Paul Langley, of Eskridge, says he’s won “all kinds of neat awards” at car shows.
“But the neatest award is when people stop by and talk to me about the car,” he said Saturday. “That’s the best award I can get.”
A 1952 Chevy owned by Langley won the “Best in Show” award Saturday evening at the 2020 Homestead Assisted Living Cruisin’ the Capitol Car Show at the Kansas Statehouse.
Langley’s car had also won that award at last year’s Cruisin’ the Capitol event, which had different judges, said Vince Frye, president and CEO of Downtown Topeka Inc.
Langley said he bought the car about 19 years ago and made “tons and tons of modifications” to it during the first 15 of those.
Admission was free to attend Saturday’s eighth annual Cruisin’ the Capitol show, where car owners could display their vehicle and become eligible for trophies by registering in advance for $15 or paying $20 the day of the event.
Frye said the wide variety of vehicles on display consisted of “vintage cars to Teslas, and everything in between.”
“That’s what makes it so much fun, because any car owner that wants to be here can,” Frye said. “We’ve even got an old school bus and a military vehicle.”
The National Weather Service reported skies were sunny, the temperature was 92 degrees and the heat index was 106 as Saturday’s three-hour show began at 6 p.m.
Organizers were glad to see owners of more than 200 vehicles tolerated the heat to put them on display Saturday, Frye said.
He acknowledged that’s below normal for the Cruisin’ the Capitol show but said attendance was expected to be less than usual this year because of COVID-19.
The outdoor nature of Saturday’s event made it more conducive to social distancing than most public gatherings, Frye said.
At about 8 p.m., a moving vehicle that had gone through a barricade struck a riderless, parked Topeka police motorcycle on S.W. 10th Street south of the Statehouse, said Topeka police Lt. Ron Ekis. No one was hurt.
Shawnee County Jail records indicated the driver – Charles Kenneth Dean McNeal, 21 – was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with driving under the influence, transporting an open container of alcoholic beverage, driving on a closed or barricaded roadway, driving without insurance and failing to report an accident involving an unattended vehicle.
Owners of cars on display Saturday parked them in stalls along the streets just east, west and south of the Kansas Statehouse, with those being S.W. Jackson, S.W. Harrison and S.W. 10th. Concession stands stood on S.W. 8th Street north of the Capitol.
Many people showing their cars sat with family members and friends in lawn chairs near the street on the Statehouse grounds.
Frye said the classic car owners, who tend to put considerable effort into their vehicles and to take great pride in their appearance, expressed excitement about being able to show those vehicles Saturday.
“We’ve had a lot of people come and say ’We were so glad because all of the other car shows that we usually go to haven’t been available this year,’” Frye said. “And people are coming from all over northeast Kansas for this, so it’s great to have them come to Topeka and enjoy our downtown and the beautiful Capitol.”