Creston residents will see an influx of hot air balloons and Studebakers in town this weekend.
Coinciding with the 41st annual Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days, the Studebaker Drivers Club’s Hawkeye Chapter will be holding its monthly business meeting in Creston Sunday.
The Hawkeye Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club meets once a month in a different part of the state. This month’s meeting is being held in Creston.
“We try to find some activity similar to your Balloon Days or a small museum or something of interest,” chapter member Gary Thoren of Red Oak said. “We meet as a group, have our point of interest, our business meeting and a meal together, and then we all head home. The next month, we load up our cars and do the whole thing over again.”
Owning a Studebaker is not a requirement to join the club, however having an interest in Studebakers is encouraged.
The Hawkeye Chapter just held a zone meet in Iowa City in August, where Studebaker Drivers Club members from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and even a few from Arkansas and Nebraska, attended.
Thoren said he believes the Hawkeye Chapter includes about 100 members from northwest Missouri, Nebraska and all over Iowa.
“I’m always drawn to the obscure. That goes for anything in my life. Studebaker fits that definition,” Thoren said.
Thoren is a self-proclaimed “Rambler guy,” but purchased a 1962 Studebaker Hawk, previously owned by his father-in-law, one day after stopping by his father-in-law’s house to socialize.
After going home to ponder whether or not to buy the Hawk from his father-in-law and discuss it with his wife, Thoren said he was told by his wife they were buying the Studebaker.
After purchasing the Studebaker Hawk, he found out the Studebaker Drivers Club was making a trip to Red Oak and he became involved with the group.
“Any locals that would like to come dine with us or meet with us, Studebaker folks are the most approachable people in the world,” Thoren said. “You’re under no obligation to join our organization. We usually have a few local owners show up to eat with us and we may never hear from them again.”
Thoren said Sunday’s plans call for the group to go to the airport Sunday morning to watch the hot air balloons. Following the balloons Sunday morning, the group will stop at the Union County Freedom Rock as a gathering point.
Brunch will be at The Windrow, 102 W. Taylor St. in Creston and the group will dismiss for the day following brunch.
“I don’t expect a huge turnout this month,” Thoren said. “The reason for that is last month in August, we hosted our zone meet, which most everybody went to. Next month, in October, is our fall tour, which most everybody will go to. We’re kind of in the middle ground. If you come out and only see five, six, eight cars, keep in mind, this is probably going to be the lightest turnout all year.”
About the Studebaker
Studebaker was based in South Bend, Indiana, and production ceased in South Bend in 1964. Studebakers continued to be produced in Ontario, Canada, until 1966.
Studebaker is the only company to go from horse-drawn wagons to cars. The first cars in 1902 were electric and, in 1904, Studebaker introduced its first gasoline-powered automobile.
Thomas Edison drove a 1903 electric Studebaker.