Great Plains Street Rodders History
By Bob Schmeichel (Club Founder)
Many founding members of the Great Plains car club were Siouxland Street Rodders. It wasn't a very large group at the time, but we did the Easter Car Show in the spring and used the money from that to rent the fairgrounds and put on the Labor Day Rod Run and Campout. Even back then I was playing around drawing cars that we used on the Labor Day Rod Run t-shirts and dash plaques. For me it was kind of fun to try to come up with some clever designs that depicted camping out with your hot rod. We were lucky enough to have the Argus Leader write articles on the club and how we felt hotrodding was a family hobby.
One evening in 1985, I got a call from Jerry Kennedy, who at the time was a field director for NSRA. He asked my thoughts about having the Mid-America Mini-Nationals in Sioux Falls. He’d passed through Sioux Falls many times on the way to Minneapolis for the Street Rod Nationals and thought Sioux Falls would be a nice town to do a smaller event for 1948 and older street rods only. So in 1985, I organized this new club for street rods only and we called ourselves the Great Plains Street Rodders. Our goal was to help coordinate the ‘86 National Street Rod Association, Mid-America Nationals that was held in Sioux Falls. The Mid-America Nationals grew and moved on. And, so did we by opening up the club to all car enthusiasts.
As mentioned, originally, the Great Plains Street Rodders club was exclusive to pre-1949 hot rods. 1998 brought some changes to the club and bylaws were revised to match the qualifying autos of MSRA’s nearby “Back to the 50’s” show. Members had many friends cruising together to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in cars manufactured after 1949, so we expanded membership to include more cars.
The clubs’ membership continued to increase as member choices of hot rods expanded and changed. Current members continued to add hot rods representing many eras of automobile history to their collections. And the Great Plains Street Rodders’ objective as a family based social club of car enthusiasts expanded to our current rule; qualifying members currently include all car enthusiasts building or owning their dream car.
Years ago, the members realized during the long Dakota winters, they missed the kinship of summer car shows and cruises together and began to meet during the winter cruising off-season as a “meet-n-eat” Wednesday evening social club. The club continues that tradition averaging 70 members at local restaurants. Meeting during the winter months fostered friendships and has been a strength of the club ever since.
Current membership has grown to almost 300 men and women who still enjoy organizing their own cruises, poker runs and picnics. Over 30 years have passed since those founding days and we still feel hotrodding revolves around family and the future of our hobby lies within our youth. Our events are coordinated with families in mind, so please bring your children and grandchildren and share the fun times and cool cars with all. They are more than welcome at all our cruise-ins. Member participation at local, regional and even national shows continues to be as strong now as it was also 30 years ago. Through the years the club has also maintained high levels of volunteer efforts and supported many charitable fund-raising events.
Bob Schmeichel (1985)
Larry Stauffacher (1994)
Jeff Meendering (1995)
Ron Roe (1996)
Ed Benson (1997)
Roger Malcomb (1998)
Bob Hardy (1999)
Randy Hanson (2000)
Roger Malcomb (2001)
Brad Goebel (2002)
Dale Bruining (2003)
Ron Roe (2004)
Doug Walker (2005)
Kevin Kappenman (2006)
Clay Seachris (2007-present)