Vintage vehicles, massive buffet highlight CHEER show

From left, CHEER Car, Truck and Bike Show co-chairs Walt Koopman and Florence Mason, and CHEER Executive Director Ken Bock stand in front of the trophies and items up for grabs. The Aug. 3 event will be held at the CHEER Community Center on Sand Hill Road in Georgetown. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

GEORGETOWN — If you’re a connoisseur of vintage and classic vehicles or are hungry for a buffet feast, mark your calendar.

Saturday, Aug. 3 is the date for an event driven to support the ongoing financial needs for CHEER Inc.’s new commercial kitchen that will serve the nutritional needs of homebound seniors in Sussex County.

That day, CHEER’s ninth annual Car, Truck and Bike Show will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CHEER Community Center on Sand Hill Road, just east of Georgetown. This year’s theme is “Wheels for Meals.”

The event also includes a gala gourmet champagne brunch.

The parking lot of the CHEER Community Center is the staging and viewing venue for vehicle entries, which typically include vintage classics and high-powered machines, the likes of which in the past have included Mustangs, Jaguars, Corvettes, Ferraris, Thunderbirds, Porsches, Mercedes along with an assortment of motorcycles, trucks and jeeps.

The first 125 cars registered receive dash plaques. All entries receive goodie bags filled with items and information.

Trophies will be awarded in several categories. On the list:

• Entrant who travels the farthest.

• Oldest entry (car, bike or truck).

• Two Best in Show; one from CHEER and another from Sussex County Council.

“The one from county council has to be presented to the entry, the applicant who is from Sussex County, and that’s only fair,” said Walter Koopman, the show’s co-chairman. “The other one can go to anybody.”

The 2018 show featured a 1902 Oldsmobile owned by John Masters.

This year, there is a new trophy category.

“This is the first year that we’re going to have a trophy for the best military vehicle,” said Mr. Koopman.

John Masters, left, owner of a 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, shares information on his antique with Mike Rogers, of the Historical Vintage Car Club of Delaware, at last year’s show in Georgetown.

He will again have on display his 1956 Porsche 550 Spider and his firetruck red 1965 Matra-Bonnet, which has connections to the French aerospace company, Matra, and Soviet space cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who received the Matra as a gift from the French government during his tour of France in 1965.

This year, judging for the show is going pro.

“This year we have a group; professionals doing our judging. That seems to be a problem in the club areas where the clubs start judging and they show favoritism,” said Mr. Koopman.

Last year’s show drew upward of more than 100 entries.

“We should have a good variety,” said Mr. Koopman.

Online registration is available at www.cheerde.com.

CHEER employees may enter the show but their vehicles are not eligible for judging.

The event also features entertainment and a Chinese auction.

Outside, the Hot Sauce Band, a guitar duo, will provide “music with a spicy flair.”

“I have never heard guitars played like that in my life,” Mr. Koopman said.

Inside the community center, Tyler Greene will offer soft jazz-type music.

This show is one of several fundraising efforts supporting CHEER’s Cooking for Sussex Seniors campaign — a $1.6 million kitchen project at the Warren L. and Charles C. Allen Jr. CHEER Community Center.

This project, which includes renovation of the existing kitchen at the community center and expansion, will enable CHEER to move from its current outdated, undersized kitchen base at the Thurman Adams State Service Center that presents logistical challenges in meeting the daily need to produce 1,700 meals for the Meals on Wheels homebound delivery program.

Walter Koopman’s silver Porsche and red Matra return for the 2019 CHEER Car, Truck and Bike Show Aug. 3 at the CHEER Community Center in Georgetown.

The current kitchen was built to prepare about 800 meals daily.

After the car, bike and truck show, CHEER’s major events slate has Beach Day Sept. 24 at the Rehoboth Convention Center and Boardwalk, the Moonlit Evening Ball built around the film “Casablanca” Saturday, Oct. 26 and Frontier Festival/A 50+ Healthy Living Expo Friday, May 1, 2020.

“All funding goes to cooking for seniors, every penny,” Mr. Koopman said. “I know just as well as the rest of you, the quicker we leave this building and build that kitchen over there how much better we are going to be, all of us. This is a closet here.”

Champagne brunch buffet

What adds a different twist to the CHEER show is the champagne gourmet brunch, an all-you-can-eat buffet feast measuring more than 20 yards long.

“We offer a 64-foot champagne brunch, starting with breakfast,” said Mr. Koopman. “We don’t have sandwiches. You go to Hershey, Pennsylvania, and I’ve been there — $375 to enter my car — and I’m eating fancy sandwiches, because they took the crust off of it. We give you a hot meal. We decorate the place like we know what we are doing, because we do.”

Among the brunch selections: steamed shrimp, prime rib, vegetables, breakfast foods and more. Brunch tickets are $25.

The 64-foot champagne gourmet brunch is a signature attraction at the CHEER Car, Truck and Bike Show.

Champagne and selections of red and white wines augment the brunch.

Tickets for the brunch, which is open to the public, are available at the door or online at www.cheerde.com (click on “Events”).

“A lot of people come that don’t have a car, but they like to see the cars and they buy the brunch ticket,” said Mr. Koopman.

The vehicle registration is $25 per vehicle. However, $50 gets one entry registration and two champagne brunch tickets. Registration for vehicles is open, including online at www.cheerde.com (click on Events).

For more information, contact Florence Mason at 302-515-3045.

Parade procession

During the show, a maximum of 10 to 12 selected entries will participate in a parade procession with a Georgetown Police escort leading the group into town, around The Circle and back to the community center.

CHEER, which has obtained a parade permit, has secured the Georgetown Police Department for security.

“Georgetown PD is good to us,” said CHEER executive director Ken Bock.

‘Car Guy’ Trophy

In a special award, Mr. Koopman will select the recipient of the Fred Wittmer Memorial Trophy — created in memory of his longtime friend, who brought several of his classic cars to CHEER’s shows in support of its senior services and programs.

Larry Salathe of Selbyville spiffs up his silver 1998 Corvette during the 2018 event.

“Fred was the ‘Car Guy.’ When this all started Fred had four cars and I had three, so we’d come in with seven cars starting off,” said Mr. Koopman.

The award doesn’t necessarily go to the most expensive or the coolest-looking entry.

“I have to think like Fred would; somebody who has attended, somebody that really maybe doesn’t have a car that is really going to get a trophy, but they come anyway because they like the camaraderie with fellow friends. That’s who I look to,” said Mr. Koopman. “We try to give it to somebody that … cleans up their car the best they can and is coming and realizes what the entry fee represents, the good of cooking and feeding seniors in Sussex County out of CHEER. That is why we do all of this. Every penny goes to that.”

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