MCPHERSON — For Scott Becker of McPherson, climbing into his Ford Mustang and cruising down main street on a Saturday night brings back days gone by.
“I used to drag main here in the ’80s and ’90s. My boys are 17 and 20 and over the summer hang out at Lakeside park. They never knew what cruising main was. I believe it's a generation gap and was lost throughout the years,” Becker said.
And, he believed it was a tradition that should be rekindled. A year ago, he started posting to Facebook, creating a page for photos that he called “Old Farts Drag Main.”
He’s back at it again, posting an event for 8 p.m. May 16. He also cruised Main with a few friends just last week.
“At one point we had cars lined up from stoplight to stoplight last Saturday,” Becker said.
Cruising main has become an activity that can be done during stay-at-home orders while observing social distancing guidelines. Just south of McPherson in Newton, a Facebook group dedicated to cruising main has seen membership grow to 500 in less than two weeks.
In McPherson, it has started to pull people together as well.
“So far no one has done anything silly to cause reason for law enforcement to have any concerns,” Becker said. “The last one we did have some concerned citizens call because they thought we would cause a COVID-19 outbreak. Every one social distanced when they were out of their cars and I did see people counting how many were together.
“If there were 10 people, they waited until someone left before they approached the car they wanted to look at. It was great to see car enthusiasts and really great to see how they automatically social distanced.”
Becker told The Sentinel he started the “Old Farts” group out of a desire to get car lovers together. And while it carries a title loaded with age references, the cruise night is very much an intergenerational activity.
The desire is to have an event each month — even after stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines are a thing of the past. The hope is also to see more cars coming from other towns like Hutchinson, Newton, Great Bend and Salina.