In January 2009, Frazee was filled with the humming engines of many different colored sports cars. "Fiero-heads" from all over came to help restore Tyler Shipman's 1986 Pontiac Fiero GT, as this was the one thing he wanted before he died of cancer.
Shipman was diagnosed with the rare synovial sarcoma in early October 2008 at 18 years old. At the end of the month, he was sent home for his final days.
Before he left the hospital, he posted to Pennock's Fiero Forum about his wish. Many users commented back, and one of them organized all the strangers to come to Frazee to donate their time, parts and money to help. After hours of fixing the car, they unveiled it to Shipman on a chilly January morning.
"It literally motivated him to live better and live longer and live happier than he would have otherwise," Daneele Shipman, Tyler's mother, said.
Tyler wasn't supposed to be able to drive again; he was struggling to get out of bed before this. But after "Tyler's Toy" was fixed, he drove that car everywhere. He died on Feb. 14, 2009, about a month after the car was restored. He had put 200 miles on it in that time.
That spring, Karen Gray at Frazee Auto Body came to Daneele with the idea of doing a Memorial Car Show. Daneele said yes, and they organized in time for Turkey Days.
Now, the Tyler Shipman Memorial Car Show is an annual event for Turkey Days. Next weekend will mark the 10th anniversary of the car show.
"The people who had come to restore his car when he was sick, many of those same people came back that summer to do the car show," Daneele said. "The first car show I think we had 100 cars ... we had about 50 percent Fieros come. That's a really large Fiero showing."
After that first year, Daneele and her family had to decide if they wanted to continue with the car show.
"It's kind of scary because anytime you decide to do something that's in memory of someone ... if it doesn't succeed, the memory of someone you really love is tied to it," Daneele said.
Knowing this, they decided to take the chance and continue with the show. According to the Tyler Shipman Memorial Car Show website, that second year they had 65 vehicles. In every year since, they have had at least 70.
"As the years have gone on, we've really evolved to more cars," Daneele said. "I've worked really hard to evolve into just a really wide variety of different people."
Right at the start of the car show, Daneele's home became a place for the car owners to stay.
"How it started was kind of by accident. When they fixed Tyler's car, we really didn't interact with any of these people ... we were focused on taking care of Tyler," Daneele said. "When they came back, a bunch of them had emailed and contacted us and asked if it would be OK if they stayed in our yard."
That was the start of "Camp Shipman." An outdoor shower has been added, and new this year is a chicken coop that has been converted to a little cabin. Daneele said that they have had people there from Germany, Australia, Wisconsin, all over. There's anywhere between 30 to 50 people camping, in some way, shape or form, at their house.
"It's just kind of a family reunion. People actually plan their family vacations around coming to our house, which I still find very strange," Daneele said, laughing.
She welcomes her regulars every year, but also is open to newcomers, too. There have been times where she said she's gotten calls from people saying that they are in Frazee and were told that they can stay at her house. The answer is always yes.
"People will just literally-we don't even know them-will just show up," Daneele said. "If a stranger happens to show up for the first time, literally 5 minutes later they feel like they've known everybody for years."
For the 10-year anniversary, Daneele is hoping to see more of these strangers. They are doing a hog roast and having the Front Fenders perform in their yard. Anyone, from anywhere, is more than welcome to come: Daneele wants to fill up her yard.
The one person who won't be there this year is her daughter, Cassidy, who is training in South Carolina for the National Guard.
Doing kind things
Before Cassidy left, she and her family worked to figure out what they could do for the 10-year anniversary. They decided to act on a campaign that started about five years ago: #PayItForwardForTyler.
The campaign is all about doing kind things, "make giving a part of living," as their website puts it. Daneele is on her third box of 500 cards with the hashtag on it, giving them out to people as reminders to do kind deeds.
"It was her idea to do 10 acts of kindness. We are doing 10 different things, which is a pretty aggressive goal," Daneele said. "She keeps writing letters home, asking how things are going."
One of their acts is to help a sixth-grader from Iowa who was just diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in both her large and small intestines.The rest of these acts are up on the car show's Facebook page.
When the car show first began, they used their proceeds as a donation for the American Cancer Society. The second year, they started a scholarship for graduating seniors at Frazee High School. Since then, they have awarded 28 scholarships.
"That was a really good opportunity to offer scholarships to kids, and it's been really successful for us," Daneele said.
In the past 10 years, their show has seen a variety of changes and growth. It has been healing for the Shipman family, as well as a great journey, according to Daneele.
"It's really hard for us; people come and it's a reminder that Tylers not here, but it's a great reminder of what happened when he was here," Daneele said.
Their reminder of Tyler will be here for years to come, as Daneele is already making plans for the future. When Cassidy gets back from her National Guard training, Daneele will start a new training with her: how to run the car show. By year 15, Daneele hopes that Cassidy will be running the show. As for ending it, there are no plans for that.
If you go
The Front Fenders band and hog roast is Friday, July 26. The feed starts at 7 p.m. and lasts until the hog is gone.
The car show is Saturday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vehicles are lined up down Main Street, next to All in All. Vehicle registration is $10 before the event and $15 the day of the event
Register at https://www.tylershipmanmemorialcarshow.com/.