Car show organizer hopes to unite community, help others overcome addiction
BENNINGTON— K.C. Myers loved the rush he got from doing drugs, being on the run from police, and going to jail.
Now, he credits his passion of racing and building cars to helping him out of his addiction, and wants to help others find a healthy way to get their adrenaline rush, too.
"When you build your car you're not only getting the adrenaline for yourself but (also) when you get to show it off," he said. "That is the best high in the world, besides accomplishment."
Myers, 34, moved from Bennington to Michigan in October 2015, and before moving back to Vermont last October, he rediscovered his love for cars and car meetups. He participated in many car shows and was even sponsored by S&M Racing.
"Michigan helped me stay clean," he said. He has been clean for nearly eight years with no relapses.
He spoke highly of Michigan police officers who would come up and talk to car enthusiasts at meetups, and believes the same community involvement from law enforcement in Vermont may help community relationships, ultimately helping the drug epidemic.
Now, Myers is hosting the first ever Bring Your Build car show at Grace Christian School this Saturday to support overcoming drug addiction in Bennington.
Bring Your Build car show
Bring Your Build Car Show is meant for anyone with a project car, truck, bike, or even tractor to proudly show off their hard work. The family friendly-event is meant to support overcoming drug addiction in Bennington and bring the community together without being overbearing about the subject.
"That's the worst thing you can do to an addict is tell them what they need to do," Myers said. "You need to let them find themselves and find their passion, talk to them, then you can slowly get involved."
Turning Point, the Center for Restorative Justice, and the Bennington County Sheriff's Department will have tents at the show, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sheriff Chad Schmidt will bring a historic police car to display. There will also be car limbo — the roof better not touch the limbo stick.
"I'm probably going to stay out of it because I think I'd win," Myers said with a laugh. He will be bringing his modified '93 Acura Integra, a replica of a car his childhood friend drove before getting into a fatal drunk-driving crash in 2000.
Some trophies will be handed out at the end of the show for categories like best build, best bike, and best color. Myers will also provide a certificate to everyone who participated, and O'Reilly Auto Parts has donated some prizes. The event is free for participants and spectators alike.
Anyone can bring a vehicle to show off, but the grounds will only fit about 30 cars on display.
A path through addiction
Myers strongly believes that if he can recover, anyone can.
"I was bad," he said. "I was robbing people, robbing family members. Doing things that should be unforgivable. But people have forgiven me, thank God."
"If I can completely change my life, I know you can do it," he added. "The thing is, you just gotta believe in yourself."
Myers' mother began using drugs when he was a child. When he would find her drugs, he would throw them away or flush them down the toilet. He bounced around from foster home to foster home and his grandmother's house.
However, one thing led to another, and KC found himself involved with drugs in his 20s.
"I think it was 2009, and I was just so bad into drugs," he said. "I was actually on the run in Bennington and [State's Attorney] Erica [Marthage] put a warrant out for my arrest. And I was hiding I was just getting high every day because I knew it was just a matter of time before I was going to jail."
The need for alternative justice programs, especially for those facing drug-related charges, has been a principal focus of both Marthage and Arnold Gottlieb, who is challenging her for the Democratic nomination for Bennington County state's attorney.
Myers began using drugs heavily, especially pills because they were so easy to obtain. "If it was there, I did it," he said.
"People say you don't have a choice," he said. "You do, at the beginning. But once you make that choice of doing it, that choice is out the window for awhile. You become very addicted.
"There's only two choices with drugs," he continued. "It's either jail or death. Once the police come in, it's over. Everything you've got is gone."
Myers was an addict when his son, now 8 years old, was born. A few years later, he missed his daughter's birth because he was arrested a week before she was born. "That really hit me hard," he said. "I stopped using, but I was still addicted to the hustle, jail, and getting away with things."
Myers went to jail for three years, some of which he spent in closed custody- a 23-hour lockdown each day.
"That's when reality kind of set in," he said. "When (your kids) come see you and they have to look through a plexiglass window you know, that was the biggest turning point."
Since Myers was released from jail, he has not had a single violation.
"Now, my kids are everything to me," he said.
A turning point
He says one of the best parts about being clean and crime-free is that he can walk down the street without worry. "I don't have to look over my shoulder," he said.
He also used to harbor hostile feelings toward law enforcement and Marthage since they were the ones who put him in jail, but realized after he got clean that he was the one responsible for his actions.
"The thing is, if you're worried constantly, there's a reason why," he said. "It's not them. They're doing their job. You're the one that's causing your own issues.
"I don't believe once you're an addict you're always an addict," he added. " It's mind over matter. If you believe in yourself you can do anything."
He hopes the show will spark something and help the community and police collaborate to fix the drug problem affecting cities and towns across the nation.
"Maybe things will happen and maybe they won't, but I won't know unless I try," he said.
While the underlying point of the show is to help the community overcome a drug problem, Myers wants to emphasize that it's not the main point. Overall, he hopes for people to be proud of their projects and for fellow car lovers to help each other out with their builds.
"The show is to bring people together and support each other," he said. "It's to show people that you can find a passion. There is more to life than drugs."
Christie Wisniewski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.