ROAD TO FUN

Standing behind his factory sassy grass green 1971 Plymouth Duster on Saturday night along Chestnut Street in downtown Seymour, Charlie Banister waved and said hello to several passers-by.

It took the Norman resident back to the 1960s and 1970s when Scoop the Loop was the thing to do on the weekends, making laps down Chestnut and Walnut streets.

“A lot of it was the camaraderie because I live 25 miles out in the country,” Banister said. “I live out in Norman, so we didn’t make it to town all the time, but you come on the weekends and you meet up with all of your friends every weekend.”

Scoop the Loop went away for several decades until returning four years ago. On Saturday, Banister had the same bright green car that he had back in the 1970s.

“I bought it brand-new,” he said. “It’s the original color.”

Banister said he was a Chrysler line mechanic for more than 25 years, and he raced the Duster for seven years, finishing high enough in points that he qualified for a world competition three times. The car now has more than 135,000 miles on it.

Reminiscing with Banister about Scoop the Loop on Saturday was Jim Rotert of Brownstown. He used to live north of Cortland and often rode into Seymour to drive around the loop, either in his two-door 1966 Chevrolet Impala or a Dodge truck.

“There were times when your vehicle would get hot, and we would run to Cortland and back to cool it off, and then we’d get back in line,” Rotert said.

“I would always like when people come and meet up, and they would start revving their engines up,” he said. “It just rattled the windows through here. It was big time.”

Banister said he remembers the loud noises, too.

“If somebody got a new dual exhaust, every weekend, you could hear it being a little louder where the mufflers were burning out,” he said.

Rotert said he likes seeing all of the different cars and the work everyone puts into them.

“I like seeing the old stuff, like traction bars,” Rotert said. “A few of these cars, they’ll have them on there. Back then, it was like, ‘Oh, we have to have them.’ It was like 40 bucks for a pair of them back then, and you had to do some saving to get that.”

Rotert also said it didn’t ever matter what the weather was like each weekend. Everyone still scooped the loop.

“And the small-town thing, you were safe. Nobody was really looking for trouble,” he said. “There’s some sort of good neighborhood fellowship or something because it’s just so interesting that you can have a good evening, go down there and get something to eat and walk it off looking at the cars.”

Rotert’s wife, Amy, said she has been to Scoop the Loop the past few years. She grew up in Plainfield, which she said had its own loop.

But she said Seymour’s loop is “way better.”

“We were just a bunch of kids driving around causing trouble, and this is like cool cars,” she said. “We were causing trouble because we drove in front of the Kroger in Plainfield Plaza, and nobody liked us blocking all of the shops. That’s the ‘trouble’ we caused.”

Also sitting along Chestnut Street on Saturday was Rich Hampton. He put down the tailgate on his blue 1951 F1 Ford pickup truck to sit and watch people drive by. It’s one of 14 vehicles he owns.

“We bring this one down because we can sit in the bed,” he said.

Hampton said he moved to Seymour in 1986, but Scoop the Loop had died down at that point. Before then, he lived in Valley Station on the south side of Louisville, Kentucky, and that community had a similar event.

“We used to go around the McDonald’s and the Frisch’s and the Ranch House and do the same thing that they do down here, just a different way,” he said.

Hampton is a member of the Alley Katz band that performed earlier Saturday during Pig in the Park at Gaiser Park in Seymour. After that event ended, he and his wife headed downtown for Scoop the Loop.

“We came over here to chill out, go to Larrison’s to get a burger and come up here,” he said. “It’s just good family fun, no cost. It’s just a good place to hang out.”

Hampton said it’s neat to see a variety of ages of people attending Scoop the Loop.

“Young people today don’t know what it’s like not to be entertained 24/7,” he said. “When we were young, we had to entertain ourselves. We didn’t have video games. We didn’t have cellphones. We didn’t even have beepers at the time. So when you wanted to see your friends, you went where your friends were. This is how we used to visit.”

He praised city officials for allowing the event to occur and also the event organizers for taking the time and effort to make it happen.

“Communities need more things like this,” he said. “This is just another good thing that we do here in Seymour. You can’t do this everywhere.”

Anthony Allen of North Vernon was walking around with his camera taking pictures of the variety of older and newer cars driving down the streets.

Allen said he remembers his parents talking about doing something similar to Scoop the Loop in North Vernon.

On Saturday, he took a few laps in his Fiat before walking around and admiring the cars. He said he saw everything from a Rolls-Royce to a Camaro.

“It’s stuff that’s unique, stuff that you don’t see every day. Obscure cars, random cars,” he said. “The car culture is a lot different than it used to be. … People aren’t used to seeing these kinds of vehicles drive around.”

Wayne and Cathy Whitson of Seymour also chose to sit back and admire all of the vehicles participating in Scoop the Loop. They found a spot at the intersection of Chestnut and Second streets.

Cathy Whitson lived in Columbus when Scoop the Loop was popular in the 1970s, and she said she would drive down most weekends and take laps with her friends.

“It was just lots of fun,” she said. “Everybody was friendly, and it was just a fun time.”

Wayne Whitson, who has always lived in Seymour, said he chose to ride solo in his 1969 Chevelle.

“Most of the time, I was by myself. I just made a few laps seeing who was uptown and went on with my business,” he said.

“And picking up girls,” Cathy said with a smile.

“Nah, I wasn’t picking up girls,” Wayne responded. “She was picking up boys, that’s what it was.”

Joking aside, the couple agreed that it’s great to see Scoop the Loop going strong again.

“I just like the old cars going back and forth down the road. I just like them all,” Wayne said.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Cathy added. “I think a lot of people would like it to come back like it was, just all the time seeing your friends and getting together. I just hope they keep doing this and it gets bigger.”

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.