Mo-Kan Articles

2022 Bug Blitz Bus Blast

Author: Michael Epstein

For the first time in many years, the Bug Blitz, Bus Bash is moving locations to the small Northern Kansas City area in a town called Smithville, Missouri.

Smithville was a no brainer as it’s got that small town charm located on a big lake just North of the Kansas City area. If you’re familiar with my articles, you know I like to add a little history to my stories, I’m as big of a history buff as I am a VW Nut!

Smithville was named for Humphrey and Nancy Smith who came west with their six sons and daughter from New York state in 1822 to find land and build a home. Settling along the Little Platte River, the Smith’s established Smith’s Mill, the first water-powered flour mill in Clay County. By the 1830s, a town site was laid out and Smith’s Mill became Smithville.

The car show was located in the town square of Smithville. It’s the oldest part of town and is full of small restaurants and businesses that I’m sure welcomed the traffic that our show brought to the downtown area.

The town square was as full as you could get it with VWs and the town folk didn’t seem to mind their town being invaded by Volkswagens. We had about 90 cars registered and present. Camping was available the night before and night of at a nearby campground. A lot of people, particularly the Bus folks take advantage of that since quite a few are from out of town. The show being on Saturday allow folks to take their time getting back.

One of the biggest activities of the show is the valve cover races. Member Marty Hoffman runs the races and is still doing DJ services too and has for as long as I can remember, some jobs never end, ask Rick Spohn of the Golden Gate Chapter. Eddie Hedrick took top honors there. By the way, the Mo-Kan VW Club is a chapter of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America and a sponsor of the “Bug Blitz, Bus Blast.”

As always there were many a nice car out there. One that really impressed me was the totally all original 1962 Beetle in L-380 Turquoise and it was in such great condition, even the interior cloth seats and carpet. I wish I had my camera with me, but I was enjoying the show for the first time in 28 years and walking the new dog, we had a great time. Thanks to Doug Seitter, Seth Goeke, Rachel Payne and others for taking photos and allowing us to use them. The LT-40 Mountain Rescue truck of Greg Sloma’s from Nebraska was looking good and a huge attention getter. I think every type of modern VW was represented including a tractor, a skinny Beetle, Rat Rods, Dune Buggies, Rail cars. Beetles, Buses, Type 3s, KGs, water-cooled and many more.

Every year, the Mo-Kan VW Club gives to a charity, this year was no different though we didn’t have time to have a proper raffle like in good years before Covid. The club donated $500 to the local Boy Scout Troop #412, they helped keep the road closure barricades in place during our show. The winners were:

  • Best in Show: Charles & Jim Peterson, 1963 Texaco Bus,
  • Best Interior: Sam Erwin, 1979 Green Westy Bus,
  • Best Engine: Dennis McConnell, 1969 Beetle Buggy,
  • Best Paint: McGee Parisa, 1962 Mo-Kan BLITZ 4 Silver Bug,
  • Best Display: Eddie Hedrick, 1973 Orange Crush Westy Bus.
  • Crazy & Indescribable: Joe Wolf, 1966 White Trug,
  • Volksrod/Rat/Patina/Baja: Travis Baldwin,1971 Orange Baja,
  • Modern, 1990 & up: Lawrence Lowry, 2011 Red GTi,
  • Water-cooled 70s & 80s:John Lautenschlager, 1980 Yellow Rabbit P/U,
  • Beetle 1967 & older, Bob & Bev Rice, 1966 Beige Beetle,
  • Beetle 1968-79: Tim & Shirley McEntee, 1973 Orange Bug,
  • Type II Splitty (no Campers), Dan Nedved, 1965 Red Dormobile,
  • Type II Bay Window, (no campers): Michael Van Dam,1970 Bus,
  • Vanagon: Tom Athon, 1989 Subaru Powered Vanagon,
  • Convertible to “79:Donna Fleharty, 1978 Blue Super Beetle,
  • Camper, (all years): Shawn Bradley, 1970 Bay Camper,
  • Rail Buggy: David Cooley, 2005 Rail Buggy,
  • Bodied Buggy: Matt Tyson, 1973 White Buggy,
  • Type 3, 4, Ghia & Thing: Suzan Smiley, 1973 Blue Karmann Ghia,
  • Low Life (lowest): John Storms, 2004 R32,
  • High Life (highest):Leo Van Delft, 1960 Bus,
  • Newest: Shelly Hubblel, 2014 White Beetle,
  • Oldest: Charles & Jim Peterson, 1954 Beetle,
  • Break Down Award: Mary Anne Spilker.

The club would like to thank our sponsors: the town of Smithville, Missouri, the VVWCA, Specialty Buggy Supply, Brown’s Automotive, and Carve Studio. Special thanks goes out to Rachel Payne and all of the volunteers from the Mo-Kan VW Club, of course without all of you this wouldn’t be possible.

As always, if you find yourself going to or going through Kansas Cityin May, stop by and see the show. Until next year!