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‘Cars in the Yard’ show makes Cheyenne debut, shows off sweet rides for a good cause

The Cars in the Yard show, hosted by the Laramie-based Working Class Car Club, on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Freedom's Edge Brewing Company in downtown Cheyenne. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — This weekend, a small stretch of Pioneer Avenue in downtown Cheyenne featured the sight of chrome, leather and machinery and the smell of food trucks, beer and gasoline.

With all of those sensations going on as part of the annual “Cars in the Yard” show outside of Freedom’s Edge Brewing Company, the event was exactly the type of environment that show’s organizers were aiming for.

Saturday not only marked the third year of the show, put on by the Working Class Car Club (a Laramie-based group that brings together local automobile enthusiasts), but also the first time that it had been held in Cheyenne, with the section of road where the show was held blocked off to normal traffic as visitors sipped brews and walked around the premises to admire the sweet rides on display.

However, there was also a grander mission to the show as the Working Class Car Club partnered up with Wyoming’s chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to hold the event to the nonprofit’s benefit. Those who helped pull the strings to make the show happen always appreciate getting to chat about cars, they said, but helping out a good cause in the community is what it’s all really about.

“We had a great turnout last year in Laramie as well, [but] this year, we didn’t know what to expect,” Working Class Car Club President Eli Pederson said. “Being as we’re from Laramie, we knew there was a big car community here, but weren’t sure how they would react to our show happening here. So we’re super pleased with the turnout; last count, we had 50 cars, [and] I think we’ve added a couple since then.”

The club decided to move the show east to Wyoming’s capital city this time around after two years of being in Laramie due to the fact that many of its members live in Cheyenne and it wanted to give them a chance to be involved, club member Mallory Thrailkill, who helps out behind the scenes in various roles for the group, said.

Having begun in summer 2020 as a way to “get people out of their homes” following the original onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thrailkill said that Cars in the Yard expanded in 2021 to benefit Laramie’s Heart To Heart Pregnancy Center in an event held at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site in the city.

When it came time to find a spot to hold the 2022 event, however, Pederson said he was having some trouble in terms of pinning a place down in Cheyenne for the summer until Freedom’s Edge co-owner Eric Kilmer offered to help, such as by filing the required paperwork with the city to ensure a section of Pioneer Avenue could be reserved for a block of time Saturday. After those hurdles were cleared, all that was left to do was wait for the day to come.

“Freedom’s Edge has a great reputation here in Cheyenne, from what I’ve learned,” Pederson said. “A lot of people love it; I’ve heard nothing but great things. So when they offered to host, we jumped on it. … Getting to meet some of these people has been awesome because we haven’t been able to meet a lot of the Cheyenne guys, so it’s been great.”

Though any reason to gawk at and chat about vintage and modern automobiles is one they’ll gladly take advantage of, some members of the club (including Thrailkill) have a personal connection in some way to Alzheimer’s disease and additionally have the desire to do something to combat it — hence the event’s pick of charity for this year.

Thrailkill said that her father has been diagnosed with the disease and moved earlier this year to a specialized facility in Colorado to receive treatment for it. By being open with club members about her father’s condition, Thrailkill said that she learned that many others within the club had been through similar experiences with family and friends. That made her feel more at ease about the ordeal and made the partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association an easy choice.

“Resources are incredibly important [and so is] knowing what is out there to help you through that incredibly difficult process,” Thrailkill said. “You can’t do it alone, you absolutely can’t. … It’s pretty hard stuff to go through for everyone involved. And if there needs to be a community that comes together to help and support each other, then there are resources out there to help them and they are not alone and they can reach out.”

Cars in the Yard hasn’t been going on for a long time, but considering that there are always noble causes to fight for and plenty of unique rides for car enthusiasts to check out, the act of combining the two on a yearly basis doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Those behind the Working Class Car Club certainly hope it stays that way.

“We have met some of the most amazing people that now we couldn’t imagine our lives without,” Thrailkill said. “The people have been really cool, meeting all the members and building those relationships. … All of the people that attend, whether they’re members or not, they all matter, and that means the world to us.”