Lovers of anything with wheels and community supporters filled the parking lot of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler on Saturday for the 33rd Annual East Texas Auto and Cycle Show hosted by the East Texas Crisis Center.
“This is the East Texas Crisis Center’s largest public fundraising event,” said Jeremy Flowers, director of marketing and public relations for the East Texas Crisis Center. “For 33 years, it has helped raise proceeds to support the services and programs.”
One way people participated in donating to the fundraiser was buying raffle tickets for the main event.
“We’re giving away a 1965 Mustang,” Flowers said. “It’s a $10 donation to win the car. It was donated by a local Tylerite; it’s a custom Mustang.”
The Mustang features a red and white interior — detail that was special to a previous owner who was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. Not only does this custom-made classic drive like it can fly — with a fuel-injected 347 V8 engine under the hood — but it has features like Bluetooth streaming, hands-free phone, ambient interior lighting, automatic on/off sensing headlights, cruise control and air conditioning. The car has an automatic overdrive transmission.
The winner of the 1965 Mustang was raffle ticket 06059, which belonged to Patti Mehling.
It was a paradise for automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts, as over 250 vehicles were in the lineup for the show.
Also included at the show were many different activities for families and kids of all ages.
“There’s a lot of activities for children here at the event,” said Flowers. “There’s a Kid Zone; we have the Brookshire’s big grocery cart, vendors, lots of great food trucks. We have 31 different categories that cars, trucks and motorcycles (are) judged on to win trophies and awards. We have about 260 cars here.”
Among the cars was one belonging to Chad Hanson, who entered his 1995 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. This was not Hanson’s first time participating in a car show; his Pontiac won first place in the Raceway Car Club Car Show in 2022.
“You’ve got to buy a classic,” advised Hanson. “Anything that’s 20 years or older is a classic.”
His Pontiac included features that made it rare, such as an LT1- Fuel Injected V8 Engine. Some other notable features from the car were its bright red leather interior, and the fact that in 1995 there were only 695 Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams produced. Only 472 were built in the USA.
“It’s great to come out here,” said Hanson. “Coming to the show to see the different cars, trucks, cycles and everything.”
While the auto show gained a lot of interest from attendees, the East Texas Crisis Center also had a booth to inform everyone about its mission.
“It (the ETCC) was founded in 1978,” said Lana Peacock, executive director of the ETCC. “We provide emergency services to victims of family violence, and sexual assault.”
The mission of the ETTC is to provide safety, shelter and education to victims of family violence, dating violence, sexual assault and other violent crime, and to restore dignity and purpose in their lives while promoting public compassion and awareness to reduce violence in the community.
“It’s a good way to raise awareness in the community to the issues that we deal with, but also for financial support. This is our big fundraiser,” Peacock said.
Homebuilder Chris Cooper was the winner of the cash pool, winning 710, but gave a check back to the ETCC worth $1,000. There were winners in 31 categories which were sorted in alphabetical order, starting with a Class A 69 older Camaro that went to Michael and Hope Anderson, and ending with Class W were the Texracana Captians Cami Linbrook and Brian Perrish.
There were 12,860 tickets sold, and a little over $128,600 was raised for the ETCC.