The 40th Annual Peotone, Illinois Tri-Chevy Swap Meet & Car Show
By Scott Strenzel, aka “Scooter” from Scooter’s Garage
Way back in September of 1972 Rodney Brockman and six more of his buddies formed the Tri-Chevy Association. By 1973 these ‘55-’56-’57 Chevrolet fans had use of Phillips Chevrolet over at Frankfort, IL to hold their first swap meet and car show. Rodney was telling me that they had 17 vendors and 21 cars at that event. Over the years, the Tri-Chevy Meet has grown so much, that in 1977 it had to be moved to the Will County Fairgrounds.
The club also has grown from the founding six members to over 140 as of 2012. That’s a good thing because Rodney was telling me that today’s meet takes 125 volunteer workers to have it function and the well-oiled machine that I was privy to observe when I was a guest there.
This year’s numbers were like this: It was over 90 degrees, and that may have held down the show car numbers a little. Nonetheless, the total was a whopping 581! This was divided up as 260 cars were parked in the for sale area, and another 321 were parked in the show car area.
I just have to run on here some. It was impressive in that I noticed a larger than normal numbers of our youth with pre-1980 cars. Heck, I even saw three or four young guys with their girlfriend helping detail the car. Nancee and I came across a couple three or four young guns that had convinced their fathers or their girlfriends fathers to tag along to the event. And these dads were not car people.
They were having a real quality family outing at the Will County Tri-Chevy Meet big time. That in itself is a nice pat on the back to the event. I also found a decent number of female-owned cars there. I saw literally everything there is in the old car hobby. Also at every price range, quality level displayed and in the for sale area as well as the show car area. I quit checking of what state license plates I could see after maybe six or seven from the closer by area states. I talked to the owners of chopped top ‘50s Mercs, done and in the process. Obviously, I saw scores of mint tri-Chevys, plus bone stock ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s vintage cars, as well as so many street rods and lead sleds I couldn’t keep track. I’m old enough to have even come across some vintage magazine feature customs from the early 1960’s. I also saw a large run of numbers matching muscle cars from all of those manufacturers that produced the factory hot rods. I also saw and talked to guys and gals that were displaying some wild and mechanically perfect Rat Rods, and some vintage correct old skool hot rods.
I have to give the Tri-Chevy Club a hand and high five or whatever is now cool. Somehow they seemed to attract really nice, friendly car owners and many of them had their family with them, which is nice to see in the hobby.
Then, Nancee and I we were given a golf cart ride around the massive swap meet area. I have some pictures that simply don’t show the depth of the parts and pieces that are for sale or trade at this exciting event. How about these numbers Auto Round-Up readers: This year they had 1,230 vendors from, IL, IN, MI, WV, WI, OH, TN, FL, KY, IA, KS, OK, SC, NC, Canada, NE, MO, and probably a few more. The numbers at the gate for this year were somewhere over the 8,500 mark. Plus, workers, car owners and VIP freebies. I also have to mention that I saw a fairly large number of non-Chevy parts and pieces, plus the facilities and the food is simply off the wall. There is even a large air-conditioned display area, and the heads (marine for potty) are clean and all over the area.