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Westmoreland

Lions' annual cruise has roots in Delmont family's fascination with cars

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, 3:42 p.m.
Tricia Pietropaoli and family friend Bob Thatcher pose for a photo in the late 1970s.
Tricia Pietropaoli and family friend Bob Thatcher pose for a photo in the late 1970s.
Above, a 1953 Indy pace car that Tricia Pietropaoli recently worked on for Butch Thatcher.
Above, a 1953 Indy pace car that Tricia Pietropaoli recently worked on for Butch Thatcher.
Tricia Pietropaoli, above, works on a car in her parents' Delmont backyard in the late 1970s.
Tricia Pietropaoli, above, works on a car in her parents' Delmont backyard in the late 1970s.
Tricia Pietropaoli of Delmont holds up a photo of her and her father Angelo Pietopaoli Jr. Tricia inherited her love of cars from her father, and will chair the Delmont Lions Club's fourth annual Car Cruise and Swap Meet on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Tricia Pietropaoli of Delmont holds up a photo of her and her father Angelo Pietopaoli Jr. Tricia inherited her love of cars from her father, and will chair the Delmont Lions Club's fourth annual Car Cruise and Swap Meet on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018.

When Tricia Pietropaoli of Delmont was 3 years old, her father Angelo handed her a piece of sandpaper, pointed to spot on the car he was fixing up and said, “Sand this.”

Problem was, he never told his daughter when to stop.

“I sanded right through all the paint,” Pietropaoli said.

Angelo’s love of cars passed down to Tricia, who will serve as the chairwoman for the Delmont Lions Club’s fourth annual Car Cruise and Swap Meet, set for Aug. 12 at Shields Farm.

Angelo always had an interest in cars, and began doing auto-body work out of his garage full-time around the late 1970s.

“I learned it from him, and I just kept on doing it,” Pietropaoli said.

Her mother Patty said the Pietropaoli garage was a place where lifetime friendships were forged.

“We used to have young people coming here all the time to ask about the cars,” Patty said. “Some of them were pretty raggedy, but working with Angelo really turned them around, and they all ended up becoming Tricia’s friends.

“We still know a lot of them, and there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for us,” she said.

Patty said her late husband was a “substitute father” and a big brother to many of the young men who came to the garage.

“Everyone loved Angelo because he would help anyone that needed help,” Patty said. “Sometimes it was free paint jobs for people who couldn’t afford them, or just patching a hole in the vehicle to help the person get it inspected.”

This year’s show will include food vendors, a flea market, 50/50 raffle and car-parts vendors. Lions officials will also be accepting canned goods for donation to the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

Dash plaques will go to the first 100 registered vehicles. Registration runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is $7 per vehicle or $6 with a canned-good donation.

Cruise officials will hand out 10 trophies, which this year will be another throwback to Pietropaoli’s youth.

“When we’d be driving, my dad would stop and tell me, ‘Jump out and grab that hubcap on the side of the road,’” she said. “So this year the trophies will be clocks made from old hubcaps.”

For more on the cruise, call 724-468-6270.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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