Organizer hopes to grow Tiblow Days car show
A new volunteer organizer is bringing new life to one of the biggest events of Tiblow Days.
Just two months ago, Bonner Springs resident Mike Thompson was recruited to organize this year’s car show, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, in Downtown Bonner Springs. But Thompson said he has big ideas to boost the size of the show and increase its success.
“The past car shows have been great,” he said. “I’d just like to change things around so we don’t get into a rut and we make it more exciting for participants.”
Thompson moved to Bonner Springs a year and a half ago and first experienced the show last year as a participant, entering a 1929 Model A Ford. After retiring as a chaplain in the Army in September, he said he was looking for a way to get involved in the community when he wasn’t busy with his automotive hobby.
Thompson said his preference is old-style hot rods of the 1960s and earlier, and he’s famous in his family for starting new projects to rebuild a car but not always seeing them through to completion. The only car he ever completed was a 1969 pickup truck that was a gift for his daughter.
“I’ve gone through a lot of cars — they kid me about how much I’ve gone through,” Thompson said.
Before his retirement, he said, he didn’t want his car projects to get in the way of his family, ministry or work. Now, he hopes to complete and keep his current projects: a 1968 Corvette and a 1928 Ford Flathead.
Being in the military also didn’t give him much time to take part in car shows, but he has been to several in the last year, which helped him develop some ideas for improving the Tiblow Days show.
“From a participant’s standpoint, I know what is good and bad,” he said.
He has set out to increase participation from about 50 cars to 75, which he said is probably the maximum amount that could fit on Oak Street. He sent registration forms to past participants and has posted flyers locally and at other area shows.
This year’s show is open to all cars — 36 already are entered, including a 1928 Ford coupe and a 2001 Corvette. Thompson also plans to stage the cars closer to Oak Street, preferably in a parking lot on Front Street. In previous years, cars were staged as far away as Kansas Avenue and Kansas Highway 7, and some overheated on the drive to downtown Bonner.
Entries in this year’s show also will be judged by the general public, and trophies will be awarded at 1:45 p.m. The car show will have a headquarters of sorts downtown as well as at Second and Oak streets, where ballots will be handed out and returned for voting and the local bluegrass band The Fairmounters will perform.
Thompson is developing ideas for future changes and improvements as well. For example, he said he would like for the event to raise funds for a local charity.
All entrants will receive T-shirts and dash plaques. Participants will be required to arrive between 9 and 10:15 a.m. at the staging lot. Those interested in entering their vehicle may do so by contacting Thompson at 913-745-8098.