Dwight Jelsing has loved cars for as long as he can remember.
His father was an auto mechanic, so Jelsing grew up around cars. His first car was a Henry J that he bought for $25 at the age of 16. For 30 years, Jelsing worked at Ford as a parts manager, learning the ins and outs of the machine. He even raced cars for a time, from 1966-1972, on the Geographical Center Speedway.
It was this life-long interest in cars that stemmed the idea of bringing a car club to Rugby. Along with Curt Ekren and Gerald Dosch, Jelsing organized the unofficial car club of Rugby.
Dwight Jelsing poses in front of his current joy ride.
"We are not an official club as of yetwe don't have a name yet," Jelsing said. Some club name suggestions have been made so far, including "Thursday Thunder Riders" and "Rugby Hot Wheels," but nothing has been decided. "We'd like to have a name and make a club out of it," Jelsing said. "Maybe people can vote on it."
Every first and third Thursday, the unofficial club rides out to various destinations. One day it might be Balta, the next it could be Harvey or Leeds. "We go to the bars where there's food," Jelsing said. "We sit around, eat, have a few drinks; it's just a good time with our local people." The last run of the season happens on a Sunday afternoon, ending at Lake Metigoshe.
A crowd of about 50-60 people takes to the road on these runs, some driving and some just along for the ride. The most cars the club has ever had in tow was 38, the least amount at 25. "So that's pretty darn good!" Jelsing said with a laugh.
The club started in 2015, making about six or seven runs last summer, and it has been a popular event ever since. Although classic cars and pick-ups are the most popular vehicles in the club, some people do drive their new Corvettes as well. However, everyone is invited to join the fun. "Anybody that wants to come and drive with us can young, old, women, men. It doesn't matter the make, model or the carwe don't care what you drive," Jelsing said.
The purpose of the club is to get people to bring out their cars and actually drive them. "We knew we had all these nice, classic cars in Rugby, but no one was driving them," Jelsing said. "They were just sitting in the garage! We thought, 'Well let's get out and start driving.'"
Besides the cars, driving and just hanging out, the car club also offers a prize drawing to those who participate.
"It's just a lot of fun," Jelsing said.
The car club will be making its next run on Thursday, July 7. They will leave from Cenex at 6:30 pm and drive to Wolford.