The Gearheads car club started as "a loose knit group of like minded individuals with a common interest in American cars".
We held our first meeting in 2002 (or was it 2001?), in Larry Larkin's garage, no one can remember the exact date because we didn't keep any records! Those in attendance were; Larry Larkin, Dennis Vaughn, and others. We formed up around the premise of having common issues with finding reliable help with our vintage car projects ~ who knew a good, reliable and reasonably priced painter? Where to go to source the parts we all need? Etc. We agreed that we would have no officers, no dues, no by-laws but that we would gather at various members garages on a rotating basis monthly to share information & stories. We did agree to drink beer and some even brought wine!
Within a couple of months we had more people dropping in to drink beer, tell lies and talk about upcoming events or what they were working on, or who they knew that would do quality work at a reasonable rate. We started calling ourselves "Gearheads" because we all were!
The first event that we all traveled together to see was the Houston Autorama. We decided we needed tee shirts with some kind of logo. Someone came up with a design of a dragster with the rear tire being the "G", it was reminiscent of a pine wood derby car. When we got back from the car show I started looking for something with a head and a gear to use as our logo. One of my sons brought home a tee shirt from Daytona Bike Week and when I saw it I knew we could build on it. I had a designer modify the image to eliminate the rag on the skull and place a set of gears on top of the skull and he got rid of the handlebars while inserting a gear shifter, with an 8 ball in the skeletons hand and we put the word "Gearheads Buda, Texas" underneath, stylized to look like it was in motion.
We slowly began to grow and experienced a spin off in 2004 as several members left to form a club with more structure, rules, officials, monthly dues etc.
In 2005 some of us attended a free car show at the Church of Christ parking lot in Uhland. After the show we were approached by members of the church to consider being involved with the car show and the following year the Gearheads sponsored the car show and the members of the church prepared BBQ. During the 3 years we were involved with the church all of the proceeds from the show went straight to the church. And during these three years we found out how truly hard it is to put on a car show The date of this first show was May 6th, 2006 and it was free. We worked hard on a beautiful flyer and built our own trophies. We even had a banner made, a big deal for us. We had support from 39 local businesses for items to use as raffle & door prizes. The morning of the event dawned with fast moving storms covering the local area. Joe Beyer & I went out at dawn to set up signs and we were amazed by a horrible twisting yellow-green cloud that was moving fast and swirling just a few hundred feet above ground level. I thought I was going to see my first tornado. But nothing developed. The show was free and we had about 40 cars show up. The rain showers stopped about 10 am it got humid and hot. The food was fantastic. We had made a few trophies and "Mikey The Pinstriper" added some lines to them to make them 'custom'. We had a dj with a PA system and he played 50's music, Joe Beyer was on the microphone as our announcer/mc. We felt good but were tired at the end of the day. I don't have a "end of event photo" but I think Mike, Dennis, James Jordan, Joe, Larry & John Larkin, Alex Gloria and Arturo were the ones involved. By now there were eight of us but at the end of the day we were all worn out. Thanks to our wives for pitching in to help.
In 2007 we held the 4th Annual show for the church on June 9th. We charged $15 for pre registered and $20 at the gate. We used the 31 Ford coupe that David Sherman, with help from Mike Tackett & Joe Beyer had put together (currently owned by Frank Peck) on our flyer. We had 58 paid entrants. Lisa Laky and her group sang for us and we had a dj with a pa system. Again, we built our own trophies (Mikey pinstriped them) and they were well received. Our grand prize was a cam shaft from a garbage truck! The weather cooperated, in general it was a very nice day but still very hot & humid. In the final picture on the steps of the church we had Joe, Mike, Dennis & his wife Joy, Larry & Janet, Gatorjammer James, Arturo and Alex ~ Joe Sr. & his wife Kay were there helping but left before the picture was taken ~ we all look hot & tired! Comments from the participants were all positive. The Donut Gang showed up in force and "Too Low" Richard Haas posted a nice article on line about our little show.
