COLUMBIA – Chuck Thomas of Nevada, Mo., has always been a Corvette man.
“It’s just the Corvette name and appearance. I’ve driven a lot of Mustangs, but the Corvette is just nostalgic whether it’s new or old,” he said while standing next to his red 1986 Corvette.
Although their cars may be from different generations, Thomas and more than 150 other entrants came to the Quality Inn on Providence Road for the same reasons: their love of Corvettes and the desire to help children.
For the last 15 years the Mid-Missouri Corvette Club has held its annual Corvette Cup to raise money for the Central Missouri Dream Factory. The group raised almost $19,000 for central Missouri children last year.
The Dream Factory is a charity organization that grants dreams to critically or chronically ill children, according to its Web site.
“We try to help kids with whatever they want to do,” said Mary Watson, who has been with the Dream Factory for seven years.
Corvette Club president Mike Luebbert especially enjoys seeing the families during the Dream Factory’s presentation after the event dinner.
“It’s a thrill to see the families and kids come through in the evening. It's just heartwarming,” he said.
While charity is the main focus of the event, camaraderie among Corvette lovers is another factor that draws people to the Corvette Cup.
“We’ve made so many good friends in this club,” says Watson. “There are so many people with big hearts.”
Watson and her husband decided to buy a Corvette after experiencing one for the first time.
“We had a friend who let us drive his and we were hooked,” she said.
“I dreamed about (owning) one since I was a kid,” Luebbert said.
Club member Bobby Mallory of Moberly enjoys the family connection the show brings to his life.
"Cars have always been a part of my family," said Mallory, who along with other members of his family owns a total of nine Corvettes.
Mallory has been a member of the Corvette Club for nine years and often attends car shows with his grown children and grandchildren, as well as his brother.
“It’s a good thing for us,” he said. “It keeps us together.”