The annual Jalopy Showdown at Beaver Springs has always been a treat for gearheads of all ages. Always a handful of “rat rods” that bring out the jalopy side of hot rodding to be seen, full of the special ingenuity no longer experienced among the current generation of those on the street scene. The showdown part of the name is a middle misleading at times at this event. Richard Horton told me, “What makes this event really special is that everyone’s not in ‘kill mode,’ we’re all just out here to have fun.” He’s been having fun with his “Hyper” Nova for 28 years now, so that’s a good indicator of just how much fun he’s been having. John Labuda and Dave Fenzel both had feelings that were similar in nature, “just out having fun and enjoying the event.” Scott Hasko was getting ready to make another round and had to wipe down the bottom of his car to make sure nothing would drip down on the track. He was already looking forward to “freshening” up the engine after the season to get ready for next year. There was a bit of the showdowns of old as the East Coast Gassers run for points, their season nearly complete. They did put on quite a show, but they weren’t the highlight of the day. What was the real showdown, you ask? The real showdown on this day was for supremacy of wheelstanding. Just prior to the competition, Mike Etchberger suffered a setback at the starting line. A little post-breakdown thrashing had Etchberger back just in time to make the wheelstand competition. Successful wheelstands by Danny White, Mike Etchberger (whose car looked like it saluted the flag), and Don Moyer brought the crowd to its’ feet. In the end, Danny White successfully defended his title from the previous year with his wicked, wheelstanding Ford, but the matchup everyone wanted to see was the side-by-side competition between the Willys of Mike Etchberger and the Willys of Don Moyer. The side-by-side wheelstands by those two cars are what memories are made of. They are what really put the “showdown” in the Jalopy Showdown and keep us coming back for more.
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