Columbia hosts Corvette Cup

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COLUMBIA - Drivers from across the Midwest gathered to raise money for terminally-ill children Saturday afternoon at Columbia's Stony Creek Inn. 

"These kids may not have all of the opportunities other kids have, but we're able to take these children and make a special day for them, and let them know they mean something to us," said Tommy Mallory, a member of Mid-Missouri's Corvette Club. 

The "Corvette Cup," a fundraiser that attracts Corvette drivers from five surrounding states, started in 1994. The group of car fanatics - made up of drivers from five surrounding states - meets in Columbia every year to show off their rides and compete for awards.

But it's about a lot more than accolades... the group has raised more than $100,000 for sick children.  

"Some of these kids, they've never driven in a Corvette, and it's quite exciting for them," Mallory said. 

Every year, the group hosts an auction, consisting of items donated by the drivers themselves. All of the proceeds from that auction is then donated to the Central Missouri Dream Factory, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to sick children. 

15-year-old Sarah Hanson, who was diagnosed with a painful bone disorder that impairs her movements, is one of those kids. 

"There was a time we went swimming with dolphins. There was a pirate party we went to, and we ate cookies with Mickey Mouse," Hanson said. 

In all, 119 Corvettes were showcased Saturday afternoon, including a red 1962 Corvette convertible. Its owner, Bob Wathal, is one of only four members in Mid-Missouri's Corvette Club. He said he's honored to help out kids in need. 

"This is just a case of a club that gives back to those less fortunate, and it's a privilege to be a member," Wathal said. 

In 2016, the drivers raised more than $6,000. The event's organizers said they hoped to raise as much as last year, and that they have raised more than $13,000 in previous years.