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Thursday, 10 September 2015 12:50

Beloit Autorama 2015: 38 and counting for '57 Chevy

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Clayton Moen works, with his ’57 Chevy on the hoist in the background, is getting his car ready for Beloit Autorama. He has shown the same car for the past 38 years. Clayton Moen works, with his ’57 Chevy on the hoist in the background, is getting his car ready for Beloit Autorama. He has shown the same car for the past 38 years. Terry Mayer/staff

STATELINE NEWS -- Clayton Moen is looking to keep his streak going. Moen, of Janesville, has participated in the Beloit Autorama for 38 years with the same car, a 1957 Chevrolet. He is preparing his car for this year’s event, continuing his annual tradition.

Moen has owned his ’57 Chevy for about 50 years. He said he has put a lot of restoration work into the vehicle since that time.

"I’ve repainted it. I put in a lot of different engines. In the last 50 years, I’ve made a lot of changes to it," Moen said. "I’ve custom-built the frame. I’m getting it redone for the Autorama. I want to keep my record going."

Moen said he enjoys participating in Autorama because of the camaraderie with other car enthusiasts.

"It’s a nice show. There are a lot of nice cars," Moen said. "There are usually about 1,000 to 1,200 vehicles. It’s well attended depending on the weather. It’s the big (car show) of the year around here."

The 39th annual Beloit Autorama will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, at Preservation Park, 3444 S. Riverside Drive in the town of Beloit. The event is hosted by the Beloit Evening Lions Club, Coachmen Street Rod Club, Blue Ribbon Classic Chevy Club and Cranked Inc.

( Click HERE on your phone for directions )

Autorama will feature a variety of street rods, classic cars, custom cars, antique cars, trucks and high-performance vehicles.

"We will have about nine classes representing everything from the 1940s to the new stuff," said Todd Nelson, chairman of Beloit Autorama. "(Car owners) come from all over. We get people from Wisconsin, Illinois and Colorado. One year, we had a best of show winner from Minnesota."

The winning cars in each category receive a trophy.

"The trophies that we give out aren’t like any other trophies," Nelson said. "The trophies we give out are clock trophies. We have people from the Rock River Valley Carvers design our trophies."

Moen said attending the Autorama gives him ideas for restoring his classic vehicle.

"You always look at what someone else has done," Moen said. "You generate ideas and look what other people have done to their cars. There’s always something new that pops up."

Beloit Autorama also will include a swap meet and food vendors. Nelson said organizers set up for the event throughout the week. He said the cars usually arrive Saturday evening or early Sunday morning.

"We start setting up on Wednesday laying out the grounds and getting the tents set up by Friday," Nelson said. "On Saturday, the cars can start coming at noon to set up. On Sunday, they can come at 6 a.m. and get their cars lined up with their respective classes, then we start judging at 11 a.m. for people who want their cars to be judged."

Nelson said planning for Beloit Autorama occurs throughout the year.

"We have a review meeting in October, then we select the artwork for the posters and then we discuss what we’re going to do for the trophies," Nelson said.

The cost to show your car is $15. Spectators can attend the Beloit Autorama for $5 for adults, children between the ages of 8 and 15 are $2 and children younger than 8 are free. The proceeds are donated to local organizations.

"The Beloit Evening Lions Club uses the proceeds to help the visually impaired," Nelson said. "The money also goes back to local organizations like Caritas, Beloit Regional Hospice, and it’s used for scholarships for local high schools."

Moen participates in other car shows besides the Beloit Autorama.

"I go to a lot of shows in the area," Moen said. "I go to shows in Milwaukee, Chicago and Des Moines during the winter. Those shows are held indoors. Around here, most of the shows are held outdoors."

Nelson said he and other car enthusiasts attend car shows throughout the year.

"Being a car guy myself, I go all over the place," Nelson said. "I go to the national car show about every year. Car people go all over, wherever there’s a car show."

Besides his ’57 Chevy, Moen also owns a 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood, 1978 Chevy pick-up truck and 1993 Caprice Classic.  However, he mostly shows his ’57 Chevy.

"My main car is my ’57 Chevy," Moen said. "Once in awhile, I’ll take my pickup to a show, but normally I just bring my ‘57 Chevy."

Moen said he has been interested in cars since his childhood.

"My dad worked as a mechanic," Moen said. "I use to work in his garage when I was a young kid. That’s how I became interested."

But for Moen, the joy is simply being part of the show.

"I have about 500 trophies that I’ve won over the years," he said. "They’re in my basement. They’re good dust collectors."

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