Car enthusiasts from all over the United States drove hundreds of miles to show off their prized possessions as the first leg of the 2016 Hot Rod Power Tour kicked off Saturday in Gonzales.
But some collectors, like Patti Hatheway, 65, and James Jeansonne, 28, didn’t have to drive far at all.
They were just two of the classic car lovers to register for the event, which was the beginning of the seven-day road trip that traveled from Gonzales to Kansas City, Kansas.
Mike Segura, a volunteer for the event and member of the Baton Rouge Corvette Club, said more than 1,000 cars had registered early Saturday morning at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
Hatheway, a part-time Baton Rouge resident and member of the Baton Rouge Corvette Club, drove her 1973 Corvette Stingray to the show.
Hatheway moved to Baton Rouge after being raised in New Orleans. In 2008, she lost her home to Hurricane Gustav and decided to become a part-time East Coast resident. She and her husband, Nathan Hatheway, now “snowbird,” coming down to Louisiana in the winter and staying in New Jersey for most of the warmer months.
Patti said she and her husband always have been interested in cars. They met in LaPlace at a drag race when they were both 16.
“I grew up around interesting cars,” she said. Her mother had a 1957 aquamarine Chevrolet, and her father had a Pontiac LeMans.
“I can remember handing my father wrenches as a child,” Nathan said. His father was a dirt track race car driver who passed on his love for the machines to all nine of his children.
“This is my first year doing this show,” Patti said. The Baton Rouge Corvette Club was asked by the event to help with registration, and as the club’s media chairwoman, Patti wasn’t going to miss it.
The Hatheways, who have been members of the club for four years, recently purchased a 1980 Corvette as well but didn’t bring it to the show.
Jeansonne, of Prairieville, drove his 2013 V8 Camaro to the first stop on the Hot Rod tour.
“This is my fourth year doing the full Power Tour,” Jeansonne said.
As a self-described Camaro man, Jeansonne remembered seeing the first sketches of the new Camaro in 2006 and knowing he had to have one.
He purchased one as soon as it came out in 2010, his being the eighth the dealership sold.
His love for the Chevrolet inspired his parents, and his mother recently purchased a Corvette Z06, which also was at the show Saturday. Both of his parents are members of the Baton Rouge Corvette Club.
Jeansonne also is a huge Batman fan and was inspired to combine his two loves after participating in a competition where a slightly older, less powerful lime green Camaro out-placed his.
Joel Cangiolosi, of Full Blown Paint, a Gonzales-based custom automotive paint shop, came highly recommended and gave Jeansonne a customized Batman tribute for both sides of his Camaro.
Jeaneonne said he drives his Camaro everywhere and has put more than 60,000 miles on it in just three years.