Heritage Car show Heritage Car show 3 Heritage Car show 2

By Bob Balgemann
BELVIDERE – Kraig “Doc” had been gone for little over a year but his memory lived on last weekend, during the annual Heritage Days celebration in downtown Belvidere.
He had been involved with the festival’s car show for a long time prior to his death of an apparent heart attack a few days before the 2014 event. So it was appropriate for this year’s show to be a memorial to him.
Place winners each received a plaque with his photograph on it, standing next to a car. The awards were presented by his widow, Tammy, and longtime promoter Jack Cadwell of Machesney Park.
The idea for that tribute came from her late husband’s family, Tammy said.
With oldies music wafting in the background, this year’s car show occupied both sides of State Street, and went around the corner for a short distance on Logan Avenue. Prizes went to the Top 40, those receiving the most votes among paid entries. There also were awards in 10 “best of …” categories.
The winners of these categories include: Beat of Show went to Bill Steinborn of Rockford with his1969 Dodge Charter RT, Best of AMC went to Richard Whitney from Rockford with his 1951 Nash 4-door, Best of Ford was awarded to Gene Meyer of Belvidere with his 1932 Ford Pickup, Best of General Motors went to Dave Eklund of Machesney Park for his1957 Chervolet Bel-Air, Best of Mopar went to John Pierce of Kirkland for his1933 Plymouth Coupe, Best of Sports Compact went to John and Janice Cook of Belvidere with their 1964 Volkswagen, Best of Studebaker went to Evie and Howie Thomas of Hampshire with their 1955 Studebaker, Mayor’s Choice went to Ken Evans of Sycamore with his 1953 Studebaker and the “Doc” Bryan Memorial went to Don Wiese of Rockford with his 1966 Rambler Convertible.
There typically are a handful of unusual entries and this year was no exception.
Poplar Grove resident Bruce Buck displayed his 1984 Excalibur Phaeton, which was made in Milwaukee, Wis. He said he’s had the car for 18 years, adding, “I had a white one before, an ’81. They’re identical twins.”
Saying he’s “not ready a collector,” he said his small stable of classics also includes a Corvette.
“There aren’t many left,” he said of the Excalibur.
Kerry Hopperstad of Belvidere made a grand entrance in his 1928 Ford pickup truck, a street rod with large head lights from a 1939 Cadillac hearse. “They’re rare,” he said of the head lights. “Someone just came in and asked if I was interested in them. I knew exactly what I would do with them.”
His vocation of 40 years has been restoring cars for people. “I take an old car and put everything new in it,” he said. Hopperstad Customs Hot Rod Shop is on Newburg Road, about a mile from downtown Belvidere.
“I don’t show my cars,” he said of those that he hasn’t restored for others. In all, he said he has 10 or so of his creations that he just enjoys, driving them around the area.
Truck show returns
A truck show returned to Heritage Days for the first time in many years. All kinds of rigs, from modern-day behemoths to a tiny 1929 tow truck, drew many spectators.
The tow truck was among a number of entries from Denny and Sons, a 23 1/2-hour car haulin’ business that’s been around Belvidere for many years.
There also as a competition among the trucks on display.

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