Classics for charity
Summer produces classics for charity at the Owatonna Eagles Club 1791.
The parking lot at the Eagles Club has turned into a lot of classic cars for a few hours every Thursday night throughout the summer as a way to raise money for cancer research.
The cruise event has drawn as many as 67 classics to the parking lot party in one night. A typical week usually sees about 40 vehicles. They don’t charge anyone to display their vehicles. Spectators vote for their choice of a winning classic.
Last Thursday, Gary Broughton of Owatonna brought out his 1962 Chevy Impala for the first time to the classic. He got the classic four years ago. “This is what my wife bought me when I retired,” he said.
Even though he is retired, Broughton confesses he doesn’t get the car out as much as he’d like. He is a member of the Minnesota Impala Club in Bloomington.
George Klecker of Blooming Prairie brought his 1935 Harley Davidson, which he has owned for about 30 years. “It purrs like a kitten,” he said.
The Eagles also fire up the grill to offer spectators brats, hamburgers and hot dogs, which have been donated by Cashwise Foods for the past three years.
“It’s all for charity,” says Brett Carlson, one of the organizers as he flips a hamburger behind his face mask. “There was no cancer auction this year. COVID has hit us pretty hard so we wanted to make some money for the cancer telethon,” he said.
The Eagles are used to making large donations to the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester in January.
Last year the Eagles raised $4,000 in 12 weeks of the classic car show. After seven weeks this year, the Eagles have raised $3,400.
The show, Carlson said, has drawn better attendance this year compared to past years. He credits the uptick in people coming out partially to COVID-19. “People are looking to do something outdoors and have fun,” he said.
Carlson has been involved with the car cruise for eight years. “Our motto is people helping people,” he says. “When I signed up, I was looking to help and give back to the community.”
Carlson, who works in cancer research at the Mayo Clinic, says he likes coming out to the classic shows because he is stuck in an office all day. “I love these cars and it’s fun to have an opportunity to do this and make money for charity,” he said. “It’s kind of a win, win, win.”
The final classic show for this season will be Thursday, Sept. 2 from 5-7:30 p.m.