Chris and Kyla Cowx and their trusty off-roading Jeep. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Off-roaders spread Cruise-In message

A Langley couple is hoping to draw even more car cultures into the annual show.

The Langley Good Times Cruise-In is best known for hot rods, customs, and classic cars, but a pair of the society’s directors want to bring in an even broader spectrum of the auto world.

Married couple Chris and Kyla Cowx have been attending and volunteering for years.

“We’ve been going to the show every year for as long as I can remember,” said Chris.

“Just being in Langley, you can’t really avoid it,” Kyla said.

They began volunteering years back. Kyla worked with Riccardo Sestito, a former Cruise-In president. Chris is also president of the Langley Amateur Radio Club, which has been involved and had booths at Cruise-In many times in the past.

They’ve worked a wide variety of jobs, including helping with the In & Out Burger stand, running errands, and hosting information booths.

But though car culture is a big part of their lives, they were never really represented by the types of vehicles that Cruise-In is known for.

“The car show has always been about classic cars, custom cars, muscle cars,” said Chris. “The great cars that you see around town.”

But the Cowxes are off-roaders, taking their Jeep to muddy trails and old logging roads around B.C. and across Canada for weekend fun.

There are a relatively small number of off-road areas in B.C., including Princeton’s Whipsaw Trail area.

The family has also headed off to off-roading jamborees in places as near as Washington State and as distant as Nova Scotia. Trails are often decommissioned roads, or they’re made or found over the years by drivers heading into the bush.

There’s a parallel world of show and shines for off roaders, including a recent event in Mission hosted by the Four Wheel Drive Association of B.C., explained Chris.

“There’s a ton of time and effort and money that goes into these vehicles,” he said.

They’re not as polished and chromed as some of the classic Cruise-In cars, but they’re part of car culture.

Kyla said it was Sestito who first encouraged the couple to reach out to the off roading community, to bring that aspect of car culture into Cruise-In as well.

Though many car subcultures can be narrowly focused – there are car shows in Langley for individual brands, British cars, and motorcycles, for example – Cruise-In has always been a big-tent car show, with everything from century-old vehicles to modern sports cars to odd little European micro-cars.

So the Cowxes have been reaching out to invite their community.

“We’ve tried target a few of the local stores that sell off-road parts and accessories,” said Chris. They’ve also reached out online through social media, and they were handing out information at the recent annual general meeting of the Four Wheel Drive Association of B.C. and at a recent show and shine.

Last year, about 30 off roaders came out to Cruise-In to show off their vehicles.

“I’m hoping that this year we’ll see somewhere between 60 and 100,” said Chris.

Cruise-In is for anything with a motor, the Cowxes believe. And first and foremost, it’s about the charities that are supported by the annual event.

“That’s the beautiful thing about a community event like this,” said Chris. “It just shows that there’s room for everybody.”

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