EVANSTON — “Eight years ago, when I suggested to my dad Charles that I wanted to organize an old car show as a fundraiser to help people with cancer or other special needs, Dad said no one will come to Randolph. That first year we only raised $200 but since then, the event has really grown and now my Dad is really involved with making his own rusted rod car to show,” Jared Huffaker said.
Over the last eight years, Huffaker has raised more than $60,000 to help his friends and neighbors in need. On Saturday, Aug. 17, he held the second annual Rusted Revival Car Show in Randolph, Utah. He also organizes an annual car show in neighboring Woodruff. So far, 10 people have received donations from Huffaker’s fundraising efforts. Among those 10 are a woman needing a liver transplant, a young boy from Idaho with leukemia, a family whose house burned down and cancer patients.
In December of 2018, Huffaker had decided to forgo the car show that coming spring. However, his friend Anelisa (Lisa) Bell told Huffaker that her 29-year-old son was dying of colon cancer. Huffaker decided right then to go ahead with the car show and they raised $12,000 to help the young man’s widow with funeral expenses and a headstone.
“I have found my passion,” Huffaker said, “I always set a goal and when we surpass the goal with donations it blows my mind. People come and donate and it’s a chance for all to have fun while helping others. It has become a big social event.”
Huffaker has lots of help from friends and neighbors in the two small towns of Woodruff and Randolph. One of his friends, Lana Thomson, helps by hand-painting trophies and recruiting donations for a silent and live auction. Donations of auction items from local people this year included handmade quilts, art, a yearling steer, gift certificates from businesses, hay, lariats for children and a handmade miniature Conestoga wagon. The auctioneers donate their time as well. They also had a donation of a rifle for a raffle item, with 100 raffle tickets being sold for $50 each, which raised $5,000.
They have a special trophy for Rat Rod entries, which, according to Huffaker, are “the poor man’s hot rod scrambled together.” The event has been featured in Rat Rod magazine. This year they had 12 Rat Rod entries.
Lana Thomson contacted the Herald to do a story on Huffaker because, she said, “People don’t know what Jared Huffaker does for Rich County. He is the most compassionate man I know and has helped many people.”
This year’s Rusted Revival Car Show was a fundraiser for Lisa Bell’s nephew, Kyle Bell, who is also undergoing treatment for colon cancer. Kyle Bell is in his early 40s and is a single dad of two young sons. This month he had surgery following months of chemo and radiation. He will be off work for three to six weeks from his employment at the Utah Port of Entry in Echo Canyon.
“The Bell family has had it rough with doctor bills and both men having the same type of cancer. Cancer sucks; it sucks the pocketbook, sucks the soul and sucks the family. This time we raised $16,500 for Kyle and it’s a miracle. I set a goal and we exceeded it. I guess I’m a good promoter. But I don’t do it alone, this community and rural people are cool; like the old days in the U.S., they help out,” Huffaker said.
He said they have four main goals for the event: it is free, fun, raises money and honors the military. The event includes many activities, including a pie-eating contest, root beer chugging, best beard contest, matchbox car races and more.
“We get a lot of Evanston people that come. Our event helps Evanston businesses, too, as out of towners rent motel rooms there,” Huffaker said.
Huffaker said people have heard about the event through his YouTube and Facebook videos. This year they had 57 entries and the event was scheduled during the Rich County Fair. People from California, Illinois, Arizona and surrounding states came to the car show. He estimated 400-plus people attended in Randolph and more than 1,000 in Woodruff.
“In one year, 2019, we have raised over $27,000 for the Bell family. Eighty percent of what we raise goes directly to the family. That is awesome and why I will keep doing the car show fundraisers,” Huffaker said.