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Auto enthusiasts seek parts, more at Parts-a-Rama

PROSPECT — The Big Butler Fairgrounds came alive over the weekend as automotive enthusiasts packed the grounds for the annual Big Butler Parts-A-Rama, a supersize, four-day automotive swap meet.

Throughout the fairgrounds, vendors set up to hawk all manner of automotive accessories and memorabilia — everything from massive truck tires to paint supplies, from oil filters to chrome wheels, and service manuals for cars dating back nearly a century.

If you were looking for parts for a very specific year and model of car — especially American cars — chances were a Parts-A-Rama vendor such as Clyde Crispen had something to offer.

Artist Chris Beteto stands next to some of his custom sculptures which he sold at the Big Butler Parts-A-Rama on Sunday, June 16. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

“We have Mustang parts, (Chevy) Nova parts,“ Crispen said. ”I’ve sold a bunch of air filters and PCV valves.“

“We sell everything as far as probably from 1930s all the way up to the ’90s,” said fellow vendor Jay Nichols. “I think wheels sell the best ... wheels and tires.”

Crowds of automobile enthusiasts packed the Big Butler Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 16 for the last day of the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

Not all of the vendors were there to sell car parts. One vendor, Chris Berteto, found Parts-A-Rama to be a good place to sell his art.

For 15 years, Berteto has been making sculptures out of everyday household items, and patrons had a chance to take some of them home. These included a dog made out of silverware and wrenches, as well as a little girl made out of metal cans and a chainlink hare riding a tiny bicycle.

“I work on this stuff for a few hours after work, and that's pretty much it,” Berteto said. “I've been coming here for the last four years, and I sell once a year.”

Another popular exhibit was Jimmy Johnson’s extensive collection of NASCAR memorabilia, which was being sold to benefit Project Help, a charitable organization which serves homeless and struggling veterans.

A large stock of NASCAR merchandise sold by Jimmy Johnson and Joe Mazza for charity during the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama on Sunday, June 16. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

“All of our merchandise is donated,” Johnson said. “All the money goes to the veterans.”

Johnson, along with partner Joe Mazza, also sold time in a “NASCAR simulator” — a version of the Sega arcade game Daytona USA 2 stuffed inside a full-sized stock car which anyone could play for a few bucks at a time.

According to Mazza, the car itself was driven by former NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick at one point, before being repainted and retrofitted into a simulator game.

The two came in from Virginia to spend time at Parts-A-Rama this week and promote their cause, as part of a nationwide tour.

“We're all over the country doing this every week,“ Johnson said. ”I travel from Florida to Michigan to New York. This is the first time I’ve been here.“

Johnson, in particular, was impressed with the show that Butler has put on.

“The facility is a good facility, the people are friendly, and we've done some good business,” Johnson said.

Joe Mazza stands next to a stock car driving simulator during the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama on Sunday, June 16. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
A large stock of NASCAR merchandise sold by Jimmy Johnson and Joe Mazza for charity during the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama on Sunday, June 16. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Crowds of automobile enthusiasts packed the Big Butler Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 16 for the last day of the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Jimmy Johnson stands next to a stock car driving simulator during the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama on Sunday, June 16. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
A large stock of NASCAR merchandise sold by Jimmy Johnson and Joe Mazza for charity during the Big Butler Parts-O-Rama on Sunday, June 16. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

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