Classic Car Craze

Kentucky Kruizers car collectors
give back to their community

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

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.”

Classic cars

Photo by Don Ward

Classic cars on display.

Ray’s 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, he said.

Through an annual car show, Saturday night car cruises and holiday events held at Gen. Butler State Resort Park on Halloween and Valentine’s 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 area’s 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 husband’s 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 don’t 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 couldn’t believe there wasn’t 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 wasn’t even a club in Madison at the time, he said.
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 Anderson’s, 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 Wotring’s 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.”
It’s just the “fellowship of being together,” that Kinman enjoys most.

For more information on the Kentucky Kruizers, call Kinman at (502) 732-5630.



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