EDWARDSVILLE/GLEN CARBON - For organizers of the Randy Gori 2023 Memorial Kicks on 66 Car Show & Cruise, the event is about more than just checking out cool cars (though there’s plenty of that, too).
Ultimately, it’s a chance for them to remember their friend Randy Gori, a well-known Edwardsville attorney whose 2020 murder rocked the community. Gori loved attending car shows, and he was a prolific philanthropist. His friends decided to organize this event, which showcases cars and raises funds for local organizations, in his honor.
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“After Randy was murdered, it was like, we got to do something and let his legacy live on,” organizer Alex Rosenberger said. “He was such a good philanthropist, so good in the community, such a good car guy…The guy was a saint.”
Saturday, Sept. 16 marked the fourth year of the car show, and Rosenberger said it was the best one yet. Approximately 600 cars parked at Schon Park in Glen Carbon, including some “crazy cars” of the highest caliber.
“It’s such a unique car show,” Rosenberger added. “I’m a car guy. I own a car dealership. I deal with exotic cars, classic cars, muscle cars, and so I hit a lot of car shows and things like that. And I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s pretty impressive.”
He estimates that 2,500 to 3,000 people stopped by to enjoy the cars, food trucks and music. There were several cars with price tags of over a million dollars, including 60 or 70 exotic and classic cars. Attendees traveled from across the region to enjoy the show and support Gori; one guest even flew in from Denver.
The Kicks on 66 group never expected the show to grow this big, but it has truly become a “behemoth,” Rosenberger said. They hope it continues to grow.
“It’s really starting to catch fire,” he said. “We’re looking to just continue to build it and build it to where it really is a Route 66 national event where people flock from all over the place.”
The Kicks on 66 organization partnered with the Village of Glen Carbon so the event coincided with Glen Carbon’s Fall Fest. Rosenberger said they will probably do this again next year, but with a more formal cruise through downtown Glen Carbon in the afternoon to encourage visitors to support the small businesses.
Following in Gori’s footsteps, the organizers also use the car show to fundraise for local nonprofits. This year, they raised money for Partners for Pets Humane Society.
The Kicks on 66 Car Show & Cruise is growing, and it’s been an exciting experience for Rosenberger and his fellow organizers. But at the end of the day, the event is about Gori. People that Gori knew, whether as a friend or through his work with nonprofits and The Gori Law Firm, flocked to the show from across Missouri and Chicago. It’s a touching tribute.
“They love and they have passion for the cars, and their friendship and their bond was through there. And those guys will kind of do anything for him, which includes donating and showing up to the shows,” Rosenberger said. “It’s neat that he’s remembered.”
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