The annual Wharton Police Department’s Cops N’ Rodders Car Show is planned for April 17, the third time in four years it will be held.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s event, several weeks after a disaster declaration was enacted in the city. The first two years more than 75 vehicles were displayed, with some car owners winning trophies in various classes. Car enthusiasts came from an eight-county area, including Wharton, Houston, Victoria, and San Antonio, to enter the show.

In 2020, however, it was an on again, off again scenario for police when planning the event during the pandemic.

“We thought we were ready (but) we’re going to try this again,” Wharton Police Chief Terry Lynch said. “Last year we got shutdown on multiple occasions due to COVID-19.”

Chief Lynch presented the item during a Monday regular Wharton City Council meeting to seek approval for use of the Wharton Civic Center parking lot and closure of University Street from Fulton Street to the Texas Department of Human Services building driveway entrance.

Lynch told the council he would strike the alcoholic beverages request because it was no longer necessary. When the car show was held in 2018 and 2019, it was associated with a Rally for Wharton Festival, and the following year, the Texas Salsa Showdown.

Sodas and water will be the alternative, and food trucks are also being introduced for the first time.

“It’s been a good event,” Lynch said. “It’s good for the community and a good way to get back to normal living.”

The car show will have a logistical incident action plan in place and organizers plan to utilize volunteers and reserve police officers as security, according to a Wharton PD letter to the city.

“I don’t know anything about a car other than you sit in a seat and drive it,” Councilman Terry Freese said. “But I have enjoyed going and looking at the cars.”

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