Those who are aware of the East Texas Crisis Center’s services might think the organization’s programs are for women only.
“I saw it as an opportunity to make a difference,” said Billy Walker, the 28-week course instructor. “It’s my calling. A lot of people don’t look at it as a victim’s program, but if we can help, we can prevent future victims.”
The men’s class is just one of the programs that benefit from the annual East Texas Auto and Cycle Show, to be held Friday, Feb. 1 through Feb. 3 at Harvey Convention Center in Tyler.
The highlight of this year’s car show will be a customized ’55 Ford Thunderbird, winner of the 2012 Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama.
“The Ridler Award is named for Don Ridler, an athlete and Autorama event promoter from 1957 to 1961,” according to the written release from the East Texas Crisis Center. “The award was created after his death in 1963 to honor Ridler, who was known for his creativity and professionalism. The award goes to the vehicle that best embodies those characteristics.”
The three men designed the car’s new features, all the way down to the Thunderbird emblem, and the car has more than 9,000 man hours into it from experts all across the country.
The plastic-free car also has a twin-turbo engine and 1,150 horse power.
This year, the car that will be raffled at the event is a 1965 Shelby GT 350 Tribute.
“The car has the body of a 1965 fastback, but has been completely restored from head to toe to replicate the Shelby GT 350 finished in Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue Lemans stripes and with side exit exhaust,” according to the written release. “The restoration boasts upgrades of a 302 roller motor, 4-speed toploader transmission, power steering, air-conditioning and AM radio.”
The car was restored by the members of the Mustangs of East Texas. It was owned by a late member, Harry Ott. His wife donated the car to the club on the condition that, once restored, the sale would benefit the East Texas Crisis Center.
Members of the club restored the car in six months, according to the written release.
“It’s a win-win,” said Craig Chesley, member of the Mustangs of East Texas. “They support our hobby and we support their cause.”
The show also will feature musical talent and other rare automobiles. Admission to the car show is $10, and raffle tickets are $10. The show is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1; from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 3.
Visit www.autoandcycleshow.com for more information.