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Something old, something new

A decade of experience lies behind the success of the Rogue Valley Corvettes Club Fall Classic, organizers say.

“We haven’t invented the car show, we’ve just tried to fine-tune it,” says Dan Richards, one of the founding members of the club. “We’ve tried to take the best parts of the Rod & Custom Show and the best parts of the Medford Cruise and meld them into an event that’s not only fun for the participants but also enjoyable for the public.”

The 10th Annual Fall Classic will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Town & Country Chevrolet, 2045 Highway 99 N., Ashland. Registration is from 8 to 10 a.m., and the show is open to cars and trucks of all makes and models — from customized classics to modern stock.

Rogue Valley Corvettes was formed in 2006 and includes members from as far away as Reno, Nev., and Northern California who are passionate about what they consider to be America’s sports car. From the earliest of the restored classics to the newest, hot-off-the-showroom-floor, the display of members’ cars spans 55 years of Corvette history.

“Putting on the show is a total team effort,” Richards says of the 95-member club. “We’ve been doing it for 10 years now and have a good game plan. What makes it even better is that we have fun doing it.”

Like a true end-of-summer party, the event includes music, food and a chance to take home some cash.

“The raffle and 50/50 are all open to the public,” Richards says, “so both show participants and spectators can buy as many tickets as they wish. Last year the winner of the 50/50 took home almost $600.”

All year long, club members gather thousands of dollars' worth of raffle prizes.

“In the past we’ve given away NASCAR tickets, getaways to Reno, multiple food and beverage packages for around the valley, wonderful wine packages with wine tours and tastings. ... We try to get things from here in the valley because we draw so many participants from outside the area, and we want them to see that the Rogue Valley is a pretty cool place. Because we don’t charge an admission fee for spectators, our proceeds are generated from our ticket sales, trophy and plaque sales, and the T-shirts that the public can buy.”

True to their motto of Camaraderie, Corvettes and Community, members are dedicated to more than just their love of these popular cars.

“We wanted to make a difference in our community,” Richards says. To that end, proceeds from the show are donated each year to Skills USA.

“It’s a program that allows kids in high school to study in areas that are outside of the normal liberal arts curriculum,” Richards says. “These are not kids who are the quarterbacks or the cheerleaders or the valedictorians, but, because of our efforts and their involvement in Skills, will end up going to college.”

In the last nine years, the club has raised more than $60,000, which translates into much more in college scholarships by helping to get these kids in front of college recruiters.

“It's exciting to see young people succeed, due in small part to our efforts," Richards says. "But it's not just our efforts that make a difference. Everyone who brings their car or truck out, and everybody who comes to the Fall Classic, plays a part in the success of our show and the success of the students we support."

Old and new Corvettes, such as this 1962 factory model, left, and a 2014 Stingray, will be among the vehicles showcased at the Rogue Valley Corvettes Club Fall Classic. Photo courtesy of Tina Blum