WeAreMopar Charity Fanfest at the Texas Motor Speedway

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Dodge Forum gets an eyeful of muscle cars and learns about Mopar culture at the WeAreMopar owners event.

This weekend, I attended the second annual WeAreMopar festival at the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Ft. Worth, Texas. Like most automotive events, it had a theme. Two, actually. The most obvious was Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, SRT, Jeep, and Ram vehicles. The celebration’s second theme had nothing to do with cars at all. Family was what tied everyone together.

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The DFWLX owners club hosted the WeAreMopar bash. They kicked it off with a “Friday Night Lights” custom lighting show and competition on Friday, August 4. Saturday started with the Alamo City LX Modern Mopar group’s color guard presentation of the cars taking part in the event. During the Crowd Control portion of the festivities, participants would be able to smash a Chevrolet Camaro and a Ford Mustang. For a $30 donation, WeAreMopar attendees would get the chance to drive their cars for three laps on the 1.5-mile banked oval track. Proceeds from WeAreMopar benefited the Homeless Veterans Service of Dallas.

Shortly after arriving on Saturday – just as the Mopar Showdown car show judging began – I spoke with Chris Cassell, the owner of a 2007 Dodge Charger R/T and the vice president of DFWLX. He had his work cut out for him assisting the festival’s 45 registered vendors (including Katzkin Leather, who invited me to WeAreMopar) in setting up their booths and operations, and answering questions from the droves of people pouring into the venue. Fortunately, Cassell’s used to handling large numbers of Mopar fanatics; according to him, DFWLX has 575 registered members. He expected 1,800 Mopar vehicles to show up to the WeAreMopar party.

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To him, the best part of WeAreMopar is being able to put faces to the names of the people who contribute their photos and updates to DFWLX from different parts of the country. As for the Mopar community as a whole, Cassell’s favorite thing about it is the “overall family aspect.” Cassell said most of the Mopar owners he knows refer to their respective owners clubs as their families.

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I walked away with a smile on my face thinking about what I just learned. As I made my way deeper into the grounds of TMS, I passed row after row of Chargers, Challengers, and 300s gleaming under the Texas sun. It was burning through my sunscreen, but the sweaty discomfort was worth it, particularly when I saw a nest of Vipers near the vendor tents. It was hard to decide which one was the most eye-catching. A first-generation GTS had been modified to the hilt with body add-ons and not one but two superchargers. A yellow roadster’s bright paint screamed at me. The pearlescent pink covering a fifth-generation Viper was oddly alluring. Jeep Wranglers were clustered together, immobile and unmuddied. A 1970s Challenger sat on the pavement by itself, alone but not undesired. My smile grew wider. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any bigger, I heard something that made it spread even wider.

Looking for the Katzkin tent, I flagged down Levi Lewis thinking he was working the event. I learned the retired Air Force police officer is actually the founder, president, and CEO of the Alamo City LX Modern Mopar group.

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After decades of owning Mopar cars and trucks (Lewis’s first vehicle was a Header Orange 1974 Dodge Power Wagon), Lewis bought his 2006 Dodge Charger R/T in July of the same year. It has a Diablo tuner and a cold air intake, but it’s primarily a show car, especially after someone rear ended it in 2010. That’s when Lewis decided to stop daily driving his Charger and begin using it as a weekend toy and show piece. He wanted a theme for his car that he had never seen before. Clearly, he chose the video game and movie character Agent 47 aka the Hitman. There’s fake blood spatter on the hybrid first-generation/second-generation SRT front end. Under the hood, the engine cover has been airbrushed to show the assassin’s face. The passenger seat is dressed up just like the Hitman. Lewis even filled the trunk with the tools of his favorite character’s trade (Lewis’s guns are airsoft models).

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I enjoyed the history and tour of Lewis’s car, but I was also curious about Alamo City LX Modern Mopar. Lewis informed me that it’s a 10-year-old owners and enthusiast group with more than 1,200 members that’s also a non-profit organization. Most recently, their Father’s Day car show raised funds for the Arms of Hope organization, which “assists children and single-mother families in need,” according to its website. Then he said something similar to what I’d heard earlier that day. “We’re a club, but we’re a family first.” And I smiled. Again.

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It was an eye-opening experience that left me feeling full of hope and positivity despite everything the harsh sun took out of me. Before that day, I had always viewed Mopar culture as a giant group of passionate strangers. After talking with Cassell and Lewis, I learned it’s a family unlike any other. It’s a family you can choose to be a part of. Challenger Hellcats, Hemi-powered Chargers, Vipers, and Grand Cherokee SRTs make that an easy choice.

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