June 14th, 2008 was our 3rd show. We filled the parking lot with 77 cars! Plus 12 of our own. Three years ago there was only 1 old truck running in this club! We still were charging only $15 for pre registration and $20 at the gate and we gave free tee shirts to the first 20 people that pre-registered. We repeated the format from the previous years; hand made trophies (again the grand prize was a cam shaft from a big diesel engine-heavy & sharp!), Lisa Laky singing and a dj playing 50's music with the church men cooking a fantastic BBQ meal. We had 85 companies give us "stuff" to use as prizes, raffle items and give aways…our 'goodie bags' were huge. Again the weather was hot & humid. So much so that one of our own almost fainted! Reviewing pictures I see; Joe, Joe Sr.. & wife Kay, Mike, Dennis & wife Joy, Alex & wife Barbara, Gatorjammer Jordan, David Sherman, Larry & Janet with sons John & James helping out, Tim Dowd, Arturo, Oscar and Jay Presley. Participants said they loved the feel of the event but informed us that we had outgrown the parking lot, we were parking cars to close together! People worried that their cars would be dented or scratched…we knew we had to find a larger venue.
During the winter of 2008/2009 I talked several times with the event coordinator, Mr. Lloyd Carroll, of Cabela's and about Easter time received permission to start a Saturday evening 'show & shine' car event in the Cabela's parking lot on a trail basis. The Gearheads committed to policing the event making sure there was no alcohol consumed, no noise or 'burnouts' and that the area would be clean upon out departure. We were unaware that the "F-Body Club" had been granted permission to also use the parking lot. On the first Saturday evening the Gearheads showed up with about 5 or 6 cars and we noticed that in another area of the parking lot there were some Camaros and Mustangs. We went over and asked them to join us and they did and since that time the Saturday evening event has continued to grow. On a nice summer evening we generally have as many as 150 cars show up from all over central Texas. Cabela's like us and gave us permission to hold our car show on their property in the fall.
For 2009 we scheduled our show at Cabela's and determined, through a vote at one of our meetings, that all of the proceeds would become scholarship money for Hays ISD graduates furthering their educations in the automotive technology career field. We would hold our event in conjunction with the Fire Fest and the Art Show on the weekend of October 3rd. Lots of work went into the preparation of the show. We were expecting 200 cars. We were crushed when it rained and we did not have a rain date! We had 99 cars show up in the rain, 2 of them left when the rains started to become heavy because they had racing slicks on their cars and were afraid to drive in the rain. The show started at 9 am and we were all chilled and wet by the time we shut it down at 2pm. Moments after we finished packing up the rain poured down!
Once again we had made our own trophies and we had to pour rusty rain water off of several of them! A roster we made in July lists the following as club members: Joe Beyer, Joe Sr. & wife Kay, David Sherman, Mike Tackett, Larry Larkin. Alex Gloria, James Jordan, Arturo Ortiz, Oscar Orios, Jay Presley, Tim Dowd, Larry & Lisa Whitehead, Robert Banks, Turtle & Naomi Young, Robert & Chris Hornyak and David Goll.
Even with all the adversity we were able to gather $2500 for a scholarship to a Hays ISD student continuing his education in automotive technology. The recipient was Ben Reyes, a very deserving young man.
We also learned not to schedule against a major area event, like Goodguys in Ft. Worth! We appreciate the kind words offered up in the Texas Tattoo magazine article from August 1st and the several videos posted on line by James Wilder at Motor Austin
2010 ~ Early in the year we are approached by Todd Nelson of American Racing Technology, a local business specializing in high horsepower turbo charged modification to high end cars (Vipers, Ferraris, Corvettes etc). He offered us corporate sponsorship from his business. We have no idea what this will mean but we accept. Todd donates tee shirts and a beautiful pop-up shade tent with our logo on it to our club
Monthly meetings continue to be held on the 1st Friday of each month and, as in the past, we continue to rotate between various peoples garages & shops. In the past we didn't always seem to have an agenda but now we almost always have one. It seems that every weekend someone is requesting to become a member of the club (see below) and there are requests being made of us to show our cars on a regular basis. This is good. The Saturday night show and shine at Cabela's is becoming a central Texas recognized event. People are showing up from San Antonio, Waco, Bastrop, Blanco, Dripping Springs and all parts of Austin. A regular evening sees an average of 100 plus cars and a big summer night might approach 175 or 200 ~ of course much lower attendance during the winter months. Attendance seems to vary based upon other car show events in the area…if people have been at a local cars show all day they probably don't want to come out in the evening. We have many "regulars" ~ one group comes in from Manor every weekend. The F-Body club is there almost every weekend. The Central Texas Camaro Club shows up about once a month from San Antonio and the Mustang club is a frequent participant.
