Driven to help Cops and Kids

A year ago, Joe McGinnis took his black 1965 Ford Mustang convertible to a car show for the first time.

The Seymour man knew proceeds from the Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show were going to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108’s Cops and Kids program, so he was more than happy to participate.

The program provides Christmas presents to children in need, and the FOP helps kids year-round with scholarships, youth sports teams and other opportunities.

On Friday, McGinnis and Sue Roy of Seymour decided to get the classic car out again and take it to downtown Seymour for the second year of the car show.

Again, they experienced the feeling of helping out a good cause.

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“That means a lot to me. I think it’s very important for the kids that don’t have anything at Christmas,” McGinnis said.

“He’s big on the kids, I would have to say that,” Roy said of McGinnis.

Besides receiving Christmas presents, Roy said Cops and Kids allows children to have positive interactions with police officers.

“It will probably help kids to have a good feeling about policemen and to not be scared or intimidated by them,” she said. “It’s a good thing that they understand that they are there to be their friend.”

The Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show is a partnership between the FOP and Seymour Area Cruisers car club. It started last year the night before the popular Scoop the Loop event, which draws thousands of people to the downtown to drive their vehicles around or sit back and watch.

The FOP also sold root beer and Big Red floats during last year’s Scoop the Loop. Between that and the car show, they raised about $ 5,000 for Cops and Kids. This year’s show brought in $ 7,700.

Formerly known as Shop with a Cop, the program is in its 27th year in Jackson County. Foster said the shopping event typically is conducted on the first or second Saturday of December at Walmart Supercenter in Seymour.

Children ages 4 to 16 are paired with local police officers, who go around the store and help them select items, including clothing, shoes and toys.

For years, each child could spend around $ 100, but that increased to $ 130 last year. Foster said he hopes to do the same this year.

The inaugural car show last year had 88 preregistered vehicles and wound up with 167.

This year, there were 111 preregistered and 244 total vehicles on display. The Robertson Mill and Walnut Street parking lots were full, and they spilled onto the lawn along Tipton Street and on St. Louis Avenue.

It cost $ 15 to enter the show, and the first 100 entries received a free dash plaque. There also were goody bags and more than 300 door prizes given away, which doubled from last year.

“If a person enters (the show), basically, they are going to get their money back just with the door prize alone,” said C.J. Foster, president of the FOP.

“People have been extremely gracious donating prizes,” he said. “I think everybody knows where the money goes. They know it’s a great cause. … I think last year and this year again, we’re continuing earning our credibility as far as doing something like this. I’m blown away by the support. That’s all I can say. I’ve had people walk up and just give me checks today to support it.”

The event also included raffles, a silent auction, food and drink vendors and live music by Bad Medicine.

The number of awards handed out doubled this year, too. There were 25 categories with the top prize being best of show. Members of the FOP and car club helped with judging.

This year’s Best of Show went to Gary Myers of Seymour with his 1952 Olds 88 restomod.

David Runge of Crothersville was among the participants in Friday’s show. Like McGinnis and Roy, he was happy to have the opportunity to help a worthy cause.

“I always like coming because it benefits the kids and the cops,” he said. “It’s real good because if their family can’t afford it, this helps support it, and they can get what they want.”

Runge brought his white and green 1973 Ford Maverick to the show.

“I bought it brand new when I turned 21,” he said. “Original paint and interior. Nobody has ever sat in the back seat. I’ve got the original hood and motor for it.”

The car only has 36,000 miles, and Runge said he shows it a couple of times a year. At last year’s Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show, he won the best Ford award.

“They love it,” he said of car show attendees. “Everybody wants to buy it.”

But he always tells people he’s hanging onto the car.

“I love showing it,” he said. “We had it down at Carl Casper’s (Custom Auto Show in Louisville) three times and got second, third and fourth with it. I’ve got over 100 trophies at the house.”

McGinnis also likes showing off his car, which he bought four years ago.

“It was in good shape, other than the people couldn’t get the lights to work and the turn signals,” he said. “I had to get all of that fixed. I spent quite a bit of time on it.”

Since last year’s Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show, McGinnis said he has participated in a few other car shows.

“I just wanted something to do,” he said. “I retired May 26, and I’ve had this (Mustang) all of this time, and I hadn’t been able to use it or anything because I worked so much.”

McGinnis and Roy said they like hearing people’s comments about the car.

“Everybody likes it,” McGinnis said.

“Especially the people our age because they were the popular cars back when we were first driving,” Roy added.

While McGinnis said he likes the feel of driving the convertible, Roy would rather be in the passenger seat.

“I’ve never even cared to drive it,” she said.

On the Web

For information about the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108 and Cops and Kids program, visit facebook.com/foplodge108.

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