AUTO ENTHUSIASTS arrived early Sunday morning at the fields outside Gamber and Community Volunteer Fire Company station to put the finishing touches on their vehicles for the department's fifth annual car show.
Rows of show cars, trucks and motorcycles trimmed with impeccably polished chrome wheels and bumpers sparkled in the bright sun as their owners made sure every detail on the car was perfect for the 1 p.m. judging.
Phillip Miller of Hampstead, a driver for egg supplier R.W. Sauder, entered his tractor-trailer rig in the show, and was one of the first vehicles registered that morning.
Miller said his company issues a truck to its drivers, and they are free to fix them up as they choose. He invested in chrome bumpers - front and back, chrome wheels, and redecorated the cab's interior with rosewood and stainless steel trim.
At 8 a.m., he cleaned and polished all the details on the rig. He repainted the white letters on the truck's tires, and polished all the chrome and stainless steel.
The truck was spotless.
"It's hard to believe that this truck spends 85 percent of its time off road, riding through chicken farms to pick up eggs," he said, admiring the sparkling rig that has won many trophies in past shows. Miller had taken home three trophies from a show the previous weekend.
Mike and Joan McDaniel prepared their 1935 Ford sedan. The turquoise hot rod has beautiful detailing swirling along the door panels and dice hanging from the rearview mirror. It looks brand new despite its age. The couple purchased the car last year, while on vacation in Minnesota.
"Mike replaced everything mechanical, but didn't touch the outside," she said. "We want to use it to travel with."
The Ford, which they nicknamed "Blue Steel," is the first car they restored.
As more cars entered the fields, bottles of cleaner and rags littered the ground. Tents went up to protect the owners from the bright sun, and friendly conversation took place between competitors admiring each other's work preserving or enhancing their vehicles. Elvis Presley tunes filtered from the speakers of a 1985 Monte Carlo Super Sport as owner, Vince Trakney of Eldersburg, polished the engine, making it look as if it had never been run.
The show cars were polished and restored inside and out, from the engine to the interior, including the trunk. Every part of the car is considered in the judging.
By 3:30 that afternoon, the judges had tallied their scores and determined a tie among seven of the first-place cars in their classes for the "Fireman's Choice" best-in-show award. The seven cars had perfect scores, so the eight judges went back onto the field to find a tiny flaw that would break the tie.
"Now the judges have to go back and nit-pick," said Holly Fink, one of the show organizers.
Jon Prochaska and his father, Gary, of Taneytown were among the seven contenders with their red 1955 Chevrolet. They had attended all five Gamber car shows, taking first place in their class this year as they had the year before.
Ultimately, the car that won was a RoadRunner in the Classic Car 3 - 1966-1969 category, entered by Jeff Doster. All the winners took home trophies and cash prizes.
The event raised $4,000 for the Gamber fire company.
Century High School held an orientation to welcome its incoming freshman class Thursday. The doors opened at 10 a.m., and the school's new principal, Andrew N. Cockley, greeted parents and students. Cockley said he was impressed with the school, remarking that it looked as if it had not been used the year before.
Cockley and Assistant Principal Carol Swomley emphasized that Century's theme for the year would be "respect" - respect for each other, teachers and community representatives who would visit the school throughout the year as mentors to students. In Century High's system of academies, parents and members of the community will be asked to offer their expertise in their field of work to the student, and will visit classrooms.
During the two-hour orientation, parents and students met in homerooms and then with their academic advisers. They also toured the school and had an opportunity to sign up for one or more clubs, such as Ski Club, French Club, Spanish Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Leo Club (young Lions Club), Drama Club and Book Club.
Current Century High students helped school staff with the orientation.
Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.