By Lacy Hilliard
The Joe Barlow and Kim Sutton Memorial car and bike show and memorial ride began on Friday, August 17, in Mountain City. Dozens of custom bikes and vintage automobiles lined Main Street. Combined with the scenery and the sounds of the Blue Suede Soul band echoing through crowd, the event feigned a picturesque time warp that if stumbled upon unknowingly, might cause one to think theyd somehow ended up in the 1950s.
The late Joe Barlow and Kim Sutton were both honored members of the community that dedicated their lives to helping others through their medical professions and their personal lives. Barlow was the Vice Deputy Director of the Johnson County Rescue Squad and EMS. Sutton was a 16-year employee of Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation Center. Both Barlow and Sutton are revered by their former co-workers as exceptional at their professions and often going above and beyond the call of duty. Sutton and Barlow also worked to inspire young students to consider a career in the medical profession and they continue to inspire even after their lives were tragically cut short.
The primary reason for this event is to raise money for the Joe Barlow/Kim Sutton Memorial Scholarship Fund. This years recipient was Craig Jennings. Jennings is a graduate of Johnson County High School and is currently attending classes at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Much like Kim Sutton, Jennings is employed by Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation Center. He plans to continue his career in geriatric care after he graduates. Jennings was thankful for the $750 scholarship he received from the memorial fund and he said that because its the only money he received to help with his college tuition, It really meant a lot.
The cars and bikes entered in the show all paid a $10 entry fee. The participants were inspired by the cause and happy to take part in this memorial event. Mountain City resident Kaye Atwood was in attendance showcasing her 1955 Chevy Belair hardtop which was purchased by her late husband, Russell Henson, in 1958 from a used car lot right in Mountain City.
Jim and Helen Payne were also entered in the contest showing off their 1939 black cherry Chevy. This classic took Jim Payne 15 years to restore after rusting in an old barn for an undetermined amount of time. Today the black cherry automobile shines like a brand new penny and the couple enjoys their outings in this rare classic.
The Johnson County Knights Motorcycle Club were the primary organizers of the memorial event and their shiny motorcycles proudly lined the street for the bike show. Everything from touring bikes to sport bikes could be seen at the event and many in attendance were impressed with the vast array of entries. On Saturday, August 18 the festivities concluded with the memorial ride. The 2012 Joe Barlow/Kim Sutton Memorial Ride began in Mountain City and made its way down Highway 58 through Damascus toward Saltville and totaled about 100 miles. Several dozen bikers participated in the ride and all entry fees were donated to the scholarship fund.
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