The Egyptian Daily | Many vintage and modern trucks and cars at the 6th Annual Southside Lumber Show

On a hot summer Saturday morning in Herrin, Illinois, the parking lot in front of Southside Lumber filled with dozens of proud vehicle owners as they gathered to show off their craftsmanship.

June 4, 2022 marked the 6th annual car and truck show hosted by Southside, and Barb Waldron, one of the show coordinators, expressed high hopes for attendance.

“Last year we had about 130 cars [show up]”Waldron said. “The year before it was COVID so we didn’t have one, [but] the year before we had about 115 to 120 cars, so it keeps getting bigger every year.

The parking lot was filled with a wide assortment of vehicles to admire with old 1950s convertibles on display as well as modern Mustangs and trucks with huge lifts.

One of the most startling discoveries was a 1969 Chevy Bel Air police car, which was brought to the show by Thomas Tessone. Adorned with a red flashing light, a working radio, and a police uniform with donut models sitting in the passenger seat, the police cruiser looked ready for duty at a moment’s notice.

Tessone said he took the car to various shows as his way of representing law enforcement.

“[The Bel Air] bears the property tag of the State of Illinois, District 11 of Collinsville,” Tessone said. “I show it in memory of fallen Illinois state troopers, and I give out safety information, as well as badges and stuff for kids.”

In another section of the lot was Brandon Gilley, polishing his 2015 Ram 2500, a huge truck with lifts that hauled the body high off the curb. Gilley arrived on the field around 8 a.m., but it was far from the start of his day.

“I just arrived,” Gilley said. “I live in Marion but work in Indiana and I came down at five this morning and drove up so I haven’t even been to bed yet.”

With a tired but friendly look, Gilley explained how he and his friend worked on the Ram for two years to get it to its current condition, and went into more detail about the specifics of the truck.

“It’s got a lift, powder-coated axles, 26-by-16 American Force wheels with 35-inch tires,” Gilley said. “Inside I have a Starlight headliner like a Rolls Royce, underneath there are 20 rock lights, wheel lights on all four wheels […] Me, buddy over there, that’s our hobby. Take apart and reassemble, a little cleaner than how they came.

In another corner of the field was Jerry Hickey, a veteran who spent time in Southeast Asia during his time in the US military. He was standing next to a seemingly old and battered 1946 Ford truck with “CV-43” scrawled on the side.

“CV-43 was an aircraft carrier. I was there for three years,” Hickey said. “That little truck was probably 150 feet from where I slept every night, and I didn’t never knew he was there. Until 1992, when they decommissioned the ship, and when they started cutting it up, it was in a hole. He had been forgotten.

Hickey said he upgraded the WWII Ford with a 2002 Lincoln 4.6 engine, and regularly used the vehicle to drive to North Carolina, more than 800 miles away.

In another parking lot to the side of the lumber store was a light blue 1969 Chevy dump truck, proudly owned by Landon Wilson. Wilson admitted that although his truck didn’t have power steering or power brakes, there was still a prop and a reason to keep it intact.

“It’s been in the family since 1972 when Grandpa bought it and we used it for our contract business,” Wilson said. “And once he died, Dad took it over and used it until October last year when he passed away. […] I think something original like this that has a story behind it means a lot more.

Staff reporter Ethan Braun can be reached on [email protected].

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