Hundreds of automobile enthusiasts and families flocked to Beneventi Chevrolet in Granger Saturday to see unique and vintage vehicles. There were classic muscle cars, a few motorcycles, old trucks and even a tractor in the lineup.
Tanya Jackson of Granger and her daughter, Erika Pegg of Granger, helped start the Beneventi car show nine years ago when they found out about all the classic cars that needed to be seen by more than just the Beneventi family.
They talked to the owners and convinced them to host a car show. Everyone’s now got their role in the grand production. Tanya’s husband, Robert Jackson, manages the parking duties. Bob and Terry Mayfield run the food booth, and Don Beneventi, longtime owner of the Granger auto dealership, “does everything that’s needed also,” Tanya Jackson said.
From these humble beginnings, the show grew into an annual event. This year’s show drew the most pre-registered vehicles at a whopping 113 automobiles, and that only accounted for the cars that were registered. Many more showed up the morning of the event.
“We get together for months before,” Jackson said, “to gather things that we can use as donations so that we can raffle them off.”
Visitors could buy food, drinks and raffle tickets for items such as a new television, a microwave and a bucket of automotive detailing supplies.
“Every year, the money goes to a different charity,” said Jackson.
Past beneficiaries have included the Wounded Warriors, the Animal Rescue League and the Racers against ALS. This year’s recipient was Howard Brown of Des Moines, Jackson’s cousin.
Brown spent the first three years of his life in the hospital due to the polio virus. His health improved after that, but the effects of the virus took their toll on him over the years, causing him to need a wheelchair to get around.
Brown’s disability scooter was stolen shortly after he moved to Des Moines, leaving him with very limited transportation options for getting groceries and other daily errands, so he was very happy to receive this year’s generosity.
Jackson brought three of her own vehicles to the show, an ’85 Mustang, a ’76 Maverick and a ’69 Mustang, which is her personal favorite.
“I also have a ’67 Cougar at home that needs a complete restore,” she said.
Her grandson is named Maverick, and he is the reason for the ’76 Maverick in her collection. She said she plans to have one vehicle for each of her kids and grandchildren.
John Hiatt of Des Moines was another attendee. He and his son, Derek, brought in a dragster and another car. Hiatt said he has been racing cars for 55 years, starting in 1962, when there was a drag strip in Des Moines. The drag strip was only open from 1957 to 1967, he said.
“I grew up with cars, and that’s my passion,” Hiatt said. His said his favorite vehicles are anything Chevy. He also said there is a drag strip in Eddyville that is open on Saturdays for kids to experience the joy of racing.
“They build junior dragsters for kids there,” he said. “They go very slow and are completely safe. It keeps kids out of trouble.”