CARROLLTON, Ky. (October 2003) The late Raymond Ray was a
staple in the Carrollton-based Kentucky Kruizers car club. Former
member Phil Wotring said, He was Mr. Kentucky Kruizer.
by Don Ward
cars on display.
Rays success is attributed to the fact that he did a
lot and was president longer than anyone else, said
current president Gene Kinman. Kinman is a charter member of the car
enthusiasts club, which began 11 years ago. Although Ray died of cancer
last year, the club continues to operate in basically the same way,
Through an annual car show, Saturday night car cruises and holiday
events held at Gen. Butler State Resort Park on Halloween and Valentines
Day, the Kentucky Kruizers have made a name for themselves. Throughout
the year, their generous efforts at giving back to the community do
not go unnoticed.
The Kentucky Kruizers are one of the areas most active nonprofit
organizations. Last Christmas, the Kruizers sponsored Shop With
a Cop. This year, Kinman is setting his sights on the Feed
the Child program for the holiday season.
The Kruizers help out the community and do many worthwhile things
for children, said member Ruby Anderson. She joined the club along
with her husband, Charlie, who is a mechanic. Due to her husbands
profession, Anderson said they were in from the get go.
A spectator attending one of their Saturday night cruises for the
first time can expect to have a great time. You dont even
need a car, to participate, said Kinman.
Entrants are always welcome to join the Kruizers on the third Saturday
of the month in the Carrollton Wal-Mart parking lot. They play host
to a series of cruises from April through October, with the last one
scheduled for Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. Wal-Mart allots them a monthly donation
for door prizes.
Kinman remembers that the first car cruise he organized in Carrollton
was snowed out. But Kinman, a die-hard car enthusiast, believes that
the show must go on as scheduled.
I fell in love with cars as I grew up, he said. The Kentucky
Kruziers got their start when Kinman met Wotring, an Atlanta native
who now resides in Milton, Ky.
Phil couldnt believe there wasnt a car show in this
area, said Kinman. The two men laid the groundwork for the Kentucky
Kruizers, and their first show was sponsored through the local Rotary
Club. Their goal was to provide a show in which participants and patrons
alike could take a lot of pride in, said Kinman.
Wotring said what prompted him to start the club was the fact that
there were no venues in the area for people to share their interests
in cars. There wasnt even a club in Madison at the time,
Wotring is no longer a member of the Kruizers, but he is active now
in the Madison-based Classic Automobiles of Madison (CAM) Club. He
produces a newsletter for CAM.
Kinman said he is the most active member of the club.
He often drives out-of-state to attend car shows. He recently traveled
to Pontiac, Mich., and to the Shades of the Past car show
in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Along with his son, Paul, Kinman has rebuilt his yellow 1956 Chevy
pickup. He also owns a green 1929 Model-A two-door sedan.
Being a member of the Kentucky Kruizers affords Kinman the opportunity
to enjoy being around cars and people. Entrants often
park their cars and swap information on ways to improve or add to
their cars. For the Andersons, this is a time to get together
and have fun.
On Sept. 20, the Kruizers held their major fundraiser at Point Park.
Anderson said 133 cars were entered in the 10th annual Car-Truck &
Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. This was one of the best
shows they have ever had, she said. Participants traveled from Indiana,
Ohio, Louisville and Lexington to show their vehicles.
Cars are Wotrings hobby, just as books or music might interest
other folks. They are works of art. You learn to appreciate
them, he said.
One quality he enjoys the most is meeting great people through the
vast network of car shows.
Its just the fellowship of being together, that
Kinman enjoys most.
For more information on the Kentucky Kruizers, call Kinman
at (502) 732-5630.