Pardeeville Car Show celebrates quiet, sunny 15th anniversary

September 4, 2018
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Judge Dale Schmid checks out the interior of a 1953 Chevy pickup belonging to Tom Coleman of Portage during the 15th annual Pardeeville Car and Truck Show in Chandler Park on Saturday afternoon. The threat of rain throughout the weekend was a widely assumed factor in a turnout of roughly 150 vehicles as opposed to up to 1,000 at past shows.

PARDEEVILLE — The sun came out Saturday afternoon at the Pardeeville Car and Truck Show, but it was too little, too late for many.

“It’s a lot quieter than it has been in previous years ,” said judge Dale Schmid, after finishing notes on a sky blue 1951 Chevy pickup, comparing this year’s turnout to his four previous years judging. “Definitely a lot of people are not here — usually there are about 1,000 cars or so, and I don’t know what we’re up to, but nowhere near that.”

Leading up to the event the National Weather Service had been predicting a Labor Day weekend of varying chances of rain and thunderstorms. Many participants also drive down from Endeavor, Montello and Packwaukee in Marquette County, where residents are still recovering from tornado, straight wind and flood damage from the previous Tuesday night.

“Many people are worried because it could be raining all around and we’re not having any rain,” said volunteer organizer Sandy Ebben. “That’s what happened another year to us.”

Among the volunteers making the rounds of Chandler Park, Ebben was overseeing a group of about a dozen at the registration center, with help coming from local church members and relatives. Participants were estimated at 130.

“Last year we had so many cars here already, and now we don’t,” said Ebben. “But there’s still a good showing, more than we thought.”

The event which is a fundraiser for local, national and international Christian ministries, draws automotive experts from around the region to judge.

“For me, I know the hood and the trunk. If you look at my whole department here, there is maybe one person who knows something about cars,” Ebben said. “We just do it because we love it and enjoy doing it for the Lord.”

Participants come to the event with different combinations of ideas about the their vehicles, partly personal passion, competition, business, and in many cases, family heritage.

“His dad had the car since ’63, so he grew up in it,” said Lynn Seidel of Beaver Dam, who had had been sitting with her husband Rick behind a 1951 Buick, that was displayed with its hood opened horizontally on a driver’s side hinge.

Rick Seidel’s father had the Buick before he had him, purchased from a teacher at an Oklahoma dealership, with 87,000 miles on the odometer.

“When I was real little, he used to drag race that and then in the late ’70s he started doing the car shows,” Rick Seidel said, “and then it must have been in the early 2000s where he was starting to have health issues. Being that everything is manual, it takes a lot of strength in the legs and the arms to drive it and I would start to drive it with my dad and my mom had a ’58 Bel Air hard top that she would drive.”

They made a point to get to as many shows as possible before his dad died, eventually having mornings where they were praying for rain.

“In June we won a trophy and that was the first trophy I won on my own,” Seidel said. “My dad has won it in the past throughout the years, but the body was starting to get a little rough.”

Although he inherited the car, Seidel explained that he had to make clear to his father that his did not inherit a knack for repair, so despite his father’s reservations about anyone touching it, eventually they would need help.

“I grew up in the car — it means so much to us,” Seidel said. “We keep putzing with it: I want to dip into the chrome business. I want to do that trunk lid mechanism and the hood ornament and eventually I’d like to get the bumper redone.”

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