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Keepers Car Club Takes Pride In Giving Back To The Community

CLYDE, TX – For more than 30 years the Keepers Car Club has played an integral role in the Big Country area. For its members and supporters the group is more than just a club, it is also a vital part of the community.

During just the past decade, the Keepers Car Club has raised, and donated more than $50,000 that has been used to feed and clothe less fortunate children, help cover funeral costs for those in need, and help struggling mothers care for their newborns.

“We definitely take a lot of pride in representing the community,” Club President Boyd Zimmerman said. “We’re not just a car club, we’re a family. We take care of each other and our goal is to help people in the Community.”

It’s definitely that philanthropic spirit that initially attracts many of the club’s members, who affectionately refer to themselves as “gearheads” due to their shared, obsessive passion for hot rods and classic cars. “I’ve been a ‘gearhead’ all my life,” admits Zimmerman, who bursts into a hearty chuckle while trying to explain his love of cars. “I love working on cars and I love being around them. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten to where I can afford building cars that are decent.”

The Club’s major car show is held on the second Saturday of every October at Clyde City Park, club member John Vaughan explains. The annual competition attracts an average of 100 cars that are displayed by proud owners from throughout Texas. That number doesn’t include the dozens of additional vehicles club members bring to the show.

“Our biggest turnout was 154 cars one year,” said Vaughan, who is this year’s show organizer. “We’ve had some cars we couldn’t even imagine; just gorgeous. People keep coming back every year.” Vaughan’s father, J.B. Vaughan was one of the club’s four founding members – all of whom lived in Clyde, Texas. J.B. Vaughan died in 2013.

“I inherited my dad’s car, a 1937 Ford,” John Vaughan proudly says. “After he died, I brought the car to the show and a person there came right up to me and said, “hey, that’s J.B. ‘s car.” After learning that John Vaughan was J.B’s son, club members presented John and his two sisters with t-shirts that were distributed to club members and attendees in 2013 that paid tribute to their late father. In 2015, John Vaughan officially joined the club, making him the club’s first “legacy,” or second-generation member. Being part of the club that was founded by his father, makes him proud, John Said. The car shows traditionally include an auction and raffle of great miscellaneous items donated by our sponsors, John Vaughan and other members said. Several DJs keep attendees entertained with the Oldies from the Rock and Roll era, The Keepers 18th Annual Car Show will be held Oct. 8, 2022, and will be open to all categories of cars, trucks and motorcycles. To learn more about the club, or the annual car event, email the group at keeperscarshow@gmail.com.

Club members meet on the first Thursday of each month at the Denton Valley Restaurant which is owned by club member Chuck Swofford. The building that houses the restaurant was constructed in 1915 and for most of its existence was the site of a popular country store. The building was boarded up in the 1980s and remained unused until Swofford purchased it in 2016.

“I had been in the restaurant business and was planning to retire,” Swofford said. “But I needed something to do, so I purchased the building and reopened it as a restaurant. As the car club grew, so did it’s need for a larger meeting venue.

The popular community restaurant specializes in catfish, shrimp, chicken-fried steak and grilled chicken, but features many other goodies that will please just about everyone’s palates.

The Car Keepers Club currently boasts more than 50 active members with vehicles of all types of make and model vehicles, Club Secretary Jill Allen said. Her husband Duane is the club’s vice-president. “My husband and I joined the club in 2011,” Jill Allen said. “We love it. For me, and my husband, this is our only social outlet. We really enjoy it and have made some really good friends, I think that’s what it is for most of us.”

The Allen’s joined the club after retiring from their Civil Service jobs. “We were interested in the club but didn’t have any classics until our retirement,” Jill Allen said. “In 2011, Duane traded work for parts to a 1927 roadster and we also bought a 1968 Mustang that he completely rebuilt to take to shows while he was remanufacturing the roadster.” The Mustang took 18 months to fix and hit the shows in 2013, and the roadster is getting final touch-ups, and expected to be on display at the October 2022 car show.

Last year’s car show featured 94 entries with 200-300 participants from 35-40 West Texas towns, Vaughan and Allen said. The show has included classes featuring everything from vintage military vehicles, vintage ‘canned ham’ campers, kids racing go-karts, and ‘Young Gun’ teenage car owners to the more common classes for classic and newer cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Club members donate briskets for the brisket lunch and other goodies are also available. Cash sponsorships for the car show pay for upfront expenses for the show such as advertising, printing forms, judges, awards, utility and trash services for the show,” Vaughan said. “We really depend on our great sponsors.”

The event requires a lot of planning and work to pull-off every year, but the task is well worth the effort, Vaughan said. After all, club members know their hard work isn’t just about showing off cars, it’s really about showing their community how much it’s loved.

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