September 29, 2022

Blog: High River Show and Shine

The River City Classics Car Club has been hosting High River’s annual Show and Shine for 20 years. This year’s event memorialised the late Brian Chipchase Sr., a 72-year-old member of the club who passed away this year. Chipchase was instrumental in bringing the Eamon’s Garage gas station (est. 1952) that once serviced drivers in Northwest Calgary to High River, and spent his last years dedicated to the maintenance of this historical attraction. Though a motorcycle accident in 2007 left Brian a paraplegic, he lived a full and rewarding life, committed to worthwhile pursuits - such as hunting and the celebration of Ford Mustangs.

The Show and Shine is certainly a landmark event, provided free of charge and with excellent accessibility for all ages and abilities. It’s undeniably uplifting, moving through the crowds seeing teenage couples on their first date, young parents with kiddos in their arms, on Dad’s shoulders, and sitting wide eyed in their buggies. Though the stream of onlookers was constant, disabled visitors were able to move through the flock with ease. One man approached me who had a speech pattern that was difficult to decipher. He explained that he had had a stroke and was learning everything anew. We took some selfies together, with the bright sunlight of the September afternoon glistening off the cars in the background. 

The energy radiating from the crowds in the downtown core of this beautiful Southern Alberta town is just that which enables such an open interaction; an abundance of commerce, culture, and creative devotion abounds in the presence of food trucks, bands, and of course, the cars themselves. Everything about the atmosphere resonates with the message: we are all friends here. 

I spoke to one owner of a 1971 Chevrolet Custom 10 that he won in a Lion’s Club raffle, and rightfully so, as the truck had belonged to his Great Grandfather who used the truck to commute across Canada visiting relatives and friends. Lane Coonfer describes his truck fondly, saying “She’s been trustworthy through the years, she just keeps up as life moves along.”

I came across a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback GT that I had seen before, having visited the couple who owned it one afternoon to chat about their project. Helene and Ray Morin fell in love with the ‘68 after watching Steve McQueen in a high-speed chase in the iconic car movie Bullitt. Driving a Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback, McQueen sideswipes a Dodge Charger 440 Magnum and sends it careening into a gas station to go up in flames.

Of course, Formula Auctions didn’t arrive with our hands in our pockets. We pulled up with an energized group of enthusiasts in our circle, and a 2008 Porsche 911 997 Turbo, a Competition Package E46 M3, and a 1968 Shelby GT500. We left with a stronger connection to our local car community, a renewed passion for bringing you a best in show classic auction market, and with a headrush of anticipation for next year’s High River Show and Shine.