Corvettes of all shapes and colors cruise Wisconsin Rapids - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Corvettes of all shapes and colors cruise Wisconsin Rapids

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- Little red Corvettes may always grab the spotlight thanks to the Prince song of the same name, but that's far from the only kind of Corvette out there.

Hundreds of enthusiasts at this weekend's "Corvettes of the North" car show showed off a wide variety of hot rods.

Sometimes the passion for cars starts at an early age.

"I was a car guy right from the get-go," said Ron Hilgart, the president of the "Corvettes of the North" club. "I probably started with Matchbox cars. I know I built models."

The feeling usually doesn't go away.

"I just love the look," said Shannon Michaels of Janesville. "The elongated muscle car, front end sticking out."

Michaels is describing the Corvette, the car to which this show is dedicated.

The "Corvettes of the North" club started it as a small gathering 39 years ago. Eventually, it grew.

"We decided to make it a two-day event and incorporate a cruise and a concert with it," Hilgart said.

Now, organizers say more than 800 cars join in.

Owners say shows like this make for a close-knit Corvette community.

"You can go next to any vehicle and if the owner's standing there, it's like they automatically bring you in," Michaels said.

"We're car buffs," said Steve Vaughn of Madison. "I particularly love the Corvettes. I'm up here with a number of Corvette friends."

These men and women take their cars seriously.

"I had been talking about a Porsche, and that was like blasphemy," Vaughn said. "You just don't do that."

"You tell them about your vehicle that you have and they tell you about theirs and how they got it, where it's been, possibly the previous owners," said Michaels.

As the hundreds of vehicles file out of the parking lot for the cruise around town, the drivers become a family, united by four wheels, two axles and an engine.

The 20-mile cruise is a benefit for the Wood County Rescue Squad. Organizers say they raise about $3500.

The car show continues Sunday at the Grand Rapids Lions Club.
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