The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 14, 2014

Auto Fair volunteers make a difference

The Friends of Coal Auto Fair simply wouldn’t be possible without all the dedicated volunteers.

Whether they have started volunteering only recently, or they’ve been involved since the humble beginnings of the event, all the volunteers make a difference.  

The Beckley Area Derby Dames (BADD) will participate for their second year at the auto fair, helping scan tickets before the concerts and checking bags for prohibited items.

“We’re so excited that they asked the Derby Dames to volunteer,” skater Burn N Kell said. “That’s what we’re all about. We love offering our time and energy into something that’s so family-friendly and fun.”

She said the dames had a great time at last year’s show with Travis Tritt — “We loved every minute of it. The crowd was awesome. We had a lot of fun with them and they had a lot of fun with us.”

Fans of the skaters know how fierce they can be on the track, but when the skates come off, they love giving back to their community.

Burn N Kell said the YMCA of Southern West Virginia and the Derby Dames have philanthropy in common, as they both try to give back as much as possible.

The two groups also share a common interest in staying active and healthy, Kell said.

“The YMCA does so many things for so many people. They’re all about the community. This is just a small portion of what we can give back.”

BADD will have a tent set up at the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, so don’t forget to stop by and say hello to the dames.

Another volunteer, Bob Bower, has been volunteering at the event since its inception 11 years ago.

Bower, owner of Carriage Car Co., was a founding member of Classy Chassis Car Club, which hosted annual car shows in Beckley.

“We used to be the only car club in town,” Bower said. “There was one show in Beckley each year and we put it on.”

When the YMCA started the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, formerly known as the Whitewater Run Car Show, Y staff invited Bower to help them get started.

“Of course I wanted to help them. I showed them the right way. It’s been a good bunch of people and I’ve enjoyed doing it.”

Bower said he is the voice behind the microphone all three days of the event, which over the past 10 years makes 30 days, or a full month he’s dedicated to the auto fair.

“(CEO of the YMCA) Jay Rist calls me ‘The Voice,’” Bower said with a laugh.

He said the entries are already way up from this time last year, so he’s looking forward to a great car show.

“I also can’t wait to see Kellie Pickler.”

Seeing old friends is also a great part of the weekend, as he has made many over the years through his involvement with cars.

“It’s a good thing to help the Y. They do such a good job in the Raleigh County and Beckley area.”

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