CruzinPort car show now revs up in Matamoras

'Turn it on, wind it up, blow it out, GTO': Hot rods of summer move to Airport Park after show's success squeezes it out of Port Jervis


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Photos



  • This restored 1967 Pontiac GTO belongs to Glen and Susan Daves of Warwick, N.Y. (Photo by George Leroy Hunter)




  • Bill Papula's race car on display, covered with sponsor logos: Papula (behind the car wearing a black hat and shades) is an elementary school teacher who lives in Matamoras. He's also been a race car driver since 1989. (Photo by George Leroy Hunter)




  • A customized 1979 Dodge Li'l Red Express Truck (Photo by George Leroy Hunter)



"We have people who attended when we were in Port Jervis and are now supporting us here. Some have driven as long as an hour or more to be here."
Sheri Butler


By George Leroy Hunter

— Lovers of classic cars and trucks are converging on Matamoras Recreation-Airport Park on the first Tuesday evening of every month, from 5 to 8 p.m., when CruzinPort comes to town.

CruzinPort originated in Port Jervis, N.Y., but moved to in Pike County in May when the show's popularity demanded more space. Harold and Sheri Butler are now in their tenth year of organizing CruzinPort, which extends from May to September. (In case of inclement weather the "cruise night" is postponed to the second Tuesday of the month.)

"My husband Glen and I don't do too many car shows," said Susan Daves of Warwick, N.Y., whose immaculate 1967 Pontiac GTO garnered plenty of attention at a recent show. "But we like CruzinPort because of the camaraderie of fellow classic car owners and the relaxed atmosphere."

There is no admission fee just to look at the vehicles on display. The night concludes with trophies awarded in different categories.

In recent years, ongoing construction related to the business redevelopment of downtown Port Jervis proved disruptive to CruzinPort. Several locations in Port Jervis hosted the event, but the available parking spaces were no longer able to accommodate the hundreds of people turning out. The Butlers decided to permanently move the show to the Borough of Matamoras.

"Our cruise night is called CruzinPort because we spent the first nine years in Port Jervis before moving to Airport Park," said Sheri.

The dawn of a great ideaThe Butlers also own and operate Butler Homes, which builds custom-designed modular homes in the tristate area. Harold explained how he came up with the idea for a local car show.

"I grew up in Port Jervis and went through the school system there," he said. "When I was old enough to get my driver's license, I began hot-rodding. I drove to many car shows in the area with my 1970 Corvette. Eventually, I thought to myself, why not start a car show here in my hometown?"

The idea was an instant hit.

"It was really nice for the first five or six years," Harold said, "but then we got really big. In recent years we were dealing with parking issues, and new construction in downtown Port Jervis limited space in a greater way. So we needed a bigger venue, and Matamoras was very open and easy to work with."

Sheri compares CruzinPort to "an extended family."

"We have people who attended when we were in Port Jervis and are now supporting us here," she said. "Some have driven as long as an hour or more to be here."

Airport Park's main strip has plenty of parking slots. And the surrounding recreational space — for baseball, softball, and other activities —a dds to the family-friendly atmosphere of cruise night. The borough concession stand is open during the event.

CruzinPort vehicle owners who showed off their rides at the June event came from Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Milford Chrysler Sales, Port Jervis Auto Mall, Orange County Party Rentals, Gray-Parker Funeral Home, and Jim Ryle's State Farm Insurance are just some of CruzinPort's many sponsors.

For more information, visit cruzinport.com.





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