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Gig Harbor classic car club supports local students through scholarships

Bob McCord, secretary of Gig Harbor Cruisers, stands next to his 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe in Gig Harbor.
Bob McCord, secretary of Gig Harbor Cruisers, stands next to his 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe in Gig Harbor. jbessex@gateline.com

Vintage vehicles may be the draw for club members of the Gig Harbor Cruisers, but supporting the next generation of car enthusiasts is also a main club focus.

Club president Howard Mackert, president and owner of Mackert Automotive, said that the scholarships for local students has been part of the club since its inception in 1997.

“We scour the high schools for local kids and give them scholarships,” Mackert said. “We give scholarships around $1,000 to $1,500 to high school students who are going into some sort of automotive type of work.”

This year the club awarded $4,000 to five students who graduated from Peninsula School District.

From Peninsula High School:

▪  Celina Parker

▪  Caleb Skoglund

▪  Andrew Gillett

From Gig Harbor High School:

▪  Aiden Ott

▪  Tyler Beck

Since the club’s formation in 1997, it has awarded more than $75,000 in scholarships to local students.

“The average age is probably 70 in the club,” Mackert said. “We’re looking for young people who are interested in cars. That’s really what founded the scholarship idea, to make sure we raise up a generation that’s interested in cars and in fixing them up and maintaining them.”

We scour the high schools for local kids and give them scholarships. We give scholarships around $1,000 to $1,500 to high school students who are going into some sort of automotive type of work.

Howard Mackert, president and owner of Mackert Automotive

The club’s biggest event of the year, the 19th annual Cruise the Narrows Car Show, is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Uptown Shopping Complex in Gig Harbor.

“This is our biggie each year,” Mackert said. “This year we’re (hosting) Steeds, one of the oldest car clubs in Tacoma. They’re kind of our featured club.”

Registration for the show is at the gate and is open to vehicles of all makes, models and years. Dash plaques will be given out for the first 250 vehicles and more than 30 awards for a wide variety of cars will be awarded toward the end of the event.

These awards are available for visiting vehicles only, Mackert said, and will not be awarded to members of the Gig Harbor Cruisers.

“That’s just part of making it fun for other people to travel and win something,” he said.

In addition to the cars, the event will also feature a Poker Walk, where event attendees can pay a few dollars into a pot and visit participating Uptown businesses to get a stamp on their game sheet and receive a playing card.

We’re looking for young people who are interested in cars. That’s really what founded the scholarship idea, to make sure we raise up a generation that’s interested in cars and in fixing them up and maintaining them.

Mackert

At the end of the event, the attendee with the best poker hand wins the pot.

“The more businesses you visit the more cards you get ... the better chance you get of winning the pot,” Mackert said. “It’s a fun way to involve the local businesses.”

The event will also feature music, some booths from local organizations and offer event T-shirts for sale. Additionally, the opportunity to join the Gig Harbor Cruisers is available, but Mackert cautions those interested to wait until after the show so they remain eligible for prizes.

“We try to involve other clubs (at the show) to broaden our reach and our involvement,” Mackert said. “We don’t want to have tunnel vision on Gig Harbor.”

The event cost is $20 and cost to join the club is $25.

“There will be a big chance to win (a prize) if you have something decent,” Mackert said.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

Cruise the Narrows Car Show

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Uptown Shopping Complex in Gig Harbor

Details: Registration for the show is at the gate and is open to vehicles of all makes, models and years. Dash plaques will be given out for the first 250 vehicles and more than 30 awards for a wide variety of cars will be awarded toward the end of the event.

Cost to enter: $20

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