This year more effort than ever goes into the preparation for our show. The date is changed to October 17th, which doesn't appear to conflict with any other show within a 200+ mile radius! A letter writing team is formed and sends out more than 400 letters to businesses all over the United States asking for contributions to use as goodie bag stuffers or raffle and door prizes. Invitations are sent to every past participant that we have an address for. David Goll & Larry Larkin begin talking with local talent for their participation and support; people like Mercury Charlie, Richard Woods of Custom Car Crafters and Steve Wagner. We recruit vendors for the first time. A "Trophy Team" is formed to build a higher level and more consistent trophy. We looked for support from local business to sponsor us and attended the Buda Downtown Business Council on several occasions. We eventually have 15 businesses contribute $100 each to have their names on our shirts. We again ask Lisa Laky to sing, use the same DJ & his pa system, ask "Mikey" to pinstripe our trophies and awards and lay out the show in 3 lots of the Cabela's parking area. Jason Martinez (who has always supported us) donates 50 tee shirts for us to throw at the audience. We have tee shirts signed by Don Garlits, Gene Winfield, Darryl Starbird and Mercury Charlie.
We invite "exhibitors" to show their cars; Mercury Charlie shows up with Nadene his customized Mercury, Richard Wood of Custom Car Crafters brings several cars, Kikin Street Rods & Steve Wagner of Wagner Motors in Blanco show up with a huge tent and 11 cars and we have about a dozen automotive related vendors show up.
We have 267 registered participants! There are about 30 exhibition cars, including Benny Boyd (the car dealer) driving a beautiful 1946 Ford Convertible. Bama Brown shows up with his '57 Chevy. We start the event with a presentation of the colors by the Boy Scouts & the US Army and a fantastic presentation of the national anthem. It is a terrific day. Cabela's event coordinator Lloyd Carroll is very happy with the additional traffic through the store and the local food stores do a huge business ~ Arby's runs out of beef by 11 am!
We present about 30 hand made trophies.
2011 ~ In prior meetings we have discussed the election of officers ~ for the first time introducing some formalized structure/organization into the club. There is concern and a lot of discussion about not wanting to ruin what we have all enjoyed. It is determined that all offices shall be for 1 year. The Vice President will move into the role of President to provide a small level of continuity. During our January 2011 meeting we hold our first election.
Elected officials are: President ~ Larry Larkin, Vice President ~ David Goll, Treasurer ~ Dennis Vaughn, Secretary ~ Naomi Young and Sergeant-at-Arms ~ Joe Beyer
CLUB MEMBERSHIP: During the summer of 2009 we struggled with making one major change in our club culture ~ we developed our first 'rule'. That issue was how to allow more people into the club. A 'membership committee' was formed and an application was developed. Generally the person applying will know someone in the club and that person will become the sponsor and will be in charge of introducing the potential member to the club. This person will then attend several meetings where they will view the culture of the club to see if it meets their needs or expectations and the members of the club will view the individual to see if the person is a 'fit' for the club. If, in the event there is any dissension among the current membership as to the worthiness of the sponsored individual, then the sponsor of that individual will inform the person that they are not a club member. If there are no concerns voiced, then the sponsored individual becomes a member.
In the spring of 2011 we tackled our biggest subject ever ~ we voted to become "organized"! We wrote bylaws with expectations for officers and we struggled with the topic of becoming a non-profit 501C entity. It took almost six months to get the bylaws to a point where they are acceptable to everyone. In the mean time the discussion of becoming a 501C was still a hot topic. We finally came to the realization that the benefits outweigh the concerns; we are on the verge of generating larger amounts of money and we need insurance. So late in the fall of the year we voted to move on the issue and get the necessary paperwork filed to become a 501C. This will allow the club to purchase liability insurance and get our logo trademarked which will allow many marketing opportunities for products with our name on them.
In the mean time we continued with all of the meetings scheduled for the evening of the first Friday of each month. We now keep minutes of each meeting. The club participated in the Lonestar Roundup as we have each year for the past several years, we attended the church show & BBQ in Uhland and presented several handmade trophies, we showed up in force for the Fourth of July parade in Shade Hollow and made our presence known again during the Buda Fest Parade.
The show this year had approximately the same amount of attendees as we had experience last year. We had the men's club from the Uhland Methodist Church serve a quick cheap meal that was successful. We followed the same basic format as in previous years with one exception; instead of having a silent auction we held a live auction. This portion of the show was hugely successful. One of our signature series tee shirts sold for $600. The proceeds from the show will allow us to give three $2500 scholarships in the spring of 2012. Once again our trophy team really stepped up with a hand made trophy that made all of our members really proud and one that the attendees really seem to cherish. We found ourselves competing with several other show that schedule on our same date so we will move our show to be one week early next year.