Sauers Buick GMC hosted their 4th annual Buick Test Drive for Your Students event on Saturday, loading up the lot with an all-star lineup of new Buick and GMC cars, trucks, and SUVs for fun–and free–test drives in support of the New Prairie Touchdown Club, which provides support to the New Prairie Cougars football team.
“It takes a lot of money to make it a first rate program,” said Kim Sauers, Owner of the Sauers Buick GMC. “Last year we raised $6,000 with 315 test drives.”
“This year we’re trying to raise money for jerseys,” said Joe Schultz, President of the New Prairie Touchdown Club. “We have to replace them every six years and it’s pretty expensive. I think it costs us $21,000 for jerseys and pants.”
To reach that goal, the program is pretty simple: test drive a car, and Buick donates $20 to the Touchdown Club.
“A simple sign in process on the iPad and you’re ready to get some sun and test drive some nice new cars,” said Sauers.
This year, the weather was perfect. The first year the event was held in October and it was freezing. The convertibles—like the Buick Cascada, which was on the lot and quite popular–lose a bit of charm when it’s too cold to drop the top. Having learned a lesson only Midwest winters can teach, Sauers Buick GMC moved the event to coincide with the town’s Hometown Days Festival and Parade, which helps draw in more passersby and more test drives.
Even still, many test drivers were hardcore Cougars fans.
“Last year we won our sectional championship and our division,” said Schultz. “We lost to a tough Lowell team that went to state.” The Cougars themselves made it to the State Championships in 2013.
“They’ve established quite a football program,” Sauers said.
Diane and Dan Siford of Rolling Prairie are active in the Touchdown Club, and Diane is the Team Mom for the sophomores in support of their son Bobby. Their daughter, Abby, a senior, is a cheerleader.
“Football really brings the kids together,” Diane said, “You’ve got the band, the cheerleaders, the dance team, the football team. There’s a lot of student groups that are involved with football, so when you’re supporting the football team you’re supporting all those groups as well.”
The Sifords took their third test drive in as many years, with Diane opting to try out the Cascada.
“I’m a mom. I drive an SUV,” Diane said, “so the Cascada is kind of a dream car. It drives nice and it’s beautiful.”
Of the Cascada, Dan said, “I liked that car way too much, but we just bought a truck from Sauers last week. Kim’s really good at supporting the program, and we love our new truck.”
Grace Siford, also of Rolling Prairie, came with her daughter Stacey Moody and tested out the Buick Encore. When it comes to supporting the Touchdown Club, Grace said it’s about supporting a legacy.
“I graduated from the old Rolling Prairie,” Grace said. “My children graduated from New Prairie. Now my grandchildren are either graduated from or going to New Prairie. I support them all.”
The Cougars were active in hyping the event, twirling Buick Test Drive for Your Students signs on both sides of the sidewalk. They were pulling double duty as volunteering at the pancake breakfast fundraiser down the street.
Logan Plonka, a New Prairie junior, plays defensive back for the Cougars.
“I like helping the football team get new jerseys. Plus the Touchdown Club makes sure we get to eat after away games.”
Of football, and evidenced by the crowd of team spirited test drivers, Plonka said “I like the family feeling of being together.”
To support the Cougars, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NewPrairieCougarsTouchdownClub/. If you’re interested in a new–or new to you–car, visit Sauers Buick GMC in LaPorte or their website at http://www.sauersautos.com/.