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Street rods travel near and far to help children

Street rods travel near and far to help children

Members of the Western Maryland Street Rod Association have a passion for classic cars, but what really drives them to go the extra mile is the children.

For nearly as long as the 47-year history of its annual Street Rod Roundup, the car club has used revenue from the event to support The Children’s League. The organization, which is based in Cumberland, Md., serves and cares for children from birth to age 21 in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, who are in need of special pediatric care ranging from speech and physical therapy to assistance with cerebral palsy and orthopedic care.

The car show returns Labor Day Weekend, beginning Friday, Aug. 30, and running through Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Allegany County Fairgrounds southwest of Cumberland. The show is open to the public on Friday and Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It is amazing the years of support and care that they have given to the League,” said Cathy Growden, executive director of The Children’s League.

“The Children’s League is celebrating 85 years of serving and caring for children – when you think about it, the Western Maryland Street Rod Association has been there for over half of that time. That’s pretty awesome.”

Growden says that children being helped by The Children’s League attend the car show annually. She shared one story in particular where the father and grandmother of a boy named Bentley, who plans to attend this year, also received assistance from The Children’s League.

“Bentley loves to see the cars,” Growden said. “This is three generations of a family that the League has served and we plan on being here for Bentley and taking care of him until he ages out of our service when he is 21. He is seen in orthopedic clinics and receives weekly physical therapy. So you see the WMSRA support has helped sustain the League and supported our mission of caring for and serving children, just not today, but for generations.”

Car enthusiasts from all over the country travel to enter their prized automobile in this event. Some come to enjoy a fun-filled weekend of unique cars, live music and competitive events.

During the event, each year, it has been tradition for a mug to be designed and auctioned to the highest bidder at the awards ceremony on Sunday. The mug is then donated back to The Children’s League and displayed at the League office at 12501 Willowbrook Road.

Street rodders typically get to meet with several of the children who benefit from their generosity at the awards ceremony. Some children even go on special car rides on Sunday.

“I come out of this with watery eyes every year after seeing a smile on a child’s face,” said Donnie Reid, a Falling Waters, W.Va., native and car club member.

The show also includes a good bit of fun highlighted by jousting in which a passenger of a street rod attempts to get rings on a pool stick while the vehicle is moving.

“It’s what we consider a big show,” said Rodney Paxton, who spent 25 years in security associated with the car show and now handles public relations. “The blessing that comes from this ... we do this for the kids.”

Reid and Paxton are just two of the 50 club members, who are among the volunteers for the three-day event.

Like last year, a Chevrolet short block engine will be awarded as a grand prize. There is also a swap meet outside admission grounds where car enthusiasts can purchase parts for their classic cars.

At least 250 cars were pre-registered for the car show as of Aug. 22 and the organizers expect that number to grow to at least 700.

“Everyone at The Children’s League greatly appreciates that the hard working men and women of the Western Maryland Street Rod Association have that same great passion for children. Their support has been phenomenal and the friendships that we have built are life lasting,” Growden said.


If you go...

What: Western Maryland Street Round Up

When: Friday, Aug. 30, and Saturday, Aug. 31, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Allegany Fairgrounds, Cumberland, Md. 

Cost: $50 to enter a car for the weekend. Spectators - adults $3; children over 12, $1; 12-and-under, free. 

More information: Call 301-876-1109 or register visit

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