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MOPAR Top Eliminator, Carlisle 2016
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The ChallengerForumz is pleased to present our Member of the Month for February 2019

Derecho

DerechoBioHeader.jpg

I'd just like to start by saying I'm humbled to be chosen for MOTM for February. If you knew me in everyday life you'd soon realize that I'm the last to call attention to myself, so this is a really BIG thing to me and I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to vote for February's MOTM with all nominated members equally worthy IMHO. Back in 2016 when I first joined the forum it didn't take me long to figure out that this is the place I wanted to be. The membership here is so positive, helpful and friendly and everyone usually gets along extremely well. Quite a few of you have a great sense of humor too about things too - a trait that I also share.

As you know, my forum handle is "Derecho", which is a severe weather term used to describe "a line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and thunderstorms that moves across a great distance and are characterized by damaging winds". My 2016 Challenger SXT Plus's handle is "Lil' Twister" and it ties into that severe weather theme I chose shortly after I ordered it. I've been interested in severe weather since I was a child, thus my choice of theme.

In everyday life, my name is Kevin and I'm from the city of Kankakee in Northeast Illinois. I work at a local race car trailer manufacturer building NHRA, World of Outlaw sprint car and other types of motorsports trailers. My wife of nearly 40 years is Joyce, and she is an insurance agent. We have two grown daughters with our oldest being a Staff RN at the local medical center and the youngest still in college pursuing her medical career.

We also have 3 Grandchildren (the oldest a 5 year old young lady, with two younger brothers) and I'm affectionately known by their official name of "PaPa". While my Challenger is "My Baby", it stands back a distant 2nd place with the Grandkids being #1 in my eyes. I turn into a kid again when I'm around them and when we go to visit them they all come running up and wrap their arms around PaPa's legs, well...Love That!! (The photo at top shows me with Natalie our first Grandchild the day she was born).

I was born on a farm near Buckingham, IL in April of 1956 and grew up around tractors, combines and all the other farming machinery. Dad made sure that all of us boys learned to drive field equipment at an early age and we even got to drive Dad's pickups to and from the field once we turned 12 or so. My rural upbringing provided me with the values that I've carried though into my adult life.

When I turned 16, and I received my driver's license, Dad got me my first car which he purchased for the tidy sum of $150 from my Uncle Harold. It was a purple (YUK!) 1962 VW Beetle with 4-speed stick. I remember the first Winter I had it my Dad had a gallon or so of JI Case Flambeau Orange tractor enamel paint in the tool shed and we painted that "Bug" with it out the garage in 32 degree weather. That poor cars finish looked like an orange peel due to the cold temps after painting it in that old garage! Still, it was super cool to me and I added "Peace" symbols on the hood and drove that thing clear through High School. That was the slowest car I've ever driven and even slower once I blew up the air cooled engine one weekend when me and my friends were goofing around back in the Spring of '74.

The first taste of all things MOPAR was riding in my best friends cars in my junior/senior year in high school. One was a bright red '66 Coronet 2-door with 273 V8 and a 4-speed stick and the other was his red '71 Dodge Challenger with a built 340 V8 C&M Engineering and a heavy duty Torqueflite. I hung around his place a lot to say the least!

My first "REAL" car came in the Summer of 1974 was on my dime since I had graduated, was still living with Ma and Dad and had a good paying union job at Chicago Bridge and Iron in Bourbonnais, IL. I spied a fairly low mileage (42K) used 1970 Dodge Charger R/T with a 440 375hp Magnum/Torqueflite in F8 Green with a black interior, black vinyl top and black tail stripe at Larry's Auto Sales on Wall St. in Kankakee. Paid $1495 for it and was smiling from "ear to ear" until I got back home at the farm and my Dad found out. You see, it was just after the gas crisis and also my dad didn't relish adding me onto his insurance policy since I was only 19 years old. He should have kicked my butt, but instead he helped me out with both gas and insurance. My Dad was a good man to have put up with my antics back then! Ma and Dad still live on the farm to this day.

