Charity Car Show Drives Change

by | Feb 2024

CAR CRUISE-INS epitomize the sheer awesomeness of automotive culture. These community events manifest as a vibrant celebration of horsepower, design, and individuality, where enthusiasts proudly showcase their beloved vehicles. 

The diverse array of cars, from vintage classics to modern marvels, creates a dynamic spectacle. Attendees revel in the beauty of meticulous detailing, roaring engines, and the unmistakable aura of automotive passion. 

Cruise-ins rally passion that spreads through the community. Whether sharing restoration stories or admiring each other’s rides, participants form connections based on a shared love. The infectious enthusiasm nurtures friendships forged over a mutual appreciation for four-wheeled masterpieces. 

Cruise-ins are not just about showcasing vehicles. It’s about creating memorable experiences, fostering a sense of belonging, and reveling in the world of cars. 

Bowling Green native Kevin Kirby is well aware of the unity these events bring to a community. For the last 15 years, Kirby and a group of dedicated individuals have hosted “Cruisin’ for a Cure.” 

Each Tuesday from April to October, a free car show is held in the parking lot of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream Shop and Southern Lanes Bowling. 

“This year will be our 15th year. It started with a couple of families here in Bowling Green who had children who were diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. They wanted to raise money that would go to support finding a cure for children who were affected by diabetes. They sold tickets for a truck they had meticulously remodeled that they were going to give away. I gave them $1,000 to start that program. 

“From that, they took that $1,000 and raised over $100,000 that year. That was given to the Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation. After about two or three years of having the event, we then incorporated other nonprofits that benefit from the show, such as Hospice of Southern Kentucky, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Kelly Autism Center,” explained Kirby. 

The events have raised over $1 million, with 100% of the funds contributed to nonprofits. 

Well-known in the community as the Warren County Coroner and owner of J.C. Kirby & Son Funeral Chapels & Crematory, Kirby is proud to be able to give back and create an opportunity for the community to come together. 

“Cruisin’ for a Cure is much more than just a free car show. It’s a chance to support some amazing charities, fellowship with some old friends, and maybe make some new ones. It’s just a good clean event that resonates with young and old,” he said.

The show has welcomed car enthusiasts from all over the world.

“We’ve had people from as far as Australia to come and participate in the show. Bowling Green is a hot rod city, so we have a lot of car events here. When people visit Bowling Green, they’ll come out, stop, and see us on Tuesday night before a big car event on the weekend,” he enthused.

Folks travel far and wide to attend the beloved show. Locals consider the event a fond memory and look forward to it annually. For many, it has become a tradition that marks another year of growth and community. 

“We’ve seen a lot of children grow up over 15 years, and we enjoy having them out. We like to see young people involved and enjoying these classic cars. Because, you know, there’s a lot of us baby boomers out there that like old stuff like this, and we want to see young people get involved and then want to carry it on.” 

When asked why he feels the event has resonated so strongly with the public, Kirby stated that it’s because giving back is one of the things Bowling Green does best. 

“Bowling Green is a very caring and giving community, along with surrounding areas. We also paired with an event in Russellville called ‘Summer Nights Cruise.’ They do one show a month, along with one big event at the end of the season in their downtown area. We also combine those funds that support our nonprofits. Additionally, the towns around us are filled with people who care.” 

With globe-trotters and local generations keeping strong in attendance, Kirby said the future for the show looks bright. GN 

More Good News