- ‘Beyond happy’

Volunteer judge Justin Thurman of Mansfield, a Seymour native, scores an entry in Saturday's "Jeep Show & Shine" on the square.

“Beyond happy.”

That’s how Terry Penner, the city of Seymour’s community-development director, described Saturday’s inaugural “Jeep Show & Shine” on the Seymour square, which drew an estimated 500 visitors to see more than 100 Jeeps that lined the downtown streets.

“Before the event, I said that I’ll be happy if I have 50 (Jeeps), and I’ll be really happy if we have 75,” Penner said.

“Then we ended up with 85 registered Jeeps and more than 100 Jeeps that were on our square.

“So, I guess you could say I’m beyond happy.”

Despite a late-afternoon rain shower that lasted for just over one hour, crowds remained throughout Saturday’s three-hour celebration that focused on all things Jeep.

All four sides of the Seymour square featured Jeeps that were parked on both sides of the street.

“We knew (the event) would be a success when we had more than 80 registered by 4 p.m., which is when the event officially started,” Penner explained. “When we set up our tent on the north side of the square at 2 p.m., we already had people waiting there to register their Jeeps.

“From that point on, we had a steady flow of registration for the next two hours.”

Penner said Jeeps came from literally everywhere.

“There were Jeeps from here in town and Jeeps from as far away as New Jersey,” she noted. “They came from everywhere ... Webster County, neighboring counties, from across the state and from other states.”

As part of the Jeep Show & Shine, the city of Seymour gave away 100 toy ducks, a popular trend of Jeep events across the U.S.

Several vendors reported having brisk sales Saturday.

The Seymour Farmers’ Market expanded its hours until the conclusion of the event.

“I know that several (vendors) from the market said their sales were extremely good,” Penner said. One of the vendors came from the Highway C Amish community, selling a wide variety of baked goods that nearly sold out.

The Seymour FFA chapter from the local school district sold hamburgers and hotdogs. Nick Guthery, the chapter’s advisor, said students had to make several food runs to the nearby Seymour Price Cutter grocery store as sales were very good throughout the afternoon.

In the end, the Seymour FFA had a net profit of more than $200, Guthery said.

“I want to thank Terry for inviting us,” he said.

At the Seymour Senior Citizens’ Center, a fish fry was held, organized by Jerry Kleier.

When the food sales concluded, more than 70 meals had been served, resulting in a net profit of around $500.

“I know that sales were also very good at the ‘Sno-Biz’ shaved-ice stand operated by the Roberts family,” Penner said. “They were set up across from our registration booth, and there were lines of customers there throughout the full event.”

She also praised the celebration’s live band, the “Denzil & Jonathan Band,” which played a full three-hour set in the gazebo at the center of the Seymour Downtown Park.

“We had a lot of people say they did a great job and that they sounded great,” Penner said.

Six awards were presented by the city to Jeep entries.

Penner utilized the services of several volunteer judges, a group that included Steve Richards, superintendent of the Seymour R-II School District.

“That’s one of the things I love about Seymour,” Richards said. “Community events here are unlike similar events in other places where I’ve lived and worked. People here support the community. They volunteer. They show up. And the crowds show up because these events are so well done in every way.

“This is probably the biggest factor that brought me back to Seymour. This is home because it feels like home, and I’m honored that Terry asked me to be a part of this new Jeep celebration that filled up our square.”

Winners of the Jeep awards included:

• Jeep Farthest Traveled — Sabrina Giordona, 1,827 miles (from the state of New Jersey).

• Oldest Jeep — Burton “Burt” Leach of Seymour with his 1947 Willy.

• Most Iconic Jeep — Samuel Pyatt.

• Muddiest Jeep — Robert Pierson.

• Jeep Most Likely To Fall Apart — Therrin Dickinson of Seymour’s Mean Green Farms.

• Mall Crawler Award — Steven and Hayley Anderson.

Sponsors of the awards included Norris Automotive of Seymour, Tiger Media, LLC (parent company of the Webster County Citizen in Seymour), Keller-Williams Real Estate of Seymour (Dusty Capon), Michael Kyle’s American Family Insurance of Seymour, Seymour’s O’Reilly Auto Parts, The Seymour Bank and Steph’s Place Cafe & Bakery, located in Seymour.

Penner said plans already are under way for next year’s Jeep Show & Shine.

“The success of this year’s event makes me very excited about next year’s event,” she said with a smile.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the number of our Jeep entries doubles next year, and that would mean not only will the square be full, but many of our side streets connected to the square also will be full.”

Next year’s event likely will add a parade at its conclusion, Penner added.

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