By Loribeth Reynolds

Rows of classic and custom cars lined up inside the Meadowlark building at The Kansas State Fairgrounds, all in an effort to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence on April 4.

Once inside, smiling patrons paid their way in, with proceeds going to the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.

Crowds of wide-eyed people peered at custom interiors, leaned under hoods and pointed out nice paint jobs.

At the back of the building was a red, 1992 Mazda convertible, adorned with Hutchinson Community College memorabilia.

Susan Puls, Hutchinson, owns the car, appropriately named “Duke.”

When she saw it for sale by the college, she knew she had to have it.

“I always wanted a red convertible, so that I could put Duke the Dragon on it,” Puls said.

“I go back to vintage dragon years and I am always looking for new stuff to decorate the car with.”

The interior of the car was stuffed with everything from little toy Dukes, an HCC foam finger, and a Blue Dragons football helmet.

In addition, hanging proudly from the rear view mirror was a special HCC baseball cap that belonged to her father.

He set up a scholarship through HCC, and every student who has received it has signed the cap.

“Next year, this car will attend every HCC basketball game,” Puls said.

To the right of Puls car was a stage where a live band, The Ziggowatts, were playing.

People weaved in and out of rows of cars, bobbing their heads to the music.

Teri Irwin, Mount Dora, Florida, took a break from looking at beautiful cars and danced in front of the stage.

“They have a funky sound,” Irwin said. “I came to this event not only to support Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, but also to see The Ziggowatts play, and I’m absolutely in love with the dark blue Chevelle over there. It’s hot.”

Daniel Lizalde, Hutchinson, organized the event and went to extremes to make it a success.

He spent all night inside the Meadowlark building to keep an eye on the cars. He was tired, but glad to see so many people enjoying themselves.

“I’m going on about two hours of sleep right now,” Lizalde said.

“It’s worth it, though. People are having a great time and they dig the band, plus this event is for a good cause.”

At the end of the show, trophies were handed out and there was drawing for NASCAR tickets.

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