds now.
Like most car lovers, Henry has a story or two to share. One involves his former four-legged shop assistant.
“I had an old cat that used to hang out in the shop with me and two months before I finished the car he got kidney disease and I had to put him down so his picture is on my steering wheel. His name was Buddy Cat, Buddy Cat, nice,” said Mattheis.
Henry says he was working on cars by the time he was 13. Some of the older members of the street rodders look forward to seeing younger car lovers join their ranks.
“We also encourage the young people, they are doing what we did with 55, 56, 57 Chevy’s that we could buy for 200 bucks, they are buying a Honda Civic for 800 or a thousand dollars and they are doing their own thing, but it involves a computer where ours didn’t,” said Lucas.
To be a member of the Great Plains Street Rodders, all it takes is a car you love and ten dollars a year in dues.