We regularly took that Charger R/T over to U.S. 30 in Gary, IN and also to Byron, IL and Union Grove, WI as spectators over the course of a couple years and had lots of fun cruising in it around this area. The downtown cruising area called "The Square" was our favorite place to spend some fun time, BS and pair up for street racing out in the country. Finally the price of gas was hurting my pocket book just a bit much and I traded it in on a '72 Ford Capri in the Fall of '76. My Charger was subsequently purchased by a kid down in Gilman, IL who hit a telephone pole broadside and was killed instantly. We went down to look at what was left and it was bad. Wish I had never sold that car to this day.

I owned the Capri and eventually turned it into a show car with custom black paint job with Candy Apple flames along with a 1980 Pontiac Sunbird hatchback I purchased new and supercharged. My wife and I cruised and showed both cars up until late 1980's just before our oldest daughter was born and then I sold out everything to concentrate on being a first time Dad.

Fast forward to mid July 2015 - I landed in the hospital with severe blood clotting in my hugely swollen left leg and a bladder swollen to a size that amazed the emergency room doctors. On top of all that they found out I had been a Type 2 diabetic for quite some time as well. I spent nearly 5 days in intensive care and had my leg veins stripped of clots and a stent and filter installed in my left leg from the waist down. They actually were surprised I didn't die before I got to the ER from one of those dozens of clots heading up to my heart. Eventually I was released and everything's been back to normal since, Thank God.

As a result of that medical scare and also our kids being grown up, my wife felt I should special order a new 2016 Challenger so we could get back into cars again like we both did in our younger years. It's been a blast ever since and I'm having more fun each and every year with both our Challenger and this forum.

All I've got to say is that if there are any lurkers or new people out there looking for a Dodge Challenger focused forum home, I'd just like to say that I highly recommend you sign up as a Challengerforumz.com member. The members and moderators here are some of the best people you're likely to run into anywhere and there's just so much useful info to be found. You'll find members here with basically stock Challengers all the way up to those with highly modified cars, V6's to V8's, so this place has got everyone covered extremely well I believe. If you've got questions, somebody on here will usually step up to try and answer you with helpful info. In addition, there are a good number of "Off Topic" areas to keep everyone entertained also.

I apologize for making this so long...I'm usually a pretty quiet fellow. I just want to say in closing - thanks again SO MUCH for placing this honor on me!

See You In The Threads,

Kevin (Derecho)




 

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What's Old is New Again!
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36,745 Posts
Congratulations Kevin! Welcome to the club!
 
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Administrator
2016 Challenger Scat Pack Shaker
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49,361 Posts
Congrats Kevin, great bio. We are lucky to have you here.
 
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Slower Traffic Keep Right
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5,312 Posts
Congratulations!!
 
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Waiting for beautiful fall colors!
2016 Go Mango Scat Pack
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27,100 Posts
Kevin, congratulations!! Wow, did I love reading your story. Your special photos you share, and some with tractors, are definitely my favorite! Love your photography and so happy to have you as our newest MOTM! Keep posting and enjoying that Challenger!!!
 
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Now that was dumb!
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6,003 Posts
Well done! You deserve it.
 
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3,517 Posts
Congrats Kevin! I also really enjoyed reading your write-up. Well deserved my friend!
 
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Congratulations! Great bio and thanks for sharing.
 
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Mr. Bill
2009 SRT8 with a performance few mods having a Diablo custom tune.
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3,220 Posts
Congrats sir. Well deserved.
Great read Kevin. This is a great forum to be a part of.
High Five to the February Member of the Month. :)
 

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30c9b692a9ec18884321864467513491--congratulations-card-smiley-faces.jpg
Well deserved, welcome to the MOTM club ! Nice write up. Did they inform you that you have to appear on the Johnny Carson show ?
 
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