Chariot Ministry is a group of car enthusiasts of all ages "walking in Christ" with two areas of common interest: Christianity and cars. The organization was founded by Steve Gonzales, who was strongly associated with the Lowrider Movement back in the day. Old school homies may remember Steve's '50 Mercury, "Strictly Business," from the June '79 issue of Lowrider.
The mission of Chariot Ministry is to provide children with a gift from the heart at Christmas. The organization's annual Toys For Children Christmas Car Show collects toys for the children of their two ministries: the Prison Ministry children whose parents are doing time and are being raised by other family members, and the Mexico Outreach Team, which collects toys for the poor village of El Florido, Tijuana, Mexico.
The Seventh Annual Toys For Children Christmas Car Show was held this past October at First Fundamental Bible Church in Monterey Park, California, and those in attendance were treated to Little Willie G. of Thee Midnighters singing his heart out. Kenneth Sesma was the speaker for the day with an awesome message. Car clubs in attendance were Classics, Duke's, Old Memories, Puente Viejo, Reality, Reflections, Shades of Gray, T-birds of America and Team Eternal.
The 2007 show was held in remembrance of Julio "Mr. '39" Ruelas, the "godfather of lowriding" and the first president of Duke's C.C.'s Southern California chapter. Julio's wife, Carol, and other members of the Ruelas familia were in attendance with memorabilia of Julio to support his legacy. Julio was a strong supporter of the Chariot Ministry show and a large photo of Julio taken at the 2006 event (at what turned out to be his last car show appearance) was on display. The show was topped off with a special song sung by Little Willie G. to Julio's wife, Carol.
Plaques featuring Julio's '39 Chevy Master Deluxe were awarded to winners in several special categories. The list of honorees included Raul Garcia and his '65 Chevy Impala for Best Custom Paint, Henry Ledesma and his '50 Chevy Fleetline for Best Custom Interior, Russell Poblano and his '41 Chevy coupe for the People's Choice award, Paul Roa and his '46 Chevy Fleetmaster for the Pastor's Choice award, and Daniel Roa for Best Pedal Car.
Proving that Chariot Ministry and this event are open to all types of custom cars, the Best Engine award was given by Beatrice Gonzales for her '23 Ford Roadster and the Best Car award was won by Alice Goode's '55 Ford Thunderbird. All of the plaque winners (other than the Pastor's Choice and People's Choice awards) were personally selected by Steve Gonzales, who was a judge at LRM shows in the 1980s.
Sponsors for the show included Meguiar's, Pep Boys, El Pato Chile, J&R Upholstery, Chuy's Auto Electric, Navarro's Towing, Custom Rims & Tires, Daniel's Hair Studio, B.J. Party Supplies, East L.A. Pizza Company, Galindo Paint, Greg's Foreign Car Repair, Modern Auto Sports, JTS Termite Control, CAST Security, Willie's Tires and Team Sport Trophies.
Everyone is welcome at the Chariot Ministry Christmas Car Show. You can reach Steve Gonzales at www.ffbc.net. To view past car shows, go to www.oldmemoriescc.com. This website is a great way to find out about the happenings, past and present. God bless.
Tucson Show 'N' ShineThe First Annual Arizona Event Generates Some Serious Car Show Heat.The summertime weather can get pretty hot in sunbaked Tucson, Arizona, but this past June 24, a little extra heat was generated by the collection of outstanding lowriders at the First Annual Lowrider Show 'N' Shine Car Show & Concert held at the Tucson Convention Center. For a first annual show, the turnout was solid, thanks to show promoter Hot 98.3 FM getting the word out.