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Sowers Club member Ed Packard judges an entry at the 2018 show

Sowers Club member Ed Packard judges an entry at the 2018 Sowers Club Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show. The fourth annual show is coming to the Gateway Mall parking lot Sunday, May 19, occupying the former Sears parking area.

Successful car shows involve a combination of extensive planning and good luck.

The fourth annual Sowers Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show, coming to the Gateway Mall parking lot next weekend, certainly has the pre-planning elements to make it a success. But shows addressing even the most minute detail need some help from Mother Nature.

Car Show chairman Stan Dinges and his cadre of more than 30 Sowers Club volunteers – including nearly a dozen who serve as judges – hope Mother Nature smiles on their show this year, scheduled for Sunday, May 19, in the former Sears parking lot, 6100 O St.

Threatening rain had an adverse effect on last year’s show and limited registration to just over 50 entrants. The first two shows – blessed with good weather – drew nearly 100 entries in the first year, and a record-high 108 entries the following year.

The event is the only car show of its kind on the Gateway Mall parking lot grounds. The past three years, the shows were held on the west end of the mall’s parking lot. This year’s show is moving a bit farther east and has better visibility, occupying a larger, vacant area that had served as the Sears parking lot.

Vehicles will be registered from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; the show may be viewed between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with awards announced beginning at 3 p.m.

Dinges is a huge proponent of car-show entries that have hoods down and trunk lids closed.

“Doors may be open, and convertibles may have tops up or down, but those are the only exceptions at our show,” he said. “Our show gives the owner the opportunity to show the vehicle exactly as it appears on the street.”

Forty classes will be offered this year.

How to register

All entrants pay a $20 fee. The first 50 to register will receive a goodie bag with a free lunch, a $10 Lincoln Colby Ridge gift card and other incentives.

Entry forms may be submitted online at SowersClubofLincoln.com and at the Sowers office: mail to 1701 S. 17th St., Suite 1H, Lincoln, NE 68502.

There is no admission fee for spectators. Hot dogs and beverages will be sold on the grounds.

Lots of gift cards

Dinges has been aggressively beating the streets, soliciting donated gift cards as a means of fundraising beyond the registration fees. As of May 1, he had collected cards with a combined face value of more than $3,000.

To become eligible to win one or more gift cards, simply stop by the ticket booth the day of the show and purchase as many tickets as desired. Gift-card winners’ names will be announced throughout the show. Gift-card winners needn’t be present to win. Anyone who is absent at the time his or her name is drawn will be notified by phone.

Special entries to see

Lincoln Fire & Rescue will have a unit on display between 11 a.m. and noon and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Law enforcement agencies to be represented at the show include:

- the Nebraska State Patrol, with a seat-belt demonstration;

- the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department, with its SWAT and Rescue vehicle; and

- the Lincoln Police Department, bringing a patrol car.

The show will also reach out to younger ages this year by introducing a youth class for those 20 years of age and under, and two Daily Driver classes that require the entries to be driven at least 5,000 miles per year.

Dinges said the show adds a personal touch for its winners: Trophy recipients will get their names engraved on their prize hardware. “The plaques will be mailed to the recipients, allowing us to add the personalized engraving to the award.”

On-site music will be provided by the Dixie Downbeats, in addition to a disc jockey’s entertainment.

Charities to benefit

Proceeds from the show’s entry fees and auction-ticket sales will once again benefit the Lincoln Autism Family Network and the Child Advocacy Center. Last year, each charity received $2,500 as a result of the show.

The Autism Family Network, based at 5700 R St., supports individuals and their families with autism spectrum disorders.

The Child Advocacy Center, 5025 Garland St., is a Lincoln nonprofit that provides forensic interviews and medical evaluations for child victims of abuse.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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