Eddie Cochran Weekend gets rolling

Published 10:10 am Friday, June 11, 2010

Low Bucks Car Club members Jeff Quam and Bob Olson have grown up loving classic cars. They say it’s in their blood.

Quam said he bought his first car, a ’54 Chevy, for $30 with his confirmation money. At that time, his mother wouldn’t let him have a motorcycle, so he opted for a car.

Since then, he’s owned over 100 cars. At one point, he even sold a horse to pay for a car.

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“I’ve always loved cars,” Quam said.

He now owns a ’55 Chevy.

Olson said his interest in classic cars came from wanting a little independence.

“It’s just part of me. It has been since I was a teenager,” he said.

He currently owns three classic vehicles, including a ’56 Chevy sport coupe, a 1932 Ford Roadster and a ’62 Chevy C10.

He said his favorite car to own is the 1956 Chevy because he had one like that when he was 19. He sold his original when he was 20, and got the new one in 2003. He wishes he had never sold it the first time around.

Quam and Olson are just two of a couple hundred classic car enthusiasts who look forward every year to Eddie Cochran Weekend in Albert Lea.

Organized by the Low Bucks Car Club, this is the 24th year for the event.

“We work for it all year, Olson said.

Events kick off tonight with a cruise-in social from 6 to 9 p.m. at Country Inn & Suites. Trophies sponsored by Country Inn & Suites will be given for categories of “Oldie But Goodie,” “People’s Choice,” and “Long Distance.”

The social will be followed by a free drive-in showing of the original “Eddie and the Cruisers” at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds.

Both the Friday night show and movie are open to the public.

Saturday begins with the Hospice walk/run at 7:30 a.m., starting from the fairgrounds.

Then from 8 to 11 a.m., there will be a breakfast of Denny Brue’s pancakes, also at the fairgrounds.

Registration for the Low Bucks Car Show & Swap Meet begins at 8 a.m. and goes through noon. The show goes from noon to 4 p.m.

There is a $10 registration fee per show car. Public admission to the show is $2 per person. Fifty percent of the car show proceeds go to the Eddie Cochran Scholarship Fund, and first- and second-place awards will be given in 40 different classes at 3:30 p.m.

Olson and Quam estimated as many as 250 to 300 people have come to the show in the past, including people as far away as South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“For this area it’s good size,” Quam said.

Afterward, will be the cruise line-up and social, from 4 to 6 p.m. Following this, at about 6:30 p.m., the 26-mile cruise will begin.

As many as 400 have attended the line-up, social and cruise in the past, the two men noted.

The cruise route goes from the Freeborn County Fairgrounds to Fountain Street, Broadway Avenue, Southeast Broadway Avenue and then South Shore Drive.

From South Shore Drive — or County Road 19 — the cruise will go to Freeborn County Road 26 and then to Freeborn County Road 13 in Glenville.

Drivers will go through Glenville, across Highway 65, over Highway 35, across County Road 18 and then onto U.S. Highway 69.

The road continues into Minnesota Highway 13, and then the cruise goes right onto Fountain Street ending at the North Broadway Avenue parking lot north of the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Afterward will be a free street dance sponsored by the city, the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and the Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The featured band will be LD Cruiser & The Tones.

Events will be held rain or shine.

Albert Lea City Clerk Shirley Slater-Schulte said the street dance will be moved to the fairgrounds in case of rain.

Throughout the weekend, the Eddie Cochran and Marion Ross exhibit will also be available for viewing at the Freeborn County Historical Society, specifically from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Root beer floats will be Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Admission is $3.

Cochran was born in Albert Lea on Oct. 3, 1938.

He started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old and toured as a country music performer with the Cochran Brothers after his family moved to California.

He made the move to to rock ’n’ rock with his hit “Sitting on the Balcony,” in 1957, selling more than 1 million copies.

Other Cochran hits include “Summertime Blues,” “C’mon Everybody,” “Something Else,” and “Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie.”

Cochran died on Easter Sunday 1960 when the cab taking him to Heathrow Airport crashed.