ABOUT OUR CAR CLUB
TRIPLE CITIES STREET RODS 50TH ANNIVERSARY
1972 – 2022
By Dave Passante
The club was formed in 1972, by a group of 8 guys with a common interest in hot rods. The original eight were: Mike Wright, Ron Greenman, Denny Ellis, Mike Ellis, Lee Grabowski, Randy Bush, Denny Arrofat and Ken Lopole. Today there are 35 members and spouses in the club, with a variety of Hot Rods, many different makes and years. The membership has remained pretty constant through the years, and new members are always welcome.
Along with having fun with cars, traveling together to different car shows, or just getting together on Friday nights to go out to dinner, most of the members have become close friends. Because of these friendships, there is always help, if you’re working on a new project and you need some advice or an extra hand or two. The club also meets monthly, on the second Wednesday of the month, currently at the Blue Dolphin restaurant in Apalachin, New York.
In 1974 we started having a yearly car show at Hickories Park in Owego, NY. The show, known as the “Hickories Rod Run”, started with a pizza run on Friday night and the show on Saturday. At the show there were a variety of games; most notably volleyball, car pull (until we got older), a poker run and a Sock Hop on Saturday night. There were many food items, including the famous corn roast and members cooking breakfast for anyone willing to eat our food. Lastly the infamous beer truck served free beer all day. Trophies were usually hand made. Although not a money maker, we had a lot of fun.
In the mid 1980’s the club consisted of members from the Binghamton area west to the Elmira area. The members from the Elmira area decided to split off from our club and form The Chemung Valley Street Rods Club and they have remained good friends since.
In the 1990’s, we decided to try and raise some money for local charities by having a sock hop, tied in with a car cruise-in. This was the beginning of our annual Cruz In/Sock Hop. This event ran many years at the Vestal American Legion, at the beginning of May and it kicked off the car cruising season. Because of its success, we were able to start donating money to various local charities. This event continued into 2008 when we changed it over to the “Pasta Dinner and Cruise-In”, which is held at the Sons of Italy Hall in Endicott, N.Y.
In 1998, we reorganized our car show at Hickories Park into a two day show known as “Cars in The Park”. Gone were the car pull, corn roast and beer truck. The show was divided into two parts: Saturday, open parking, kids’ games, poker run, balloon toss and at times a car teeter totter, and a sock hop at night with live music. Sunday, cars parked in their specific classes, many games continued, including a kids painting cars and racing their cars on a downhill wooden track, a Chinese Auction, Zoo mobile and other various events. Food was available both days and many giveaways were provided to car owners. Judging followed and trophies were awarded. These changes brought a big increase in popularity of the show with a greater number of participants and spectators coming to the show.
In 2015, we reformatted the existing show into more streamlined one day show. We continued with all of the events we could accommodate in one day. This is the current “Cars in The Park” show that we have today.
With the popularity of these events, we have been able to donate all of our profits, over $120,000 along with hundreds of pounds of food and over a thousand turkeys (during the holiday food drives) to over 35 local charities. Also, donations to 26 individuals with medical or financial problems, over $20,000 for tool sets to BOCES, awarded to students going into the automotive field. The popularity of these events and the continued support of the public, has allowed us to support these charities over the years.
The final annual event that the club has is the “Snowflake Dinner Dance”. This event started out in the 1970’s as the “After Christmas, Christmas Party”. This was put on by the club, a nonprofit event, as a yearend party to help celebrate the Christmas season. It was held for many years at the Owego Treadway Inn. It is currently being held at the Endicott Sons of Italy and is known as the “Snowflake Dinner Dance.
Fifty years of many new friends, playing with cars and helping the community has made these fulfilling and unforgettable times. Hopefully this will continue into the future…..Triple Cities Street Rods (TCSR)
AWARDS / DISTINCTIONS:
A “New York State Assembly Citation” in recognition of our 35th Anniversary and Achievements from Assembly Woman Donna
A Citation from the Congress Of The United States House Of Representatives: for our “Efforts In Helping Those In Need” by then Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey.
New York State Senate Proclamation for our “Commitment and Giving To Our Community” by then Senator Thomas W. Libous.
Broome County Citation on Our 35th Anniversary for our “Commitment To Provide For Those In Need” by Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala.