The Gear Lords car club has had a long love affair with the automobile in Taber. We started out in 1969, when a number of local car enthusiasts would get together to work on their cars, hold rallies, help each other find parts, and attend drag races in places like Fort MacLeod, Claresholm, Vulcan, Calgary, and elsewhere. At the start, we began with 12 members, and at our peak we numbered over 50.
Our first meeting was held in the basement of Derick Stimpson’s home. At that time, we elected a complete governing body and drew up a complete constitution. Following that, meetings were held every Tuesday evening at Peevers Pantry until we were able to establish a Club House. Raffles were held to maintain the financial needs of the club, and most of this money was used in the building of our original Club House.
Our members built the Club House themselves. Each person brought their knowledge of building, and with helping hands we took an old double garage, completely insulated it, and installed gas and electricity. The garage was divided in two halves, one side hosting our meetings, and the other as a workshop to work on the member’s cars. The meeting side was made comfortable with ceiling tiles, wall boards, couches, chairs, and a head table. The shop side included a work bench and a set of tools.
We would hold Car Rallies, which were like a treasure hunt. Each participant would put money into a “pot”, and were given a list of around twenty questions to find the answers to in their cars. Questions would typically be something like “How many steps are located on the house at 518-56 St. North”. The first person to return with all correct answers would win the “pot”.
One of the favorite Gear Lords’ activities were drag races. These would take place on sanctioned tracks as well as “unofficial” tracks. Some would question why a club dedicated to promoting safety would promote Drag Strip Racing”. Well, every authorized Drag Strip had safety rules that if a driver and their car couldn’t meet, they were not allowed to race. All drag strips had fire extinguishers on hand and often had an ambulance on standby just in case. We also feel that without a public drag strip, many kids may turn to the public highways to test out their cars. Having a controlled environment helps keep people safe.
After about 3 years, the Gear Lords fizzled out and went into hibernation. While the love of beautiful cars never died, members found other events in their lives that took their attention.
However, when the predecessor to Cornfest began in Taber, a few former Gear Lords were asked to participate by bringing their classic cars downtown to be enjoyed by the public. This sparked a renewed interest in the club, and it was reborn as the “Corn Country Cruisers”
Our largest annual event has become the Show and Shine held during Taber’s Cornfest celebration. With about 300 cars attending each year, prizes are awarded for Best Paint, Best Antique, and a number of other categories.
We also participate in a number of philanthropic activities as well. Funds that are raised over and above our expenses go to local charities like the food bank, the women’s shelter, and other groups that are in need throughout the year. We also do a charity car show for the senior residents at Linden View in late July. We try to raise funds for the residents to take them for ice cream or to the park. It’s a bright spot of the Linden View residents when they don’t need to come to the car show - the show comes out to them.
Recently, the club has decided to return to our roots, and once again take on the banner of the “Gear Lords”. With the return to our former name, we look to honour the past as we drive toward the future.
We meet on the second Monday of every month in the evening. During the winter months, we meet in the Taber Legion Lounge. Anyone interested in joining us is free to attend and possession of a classic car or hot rod is not necessary. We welcome anyone with a love of beautiful automobiles.