Country Cruisers

By Lacy Healy

Always being a muscle car fan and automotive enthusiast, Charles Dubbe became a very lucky man on September 11, 1999. In the late ‘70s, both Dubbe and his wife owned muscle cars. Lorena had a 1969 Chevelle, while Dubbe had his 1969 Mustang Mach 1. But as with most classic car owners of the time, when it was time to start having a family, the muscle cars were sold, even for things such as carpet. Dubbe is my father, and Dad recalls the day clearly, because with a daughter interested in writing, things must be documented while they are fresh.

“It was September 9, 1999 when I heard tomorrow would be the last day to register to win a His and Hers giveaway from Coca-Cola, Results Radio, Terry Schulte Chevrolet and other local sponsors. The giveaway included a 1969 Z-28 Chevy Camaro and a 1999 Z-28 SS Limited Edition Chevy Camaro Convertible. I thought it would fit into my plans to stop and give it a try. On September 10th, after a morning at work, I stopped to register for a chance to register to win inside “Razzles”, there were only a few people eating and three or four radio people manning the live broadcast. One of these radio station employees kept telling me to include my phone number that I could be reached at around 7:00 that evening. As it was the last day of the drawing, they would be calling anyone who qualified as a finalist. You can bet I was home by 6:45 ready for any calls. I anxiously watched the clock and 7:00 came and went so I wrote it off as water under the bridge. At 7:20 the phone rang, and it was a representative of Results Radio saying I was a finalist and to be at the then Terry Schulte Chevrolet on 12th Street at 10:00am the next morning.

My wife Lorena, and two of our daughters, Dawn and Amber arrived at the drawing spot around 9:30 on September 11th and found only a few people there. While we waited I shook hands with Jammin’ Jay, a KIKN 100.5 radio DJ whom I had been acquainted with multiple times. One of the event organizers gave me my qualifier to go into the tumbler once it arrived.  After depositing my qualifier, I then found out I was one of 500 finalists, and having placed my qualifier in so early, mine was now at the bottom of the pile. At about 12:15 the parking lot was now full of contestants and they started to choose 100 names out of the tumbler. Each contestant called then had to choose one of 100 keys, one of which opened the door to the 1999 Z28 SS Camaro Convertible. If your key opened that door, both Camaros were yours. Somewhere around number 80, my name was drawn from the tumbler. When I stepped up to pick a key there were around 20 or so left, so I felt around in the box for a group of keys and without looking I grabbed and came up with two keys between my thumb and finger. I slid my finger and dropped the farthest key away from me, cursing the fact that I probably dropped the winning one back into the box. After looking at the key, I thought it must be a dud, with so few ridges and cuts on it, so I assumed my luck had finally run out.

When I finally decided to go give my key a try, something told me to go shake Jammin’ Jay’s hand one more time for good luck, so I did. After about 80 keys had been tried with no winner, I approached the convertible to try my luck. As I slid the key into the slot, all I could think was to turn the key to left, like on my Chevy pickup door. My key only turned about 15 degrees, so I thought my chance was over. Leaving the key in the door, and being the smart aleck I am, I turned to the announcer and said, “Is that good enough?” Then the unthinkable happened, the announcer reached down, turned the key to right and opened the door.

At this moment, my heart stopped and I couldn’t believe it was true. I backed up to the 1969 Camaro, took off my hat, looked to the sky, looked down and shook my head. Everyone started clapping and cheering and I looked up and met eyes with my good luck charm, Jammin’ Jay. The next hour was a blur of handshakes, pats on the back, screams and tears from my family.

After things somewhat calmed down, Jay came over and said that we should buy a lottery ticket, but I knew that if I won, my heart wouldn’t have been able to handle it. I had won two cars in less than 24 hours. It was a great end to the millennium.”

When Dad won the cars, I was 14 years old. Dad started taking the cars to shows and cruise nights, we took the 1999 to Colorado on vacation, and have made many family memories surrounding Dad’s lucky win. He still has the cars to this day, and makes sure they get out each summer and meets up with other local muscle car enthusiasts for an annual cruise around area small towns.

Dubbe is forever grateful for all those who sponsored the giveaway, because it truly gave him and his family a chance to experience life with a muscle car when he thought he would never have the opportunity again. “It’s been a crazy ride. And I should have bought that lottery ticket.”

 

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