Gila Valley Strong Benefit Car Show raises more than $8,000 for families in EAC van crash

Photo By Steve Carter: It was a packed showing Saturday for the Gila Valley Strong Benefit Car Show.

By Jon Johnson

THATCHER – The parking lot in front of the Sparks Homestore was packed Saturday with classic cars and trucks, diesel vehicles, muscle cars, and people for the Gila Valley Strong Benefit Car Show. 

Photo By Jon Corona

The event had more than 120 vehicles enter and raised $8,837 to be donated to the families of Mason Gann, 16, of Fort Thomas, Kade Nelson, 16, of Thatcher, and Emmett Darnell, 17, of Duncan.

Photo By Jon Corona: Mason Gann’s truck was on hand at the show.

The three teens died Friday, Feb. 21, when the Eastern Arizona College transport van bringing them home from a day at the drag races in Phoenix rolled over on U.S. Highway 70 roughly one mile west of Pima. The van was returning to the Gila Valley with automotive class students through the Gila Institute For Technology (GIFT) program.

Photo By Jon Corona: There were a variety of vehicles at the show.

Michael Peterson, of Pima, began and organized the event with the help of some volunteers. An eclectic variety of vehicles were on display and the top placers in the various categories were given trophies. 

Photo By Jon Corona

Click here to go to the event page and see the numerous pictures of the event.