MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Car and motorcycle lovers have always had a bond between one another. They share a love for the mechanical marvels they own and maintain. The Combat Center brought these people together for a day to share their passion.
The first Chief’s Show and Shine Car Show was held at Hashmark’s Staff Noncommissioned Officer Club’s parking lot April 12, 2014. The show brought together not only a mix of car and motorcycle enthusiasts, but a taste of old and new designs.
According to Col. James B. Hanlon, Combat Center chief of staff, his love for cars is what inspired the idea of the car show.
More than 30 Combat Center service members and community members entered the car show, which was judged by the audience as they examined the vehicles and entered their favorites on their ballots.
The show was filled with a wide range of cars and bikes, from old muscle cars to shining corvettes and customized Harley-Davidsons. But whatever their choice of vehicle, they were brought together by their common bond.
Robert C. Jennings, a Texas native, is a retired master sergeant with more than 20 years of service under his belt and ’72 Chevelle convertible in his garage.
His love for cars started at an early age. Jennings took the drivers education course when he was 14 years old and received his license. His first car was an old ’56 Chevy. His love for cars continued after he joined the Marine Corps and also connected him to his fellow Marines.
“I’ve been stationed at several stations and there are always a group of Marines that are into trucks, cars, or motorcycles,” Jennings said. “We would get together after duty hours, on the weekends and work on each other’s cars.”
Years after his retirement, this connection between him and car lovers continued. He entered his ’72 Chevelle into the car show and in the process met many like-minded car lovers.
Under a canopy at a table filled with families, the chief of staff sat down across from Jennings. A conversation was sparked between the two strangers as two motorcyclists roared their engines in the background. The conversation between the two was fluid. It transitioned between the Corps and their vehicles. Coincidentally, Hanlon, who had entered his ’71 Plymouth Roadrunner, was parked only two spots away from Jennings’ Chevelle.
“I like old cars. I like to work on them; I like to drive them and I like to hang out with other car folks,” Hanlon said. “I like hanging out with people who have pride and joy working on cars, new and old, pristine and needing work.”
The spectacle of shining motor vehicles not only brought out car and bike lovers, but families as well. In addition to the many cars and bikes, the parking lot also hosted a stage with live music by Walla, concession stands, a rock-climbing wall, moon bounces, raffles and contests for families to enjoy.
Kids transitioned from eating snow cones to climbing a tank and then awing in front of Ford Mustangs, Corvettes and Harley-Davidsons.
“Since this was the first time we’ve done this, we wanted to build an event around it,” said Kathryn Crank, marketing director, Marine Corps Community Services. “It’s a great opportunity for the Marines and the community to come together.”
Following the Chief’s S&S Car Show is the Commanding General’s Car and Bike show scheduled for September, once again bringing together the car and bike lovers of the community.