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Car Club is revving up for the first cruise
In Crawford County
Crawford County Car Club
CLASSIC CAR FAN Justin Oswald, left, and Cody Mullikin started the Craw-ford County Car Club for classic vehicle enthusi-asts. All residents are welcome to join the free club and participate in its May car cruise and August car show.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - The Crawford County Car Club, or C4, formed in the summer of 2020 as a hobbyist group bringing together drivers, owners and collectors of classic vehicles. 

For county residents who have enjoyed participating in car shows and cruises in other communities, this new club and its annual events can give people the same experiences, just closer to home and at no cost.

“The club does not have any membership fees, cruise fees or show fees,” said Wuazeka’s Cody Mullikin, the originator of C4. “We do not and will not charge the public to participate or spectate. Without the people and the vehicles, we have no events.”

The club’s focus each year will be the C4 Classic Car Cruise in May and the C4 Car Show in August. This year’s cruise is May 8, and the show will be August 7. Starting in 2022 and from then on, the cruise will be set the third Saturday in May and the show the first Saturday in August.

C4 started as a small idea of getting a few people together and then it exploded into a much bigger adventure. 

Things got off the ground and rolling last summer, when Mullikin presented his thoughts about starting the organization to friend and fellow Wauzeka resident Justin Oswald.

“I had been in a lot of car shows and saw many things I liked and disliked. I thought, if I was part of the show, I could make things the way I felt everyone would most enjoy it,” Oswald said. 

Combining ideas, their vision for C4 was plain and simple. 

“We just want people to enjoy the hobby, get together and look at cool cars,” Mullikin stated. “We do not hand out trophies. The car that is considered the best is all a matter of opinion, so we leave that out of it.”

The intent of not charging any fees is C4’s way of supporting county residents’ continued passion for classic cars.

“People already have invested their time and money in the vehicle, and without the vehicles and people, we don’t have an event,” Mullikin said. 

After all the work they’ve done fixing, restoring, cleaning and maintaining their vehicles, showing off their rides shouldn’t cost them money,” Oswald added.

Certainly, C4 accepts donations, but turns those proceeds over toward hosting costs and in the form of prizes for attendees.

In the fall of 2020, the club’s inaugural event­—its car show—hosted 70 vehicles on site at the Wauzeka boat landing park. From there, the two young men have planned, organized and reached out to spread the word about their club and activities. They hope to grow the club for 15-20 years before handing down the torch to some other car enthusiasts. 

Among Crawford County Car Club’s several facets is its desire to show support for small businesses countywide. Because numerous businesses have been gracious in donating to the club, Mullikin and Oswald feel it’s important to do the same in return.

“Keeping our local economy healthy is necessary. They donate to a lot of causes, groups and clubs, including ours,” Oswald pointed out. “So, us having a car cruise that stops at a list of businesses every year will show them we appreciate their support.” 

The club also allows local youth groups to profit from a food stand held at the annual car show. 

At present, C4 has upward of 75 members who validate the club by following its Facebook page, in addition to a few who aren’t on social media. All members have input on logistics of the club’s events and they are the first to get information about happenings.

As time progresses, the car club founders are tossing around other event ideas such as a swap meet or poker run. They’re open to anything. Both Mullikin and Oswald are delighted to indulge in their passion while building something positive for the people of Crawford County.

“It’s an expensive hobby. I have more dreams than money,” shared Mullikin, who owns a 1980 Corvette and a 1953 5-window Chevy truck. “Anything Chevrolet is my favorite; my grandpa and his brothers all worked and retired from GM in Janesville.”

Mullikin comes from a classic car family, in fact. His dad bought a 1976 Corvette years ago and he always wanted one after that. He said his in-laws have a square-body Chevy truck, a ‘67 Camaro and a ‘65 Chevelle. 

“My daughter’s name is Chevelle, so I guess you could say it’s a family thing,” he remarked.

Oswald has six of his own show pieces. They include a 1949 Chevy 3800 1-ton pickup, 1949 Chevy 3100 1/2-ton pickup, 1973 GMC 3500 Car Hauler pickup, 1982 Toyota with factory 4-cylinder diesel engine, 1986 Toyota pickup and a 1952 Deuce-and-a-Half Army truck. 

“They’re all my children and I love them all equally,” he said, laughing.

Plus, his dad has his dad’s 1975 Ford F-250 Ranger XLT that he purchased brand new from Fennimore Motors. Justin is hopeful it could be his someday.

Though, he admitted his dream cars are a Dukes of Hazzard 1969 Dodge Charger or Starsky and Hutch 1976 Ford Gran Torino.

“I remember going to multiple car shows and meets with my dad and his ‘66 Mustang. I remember walking through all the vehicles and loving all the older ones and the character they had,” Oswald said.

Car cruise

Participants in the May 8 car cruise can anticipate 99 miles and stops at eight locations across Crawford County. Registration will begin at 10:45 a.m. at the Horseshoe Tavern in rural Wauzeka. The cruise will leave at 11:30. Additional stops will include The Wooden Nickel in Ferryville, Halvers Town Tap and M&M Bar in Gays Mills, McCormick’s in Rolling Ground, Bob & Lou’s in Steuben, Special T’s in Eastman and Boondocks in Wauzeka. 

There is no entry to join, and there is no rain date since Mother’s Day is the next day. According to Mullikin, if it rains the day of the cruise, participants are still welcome in any vehicle they choose.

Car show

When the time comes for the August 7 car show, all are welcome from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be live music, concessions and free door prizes for vehicle entries. The rain date for the show will be Sunday, Aug. 8.

C4 invites a broad range of old cars, trucks, bikes, etc. to be shown. Mullikin said it can be anything 20 years or older, any new age sport or muscle car that is restored, a hobby car, rat rod or any interesting project vehicle. Motorcycles and trikes are also welcome. 

As the show approaches, now is the time to work on that vehicle project that’s been put off for years or to find that perfect restoration project.

“Find a car that interests you and get your hands dirty,” Oswald noted. “Make it run, drive it and enjoy the experience.”