By KEN SHMIDHEISER, Managing Editor Commonwealth Journal
Somernites Cruise will be back in the national limelight next week when the Speed Channel’s “My Classic Car” show will televise two segments featuring Somerset’s award-winning car show.
“Last year, My Classic Car, hosted by Dennis Gage, filmed an episode at the September Somernites Cruise. That episode is scheduled to be rerun on the Speed Channel at 10 p.m. Sunday, June 9, and again at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 11,” said Keith Floyd, a Somernites Cruise organizer.
The timing was perfect for Gage and the My Classic Car camera crew: The streets of Downtown Somerset were packed with 1,737 great rides cruised in from 11 states making the Sept. 22, 2012, event one of the largest ever. And the most recent Cruise on May 25-26 was also a major success, according to Floyd.
There are five cruise weekends left in the 2013 season: June 21-22; July 26-27; August 23-24; September 27-28 and October 25-26.
The upcoming June 21-22 event will feature:
• An Early Bird Meet & Greet at Danny’s Rod Shop on North U.S. 27 from noon until 2 p.m. Friday.
• The ever-popular Rock & Roll Block Party in Downtown Somerset from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.
• A Fun Run to Mill Springs Battlefield beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Hardee’s South;
• Two performances of “Mayberry Moments” featuring Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
• The Corvette Summer specialty area.
• Show & Shine 1:00 - 7:00 p.m.
• Vendor Alley, food stands, the Kidz Kruize Zone and much more.
Earning a spot on "My Classic Car" gives Somernites Cruise a prestigious boost since the show is one of the highest rated on Speed Channel.
"My Classic Car" host Dennis Gage—instantly recognizable by his handlebar mustache—grew up on a small family farm in northwestern Illinois. He started tinkering with cars early on and purchased his first, a 1959 T-Bird, at age 15. He also played guitar and trumpet in a variety of rock, folk, and school bands.
Upon graduation from high school, he went to North Central College in Naperville, Illinois where he majored in both chemistry and physics. His undergraduate research in quantum physics received an American Chemical Society award. He continued his automotive interest and, through the course of his college years, owned a number of muscle and sports cars. He also kept up his music, playing in local coffee houses.
After receiving his degree, Gage took up the pedal steel guitar and started playing in country-rock bands in the Chicago area. He has opened for acts such Charlie Daniels, Waylon Jennings and Dr. Hook. However, after two years, Gage decided to retire from the music scene and go to graduate school.
He attended the University of Idaho, from which he received a Ph.D. in chemistry. While there, Gage became an avid climber and winter mountaineer. He also finally married his high school sweetheart, Ellen.
Gage accepted a position as a product development scientist at The Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. There he either worked on, or created, most of P&Gs food products in the 80s, including Pringles, with which he bears a striking resemblance to the handlebar mustachioed character on the can. Gage holds a number of patents on P&G products. Once again having some disposable income, Gage got back to playing with classic cars. This is also where he and Ellen had their three children.
After 10 years at P&G, Gage took a position as Director of Product Development at a Bristol-Myers Squibb company in Evansville, Indiana where he led the development of Boost nutritional energy drink, among other products. In 1995 he met the founder of the fledgling Bradley David Productions, Inc., and he became co-owner of the company shortly thereafter. A My Classic Car pilot series, hosted by Gage, was developed for TNN and received strong ratings when it aired on TNN in early 1996. Based on this success, the show premiered as a weekly series on TNN in January, 1997. After only six months on the air, Gage was selected by The Cable Guide and Total Television as one of the “Hot Faces of Cable” for 1997.
In 2000 the show moved to SPEED channel where it reaches over 85 million households. Now in production for its eighteenth season,
In 2010 Gage became sole owner of the production company and renamed it MadStache, Inc. and with his own lifelong love of cars and motorcycles, he states, “This has got to be the ultimate job!”