The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

April 8, 2012

Corvettes and more Corvettes

ENID — Corvette owners and enthusiasts from across the region gathered at Chisholm Trail Expo Center Saturday for Corvette Expo XX.

The event, hosted by Corvettes of Enid, drew in more than 100 Corvettes from across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

None travelled further for the local Corvette show than Linda and Roy Hoernke, who brought their 2008 Callaway Corvette from Las Vegas.

Roy said they made the 1,125 mile trip to Enid in part to visit family, and also to “come out and support the Corvettes of Enid club.”

Linda is a 1965 graduate of Enid High School, and her brother, Keith Thomas, is a member of the local club.

The Hoernkes trace their Corvette enthusiasm back to Linda’s high school days in Enid.

She said she gained her love of Corvettes in 1962, “when my neighbor’s son brought home the first one I ever got close to.”

“And,” she said, “I’ve wanted one ever since.”

She bought her first Corvette in the early 1970s, has been an active Corvette enthusiast since, and introduced Roy to the world of “Corvetters.”

The couple now show and race Corvettes together. Linda owns and shows her own Corvette, and also navigates for Roy in open road races.

“The only time I’ve ever won a race is when she’s navigating for me,” Roy said. “When I race with another navigator, the best I’ve ever done is second place.”

“I listen to her in the car, but that’s about it,” he said with a laugh.

“He’s a great driver, and he’s great when we’re racing,” Linda said. “But,” she added with a laugh, “he’s a little bit scary on the road ... that’s kind of when I have to be the regulator and slow him down a little.”

Sometimes being a woman Corvette owner and racer entails breaking into a male-dominated activity.

“There are a few of us who belong to the ‘girlie girlie’ race club,” Linda said. “There are a couple of other ladies here who have Corvettes, and they love their cars and can talk about them. But, it’s still pretty much a boy’s club.”

“If you can talk about the car, then the guys will talk to you,” Linda said. “But, I still go places and people will automatically ask me, ‘Is this your husband’s car?’”

“I don’t let it interfere with me,” she said. “I just love my car.”

She said she and Roy plan to recommend the Enid Corvette Expo to other club members back in Las Vegas.

“This is how it spreads, with one or two cars trying out a new show,” she said. “It’s a long way to come, but we’d like to come back next year with a few more cars.”

The Hoernkes weren’t the only couple to travel a long distance for yesterday’s Corvette show.

Edd and Sheila Chenoweth, both 1968 graduates of Enid High School, brought their Le Mans blue coupe 750 miles from Huntsville, Ala.

The couple was introduced to the local show last year through the National Corvette Museum website.

“When we heard about it, we decided we had to come and check it out,” Edd said. “It’s all part of visiting home, and it’s kind of a reunion for us.”

Edd, who began showing Corvettes after a 26 year career in the Air Force, now attends Corvette shows mostly to interact with the other Corvette owners and enthusiasts.

“I got into it for the cars, but what’s happened is now it’s a lot more about visiting the other clubs and running around with all the great folks you meet,” he said. “This is really a community where people look out for each other, and they’re very forgiving and helpful.”

Lindy Baker, Corvettes of Enid president, said Corvette owners “use the cars as an excuse to be around the people.”

“The draw initially really is the car, because it’s an American icon,” Baker said. “But, what they find once they get involved in this is it’s about the people.”

Baker said the local show gives current and aspiring Corvette owners a chance to share their love of the iconic vehicle.

“Most of the people out here will tell you they’re here because they’ve always wanted to own a Corvette,” Baker said. “The people who already own a Corvette are here because they want to share it with others, and the people who don’t own one yet want to look and dream.”

Corvette Expo XX chairman Gene Knouse gave a similar perspective on what draws people to Corvettes and Corvette shows.

“It’s the pride of ownership that comes with owning a great American muscle car,” Knouse said. “And, it’s about being with the other Corvette owners, and meeting new people and showing off the cars.”

Knouse said the local club draws a wide variety of Corvette enthusiasts, from investment collectors to owners who use their Vettes for daily transportation.

“We have some club members who have been polishing on their cars for two weeks getting ready for this show, and they trailer their cars everywhere, and we have other people who drive their cars every day,” he said.

Knouse said Corvettes of Enid hosts monthly events, including road trips to attractions as far away as Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Corvette Expo is the club’s largest event of the year, and its major fundraiser.

All profit raised from the event goes to support local charities, including YWCA Enid, Denny Price Family YMCA, Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma, Salvation Army and the ongoing efforts to purchase the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Memorial Wall and base it at Enid Woodring Regional Airport.

The Corvette club’s principal recipient of charitable donations in recent years has been Garfield County Child Advocacy Council.

“Their support means a great deal to us,” said Carole Wade, executive director of Garfield County Child Advocacy Council.

She said funds raised by Corvettes of Enid Saturday will help the child advocacy council hire a part-time forensic interviewer.

The forensic interviewer will assist in interviewing and gathering evidence from child victims of sexual abuse.

“We’ve been trying to set aside any money we can for that,” Wade said, “and funds from this event will really help us out.”

For more information on Corvettes of Enid go to www.corvettesofenid.com.

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