Inaugural car show to support Temple’s auto ministry

By BETH BUNCH,

Whether it’s one of Dennis Pierce’s classic beauties, Todd Mixon’s red 1966 Chevelle 396 or Kelly Bryant’s 1966 Mustang, you’re sure to see some beauties at Saturday’s All American Car Show at Temple Baptist Church in west Hattiesburg.

The show, in its inaugural year, runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 6, and will feature upwards of 300 cars  – classic, foreign, exotic, rat rods, motorcycles – from across the South, according to Lee Gill, a TBC member, who is involved in the church’s Auto Ministry, which benefits from the show’s proceeds.

There will also be static displays with military and emergency-style vehicles. 

“Temple looks for opportunities to invite folks onto our campus, to get involved and show our involvement in the community,” Gill said. “This car show is just one example of an outreach opportunity for the church. We want the community to come out, see our campus and our members and see the love of Jesus poured out through something like classic cars.”

Donations raised from the show will go to benefit the church’s Auto Ministry.

Gill explained that the program benefits mainly single mothers who have children, work, need to get children to school and all things families do. “But sometimes their car breaks, and they may not have money to fix the car,” he said. “The men at Temple Baptist have seen that need and for ladies who are members here, we try and help them keep their cars on the road to help serve their occupations and their families.”

The car show will include 10 classes of judging with a $5,000 purse to be split between the 10 classes.

“We are sharing the love of Jesus,” said Gill. “That’s what Temple is all about. It’s just one of the many ways to invite people onto our campus in addition to the 4th of July Celebrate America; a Christmas production and an upcoming Easter service toward end of month.” Gill said they invite the public back for Good Friday, then to bring the children out on Saturday when a helicopter will drop eggs for the children to scramble and collect. 

“These events will be followed by Easter Sunday when we celebrate our risen Savior,” Gill said.

According to TBC Media Director Tanner Cade, “Apparently most register the day of the event. I’m not sure if that’s a guy thing or what. Being this is the first year to do it, we’re not quite sure what the numbers are supposed to be.”

Cade said they had advertised a lot across the state, Alabama and Louisiana, around the Mobile, Ala. and Covington, La., areas, as well as Baton Rouge.

Pierce, a contractor and car show committee member, has 7, 8 or 9 classics, and said he needs to thin his herd. He will have four vehicles in the show –  a 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon, economy version of The Woodie, a purple and crème 1953 98 Oldsmobile, a 1971 Mach 1 Mustang and a 1923 Model T-T dump truck. 

Some days his wife, Gwen, believes they should sell all the cars and just buy one good one, said Dennis. 

“You just don’t know how frustrating it is when they don’t work,” she said. “But they are fun when they run.”

Pierce said he’ll load up one of his classics with a group of five or six and drive down to Bay St. Louis, to eat somewhere. “But we usually have to have a tow truck behind us because one of them is going to break down,” he said. 

Pierce will also have three classic automobiles in this year’s Cruising the Coast.

In addition to Mixon’s 1966 Chevelle, he’ll also be displaying a 1967 Chevelle Malibu and a 1973 Chevrolet pickup his dad bought new in 1972.

His 1966 Chevelle was exactly the same kind of car Mixon had in high school. “1967 was the year and I’d been looking for one just like it ever since and I finally found this one in Missouri,” he said. “I bought it a couple of years ago, completely restored, and it’s better than new.”

Mixon said he was excited about the show.

“It’s going to be a fun day,” the church member said. “We think 300 is going to be a conservative number, based on what kind of day it is. He said there will be catfish, barbeque, crawfish, music and a lot going on. “There will be something for everybody, plus give us a chance to get out and see each other’s cars, and some of us bragging rights.”

Those planning to attend the family-friendly event should bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and spend the day. “We will have food, music and good fellowship on campus,” Mixon said.