Last January, Larry McDonald and Tom Gray began a discussion to explore the idea of lending a hand to the local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108 in Seymour.

McDonald, owner of This Old Guitar Music Store, and Gray, president of the Seymour Area Cruisers car club, both are a big part of the annual Scoop the Loop event and decided they could enhance the weekend of the event and benefit the lodge at the same time with a car show.

The two men knew the lodge had funding challenges but wanted to try to continue to make programs like Cops and Kids, which brings Christmas presents to children in need, keep going throughout the year.

“We knew that Cops and Kids had lost some funding, and we just thought it would be a good plan to help and be a good addition to Scoop the Loop weekend,” Gray said of the inaugural Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show as he and McDonald directed traffic Friday night between the Robertson parking lot and Seymour Area Farmers Market.

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Gray said he thought the Cops and Kids program was a worthy cause to help through the car show.

“I just really feel sorry for the kids that might not get anything for Christmas or that don’t have a coat or boots when it’s cold outside,” he said. “I enjoy helping them.”

C.J. Foster, detective sergeant with the Seymour Police Department, serves as the FOP president and said the Cops and Kids program is one the lodge values and tries to make happen every year.

“Obviously, it’s all about the kids,” he said. “We do the Christmas shopping program at Walmart, and it’s a great thing.”

Foster said the program also reaches beyond the Christmas shopping event.

“We also provide scholarships to kids, sponsor local teams and anything in the community where there is a need,” he said, pointing to a recent event where the FOP replaced an autistic child’s buggy bicycle attachment that was stolen.

“We believe these programs are a great benefit to the relationship between kids and law enforcement,” Foster said.

McDonald has assisted the program before through a music benefit and thought it made sense to help again.

“It had been a couple years since we did a benefit for them, and we thought the car show would be great to add to Scoop the Loop and would help a really worthy cause,” McDonald said.

The event also brings attention to the city’s downtown, he said.

“What could be better than all these folks here walking downtown and noticing our shops and enjoying these cars?” McDonald said.

Participants registered their vehicles and were greeted by local members of the FOP lodge and law enforcement and took a chance at winning some door prizes. They then parked their cars with the assistance of members of the Seymour Area Cruisers.

The evening also featured music from The Reunion Band, which played music from an era when classic cars drove the streets of downtown Seymour.

McDonald said he hoped the participants showcased their vehicles during Scoop the Loop, which was Saturday.

“I hope everyone sticks around and has fun driving around downtown,” he said.

Foster said he was excited when McDonald and Gray approached him with the idea to have a car show to benefit the lodge’s efforts in the community.

“We started planning this four months ago, and here we are today,” Foster said as participants filled the parking lot.

McDonald said he also was thankful for the collaboration between he, Gray and the Seymour Area Cruisers and the local police departments.

“The friendships we’ve built through this have been great,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, and there are just a lot of wonderful people to work with.”

Jordan Richart is a correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.