The parking lot in front of the gymnasium at Oakdale High School was abuzz with revving engines, creative parking, and throngs of students on Thursday, April 17.
But it wasn’t just another day at the high school. It was all on purpose as part of a well-organized car show that was the result of a project for Leadership class chaired by OHS senior Austin Steves.
He said that his Leadership teacher Guy Fowler just assigned the car show to him and put him in charge. Fowler thought that it seemed “appropriate” because Steves’ family owns an auto dealership and saw it as a natural fit for the teen.
“This was an event done at my high school when I was in high school and I enjoyed it,” Fowler said as the impetus for getting such an event going at OHS.
He added that the car show was a great way to kick off the Spring Break and that it has been in the planning stages since October.
Steves reported that 26 student vehicles were entered into the car show, which included newer and classic cars, pickup trucks, race cars, and even a motorcycle. There were also five exhibition vehicles from the Steves Chevrolet dealership, as well as show trucks that had been entered in a show at the very large SEMA auto industry convention in Las Vegas.
He reported that it was free for students to enter their cars in the show and he was glad that so many put their cars in the show.
Senior Mitchell Molletta is a bit of a car show veteran, having entered them before.
“Car shows are just fun. Good time, good events,” he said.
Molletta’s entry was a red 1975 Pontiac Trans Am. He said that his brother restored the car when he was in high school, and now he, his brother, and dad all work on it together, and have some plans to do some more work on it. The only thing they haven’t done themselves was the paint job.
Special OHS Car Show T-shirts were handed out to the car show participants, and plaques were made and awarded for the best male car, best female car, best male truck, best female truck, first through third places of 1950-1970 autos, and first through third place of 1970-2000 autos, Principal’s Choice, and Best Sound System.
The car show judges consisted of OHS coach Tim Meyer, teacher Bob Wessling, auto shop teacher Josh Bennet, and Jordan Verma of Car Audio Depot, who judged the best audio system.
Steves said that he had several months to work on the event but it really came together in about three weeks – which he admitted was a little stressful because of tests, assignments, and being on the golf team. He said that he learned a lesson about planning in advance because there was a lot involved with booking the vehicles that had shown in Las Vegas, getting a deejay, and handling all the other details.
“Learning event management is part of what we do. There are so many little things. They don’t realize that. It’s part of what they learn in Leadership class,” Fowler said. “Austin and his committee did a great job with this. They brought in some exhibition (vehicles), designed the plaques. They did a great job. The kids love it.”
He added that the plan is to make the car show an annual event and that it’ll be open to student vehicles of any kind – cars, trucks, motorcycles, quads, anything that runs.
Steves noted that he had a lot of support from Fowler and his dad Jeff Steves, who he said never misses work but took time off from work to help out. Steves also said that TCS Suspension, Show Off Motorsports, Car Audio Depot, and Forbidden Motorsports all helped in various ways by either providing exhibition vehicles, judging, or supported the show in some fashion. He said that Marcio Leal of TCS and Billy Mekelburg of Showoff each provided their show trucks that were shown.