Special car coming to Cars in the Park this weekend

Chad Frey
The Kansan

This weekend Jeff Voth will enter his 1934 Plymouth Coupe in the annual Cars in the Park at Athletic Park at Athletic Park, a day that has been years in the making and will be an emotional moment for many. 

Jeff Voth will enter this 1934 Plymouth into the Cars in the Park at Athletic Park  this year, the second time he has owned the car. He recently purchased the car from Roger Gillespie, who died of cancer last year.

The show will start at 8 a.m., with free admission to those who want to take a look at the cars in the park. Registration for cars will be 8 a.m. to noon by the Mennonite Settler Statute, with a fee of $20. All car show profits will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. 

"It is a good place to have  a car show, at the park," Voth said. "We had about 190 cars there last year. ... We should have about 200 cars. That is the plan. Maybe more once everyone comes out. All of the other shows in the area have been bigger this year because people are just dying to get out."

Voth has been the lead organizer of the show for about 25 years. 

The coupe is a bright yellow, and will be featured on the award plaques given at the car show this weekend. There will be more than 120 awards given, with presentations at 3 p.m.

The car has not always been his — though this is the second time he has owned it. He has seemed to develop an affinity for cars like this, as this is the third of the same make, model and color that has been in his garage. 

This one, though, is really special. Years ago he sold the car, and it went into the garage of local businessman, community supporter and baseball organizer Roger Gillespie. The same Roger Gillespie who owned Gillespie Meats on Broadway and had a baseball diamond named after him in Centennial Park. 

"He was a great guy," Voth said. 

Gillispie passed away in April of 2020, when his battle with cancer ended. Before he passed, he gave Voth a call about the car. 

"He knew I had had three of these before, and I had this one before. Before he passed, he got ahold of me," Voth said. 

Voth said now that the car is back in his garage, with memories of Roger attached, "it's not going anywhere."

This weekend will be the annual Cars in the Park at Athletic Park, featuring a car once owned by Roger GIllespie.

"He did a great job with it," Voth said. 

Voth is not sure how many years there has been a car show in Athletic Park, an event that is the last holdover from the defunct Chisholm Trail Festival.

But it has gone on for quite a few years. Also in the park this weekend will be the Mexican-American Fast Pitch Softball Tournament — an event nearly 80 years old. 

A car club organized the show for a time, but when that was no longer feasable, Voth took over. 

"There has always been a car show on July 4 weekend. Ever since I grew up and got my first old car," Voth said.  "Bikes too, cars, trucks bikes. We don't care what year, what color, or anything."

There will be food vendors there as well. The big focus, however, is cars. And for Voth, the more the better. 

The goal, in his mind, is to have a good time and try and turn new generations into car lovers. 

"We want to get young kids into cars. The generation after me is not really into cars," Voth said.  "Cars have kept me out of trouble a lot in my life, I have been out in the garage and out of trouble, instead if doing something else."