Lee senior places at state fair for Model A model

Published on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 19:47 - Written by KELLY GOOCH kgooch@tylerpaper.com

A Robert E. Lee High School student has received props for a model replica of her beloved 1929 Model A car, “Alice.”

Katie Sperry, 18, recently won second place in her category at the State Fair of Texas for the replica display, which includes a newspaper article backdrop as well as a model of her driving Alice. It will be on display during the fair.

David Mendez, with the creative arts department at the fair, said the judge looks for various things, such as cracks in the model itself and whether there is visible glue, and Katie’s presentation was “fabulous” and “impeccable.”

In the past, Katie said she’s entered dolls in the state fair, and this year she thought, “Why not include Alice?”

“She’s always wanted to enter a model, and when they finally found the model that was Alice, she wanted to build it,” her mother, Lynne Breedlove Sperry, added.

So, with some help from her father, Katie used a Model A kit to create the replica, which took a couple weeks to finish.

Mrs. Sperry said the model car even includes a gear shift, and Katie made it fun by trying to match a picture from the newspaper article about Alice.

Then earlier this month, she found out she won second place in her category.

“I was thrilled. To really get any spot is huge because it’s the state fair …” she said via phone Monday afternoon. “Alice is family. She’s been around for ... generations, so I might as well put her in there. … I was so blessed I got to do it.”

Alice, which was restored last year, has been in Katie’s family for more than 50 years.

Mrs. Sperry has said her father wanted an old car and looked all over for one. He eventually came upon Alice about 1963 at an estate sale. So he bought the car and brought it home.

Mrs. Sperry's mother named the car Alice because it was a Model A. It also suits the car because Alice is an old-fashioned name for an old-fashioned car, Mrs. Sperry said last year.

Once her father helped get Alice in working order, he allowed Mrs. Sperry and her two brothers to drive the car, and Mrs. Sperry drove it for two years until she graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1975.

"You could do a lot of stuff with her ..." she said last year. "I just remember having a lot of fun with my girlfriends and driving everywhere."

But there were some challenges. Mrs. Sperry has said if it rained, the distributor cap would get wet, so she got stranded many places. She has said the brakes also weren't good, and she had to use emergency brakes to stop the car.

After she graduated high school, her parents kept Alice and occasionally drove it.

Mrs. Sperry's mother gave Alice to her in the 1990s, but it didn't get a makeover until last year.

Bud Calicutt, of Arp, helped restore Alice and had the car in his shop for several months. A new braking system was put in as well as an extra tail light on the back. Seatbelts and turn signals also were installed, and the car was upgraded to a 12-volt system.

Mrs. Sperry said Katie drove it last school year and all summer, and has found a spot where she can park Alice for her senior year.

She said Katie won’t be able to take Alice with her when she goes off to college, but thanks to the replica model, she “will (still) have a little bit of Alice.”