Silverton Flywheels: Auto club fundraises for scholarship

July 2021 Posted in Community, Other, People

By Melissa Wagoner

Silverton Flywheels 2018

Silverton Flywheels 1962

From the outside the Silverton Flywheels might appear to be just your average car club, with muscle cars and hot rods shined up and displayed in all their glory at every show. But the club – which is one of the oldest in Silverton, having been established way back in 1961– has always been about much more than cars. 

“The club’s purpose was to promote safety,” members wrote in a historical account, which lists the promotion of highway courtesy, aiding citizens in distress, contributing to overall community wellbeing and respecting traffic laws as primary member duties.

And it’s no wonder because the brainchild of the Flywheels just happened to be the then Silverton Police Chief himself, Vic Grossnickle, who was searching for a way to discourage illegal street racing while still allowing car enthusiasts the opportunity to gather.

A lot has changed in the 60 years since the Flywheels’ inception. But what hasn’t changed is the groundwork of community upon which the club is built. Which is why, when beloved member Jon Dunn died in a motorcycle accident in 1998, members sought a way to not only honor their friend but to contribute to the community as well.

“We decided to start handing out a scholarship in his name,” club president Rand Breitbach said of the establishment of the first of three scholarships the club now provides each spring to Silverton High School seniors. 

“We started in 2000 and we’ve given $43,000 up to this year,” Breitbach said.

And they’ve kept the criteria simple: students must be enrolled in SHS’s Auto and Mechanical Technology Department. 

“We don’t look at GPA,” Breitbach explained. “We look at, ‘do you want to go to school?’” 

That schooling doesn’t have to be for automotive related jobs. 

“We’ve had nurses, firemen, mechanics, sales,” Breitbach said of the careers past recipients have gone on to hold. “One of them even works at a Ford dealership in Hawaii.”

Interested seniors need only fill out the application when it opens through the high school in early spring to have an excellent chance at receiving between $500 and $1,000.

“This year we only had two candidates,” Breitbach stated. “So, if you fill out the application you have a 90 percent chance of getting something.”

Currently, with the recipients already chosen for the 2021 year, the Flywheel Club is in fundraising mode, preparing for both silent and oral auctions during their upcoming Homer Davenport show held in Old Mill Park, across from the Silverton Pool.

“Now’s the time,” Breitbach said. Urging those interested in supporting the scholarship effort to attend one or both of these events. “If you’re looking for something for your garage, man cave, whatever, come on down. We’ll have beer mirrors, neon signs – those are really sought after – paintings. We’re trying to stick mainly with the automotive and beer theme.”

The suggested retail price for most items is between $15 and $30 with whatever doesn’t receive a bid in the silent auction during the morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 7, being presented in the oral auction at 1 p.m. that same day. 

“We feel proud helping kids go to school,” Breitbach said of the auction’s intentions. Adding that whether it’s to purchase an auction item, donate cash to the scholarship fund or simply to check out the beautiful cars, he hopes the community will come on down.

Flywheels Car Show & Silent Auction

Old Mill Park, Silverton. Saturday, Aug. 7.
Silent auction 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oral auction 1 p.m.

During the Homer Davenport Community Festival. Auctioning automotive and beer-themed items to fund the annual Jon Dunn and Wes Oster Memorial Scholarships.

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