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Gallup Sun Star: 13 years strong

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The Gurley Motor Company Car, Truck, and Street Rod Show

The 13th Annual Gurley Motor Company Car, Truck, and Street Rod Show will roll into downtown Gallup July 26-28 as part of the 6th Annual Freedom Ride, Flight, and Cruise.

The Sun spoke with Steve Gurley July 16 about the car show and how it has grown.

“We started out 13 years ago. We had about 20 participants,” Gurley said. “We have grown to include participants from California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. This year we are expecting about 100 entrants.”

Gurley, the third-generation owner of Gurley Motor Company, a family-owned Ford dealer since 1933, said when the car show was started in 2006, the dealership had a goal of getting the show to be a city-wide event.

Six years ago, Gurley approached the Freedom Riders of New Mexico, as well as balloonists from across New Mexico with the idea of combining the car show with the cross-state Freedom Ride and the mass ascension of balloons from Red Rock Park.

“We wanted to create something where people will see what Gallup is all about,” Gurley said. “We wanted to provide something bigger and better to get people to come into Gallup.”

Once Gurley pitched his idea to the Freedom Riders and state balloonists, both of whom were happy to work with him, Gurley went to the Gallup Business Improvement District to present the idea to make the car show a bigger event to draw more people downtown.

Gurley voiced his appreciation for the BID, the City of Gallup, and the Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce for their support in helping the car show grow into the event it is now.

“I appreciate the amount of personnel [the city] dedicates towards making this work and presenting a fun event for everyone,” Gurley said. “Without them, we couldn’t have accomplished this.”

Gurley spoke about the different events that take place throughout the weekend of July 26.

On July 26, Gurley Motor Company staff and car show participants will meet at the Chamber of Commerce parking lot where the chamber will host a cookout for the participants from 5 pm - 7 pm.

The Gallup Police Department will then escort participants on a cruise through the downtown area.

On July 27, registration for the car show starts at 8 am and the show runs from 10 am - 3 pm.

The Freedom Riders of New Mexico start their cross-state ride from Tucumcari toward the Arizona state line in the morning.

The Courthouse Square will be closed to all motorized traffic July 27, where there will be vendors, live bands, a beer garden, and plenty of shopping opportunities for visitors.

After the car show, participants will meet at Gurley Motor Company after 6 pm for the Saturday cruise, also led by the Gallup Police Department at 7 pm.

Balloon ascensions will be held in and around Gallup on mornings throughout the weekend. On the evening of July 27, the balloonists will set gondolas and burners along Aztec Avenue leading into the Courthouse Square at dusk.

When night has fallen, the Freedom Riders will arrive in Gallup after their cross-state ride and will proceed down Aztec Avenue through the Tunnel of Fire provided by the balloonists.

“Watching the riders come through the Tunnel of Fire is the grand finale of all grand finales,” Gurley said.

The event will conclude when the Freedom Riders pull into the Courthouse Square, where Gurley will present a check for all the proceeds from the car show to Veterans Helping Veterans.

Gurley emphasized the whole weekend event is in honor of local veterans. He said the dealership does not keep any of the proceeds, and 100 percent of show registration fees go toward helping local veterans.

“If not for them, we wouldn’t have the freedom we have today,” Gurley said.

For more information and to pre-register for the car show, visit http://gurleymotorcoroute66carshow.com .

By Cody Begaye
Sun Correspondent