GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) — Knowing the Conkey family is to experience their passion for cars, a love that started with Kelly Conkey Billups’ father, Lou, and spread through the family.
“My mom was the crew chief, I was the biggest cheerleader, water hauler,” Conkey Billups said.
Her father started working with cars when he was a kid, and got into drag racing and enjoyed going to car shows. Conkey Billups’ brother, David, followed in his footsteps.
“My brother bought his first car when he was 13 and worked on it with my dad in the garage, made his way to the racetrack and that just became the family’s passion,” Conkey Billups said.
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started to change everyday life, the illness hit the Conkeys hard. Lou, Conkey Billups mother, Judy, and David all died after getting COVID-19. In a matter of days, Conkey Billups had lost her parents and brother.
“I lost everybody who held every one of my memories my whole entire life,” she said.
Through the tough times, Conkey Billups, her family and friends have been keeping their foot on the gas. The Grove City family is honoring their loved ones through the Conkey Memorial Foundation. The non profit supports people dealing with challenging medical situations.
“Being able to remember my family, do these things in the community, pay it forward, help others, just kind of warms our hearts,” said Katie Garbrandt, Conkey Billups’ daughter.
Saturday is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser. It’s a car show known as the Conkey Classic.
“It’s been difficult, but honestly when I say the foundation has allowed us to find purpose in this pain I mean that with every ounce of my being,” Conkey Billups said. “We have trophies my dad won from the sixties still and it’s just really cool to be able to add this to his legacy, even though he’s not here to physically experience it, we know they’re keeping their eye on all of us.”
The Conkey Classic is happening at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Registration opens at 10 a.m. The show starts at 11 a.m. and goes on until 4 p.m.