Iron Horse Car Show

Student-led electric vehicle conversion wins at car show
Posted on 10/10/2023
Steven Layman and Cooper Rideout

The Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center took home the people's choice award on Saturday, Sept. 30, during the Iron Horse Festival in the very first car show that the automotive technology class entered its cybertruck in.

A total of 64 vehicles participated in the car show sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts, according to organizer Stephanie Knoppe, president of the Iron Mountain Depot Restoration Corporation. Scored by three voluntary area judges, with representation from Baldwin Ford, there were eight contest categories, in addition to the best of the decades from the 1940s to 1990s.

“We weren’t expecting to win anything, but it is exciting that we did,” reported Steven Layman, TCC auto tech instructor. “The students did a great job doing all the talking. They answered nearly all the questions everyone had.”

The class finished converting the Chevrolet S-10 into an electric vehicle using a dozen deep cycle batteries last school year, with matching funding from a Vocational-Technical Education Enhancement grant. The participating students in the annual festival were officers of TCC’s SkillsUSA chapter, who were practicing public speaking in an effort to obtain Chapter of Excellence status through the nonprofit organization.

“I thought this was a great opportunity to get them out talking with people,” stated adviser Michael Barrett, TCC computer science instructor. “I will say, they did amazingly well.”

As an aside, Barrett won the best of ‘90s category for his personal 1990 Mustang GT that he has restored. “It was really a fun day for us,” the teacher concluded.


Cutline: Poplar Bluff junior in the TCC auto tech class, Cooper Rideout, holds up a first-place trophy with instructor Steven Layman on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Iron Horse Festival.

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