Low Bucks revs for last ride

Published 3:29 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

Low Bucks Car Club President Ed Anderson, left, and Kraig Schuhmacher, former president, stand in front of Anderson’s car, a ’48 Chevy Business Coupe, and Schuhmacher’s car, a 1973 Olds Cutlass. Anderson and Schuhmacher are just two of the Low Bucks Car Club members who are planning the 25th annual Eddie Cochran Weekend, which kicks off Friday. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

After more than two decades of one of Albert Lea’s signature summer events, the Low Bucks Car Club will sponsor its 25th and last Eddie Cochran Weekend on Friday and Saturday.

Club President Ed Anderson said with a smaller, aging club population, the group is running out of help.

During the height of the club’s years, there were as many as 125 members. Now, there’s only about 25 — with the average age between 58 and 60 years old, he said.

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Former Low Bucks Car Club President Kraig Schuhmacher said it appears younger generations in general seem to be turned off by organized activities, including clubs, service organizations and even churches.

A Low Bucks Car Club plaque sits in the back of a 1948 Chevy Business Coupe owned by Ed Anderson of Albert Lea. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Some younger people can’t afford the costs involved with fixing up an older vehicle, Anderson added.

“It’s not finances, it’s manpower,” Anderson said about the club’s decision to close down the event.

Anderson and Schuhmacher said the club already scaled back on events in an attempt to help the weekend stay alive. Events used to be held on three days; now they are on two. The club used to give out first, second and third-place trophies; now it gives out only first and second-place ones.

“The club was started to have fun,” Anderson said. “The last 10 or so years, it’s turned into more of a business venture.”

Club members are grateful for the support they’ve received over the years.

The itinerary

Despite the sad news, there is still a full schedule of family-friendly activities planned for Friday and Saturday.

Events kick off Friday evening with a cruise-in social from 6 to 9 p.m. at Country Inn & Suites. Trophies sponsored by Country Inn & Suites will be given for categories of “Oldie But Goodie,” “People’s Choice,” and “Long Distance.”

The social will be followed by a free drive-in showing of “American Graffiti.” Anderson said this was the movie that was shown during the first year of the Eddie Cochran Weekend, so it was only fitting to show it again during the last year.

The movie will be at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds and is open to the public.

Saturday begins with the Hospice walk/run at 7:30 a.m., starting from the fairgrounds.

Registration for the Low Bucks Car Show & Swap Meet begins at 8 a.m. and goes through noon. The show goes from noon to 4 p.m.

There is a $10 registration fee per show car. Public admission to the show is $2 per person, with 50 percent of the car show proceeds going to the Eddie Cochran Scholarship Fund.

First- and second-place awards will be given out in 40 different classes at 3:30 p.m.

After the show, the line-up for the 26-mile cruise will begin at 4 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. the cruise will begin.

As many as 400 have attended the line-up, social and cruise in the past.

There will be live music by The Cruisers afterward.

The Eddie Cochran and Marion Ross exhibits at the Freeborn County Historical Society will be open at various times throughout the weekend, including 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Event T-shirts will also be available throughout the weekend, along with other past memorabilia.

Events will be held rain or shine.

“I enjoy this,” Anderson said. “I’ve always been a car fanatic. I’m going to miss it, I really am — all the camaraderie.”