Eight-year old Tyler Cole, from Kirtland, shows off his 1968 Chevrolet El Camino on Saturday during the Aztec Fiesta Days car show at Hartman Park in
Eight-year old Tyler Cole, from Kirtland, shows off his 1968 Chevrolet El Camino on Saturday during the Aztec Fiesta Days car show at Hartman Park in Aztec. Aztec Fiesta Days activities continue today. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

AZTEC — Eight-year-old Tyler Cole ran around photographing cars during Aztec Fiesta Days' car show on Saturday.

The show at Hartman Park was among Aztec Fiesta Days' litany of events. The annual celebration started Thursday and continues today at Riverside Park in Aztec.

Even after seeing the several dozen cars at the show, Tyler said his car — a 1968 Chevrolet El Camino that his family registered in his name — is still his favorite. Other people agree. The car recently won a top award at a Bloomfield car show.

"Pretty much it beat the only car that had never been beaten before," Tyler bragged, adding he keeps the trophy on his shelf.

Tyler, his father and his grandfather have been working on the El Camino for four years. Before that, his grandfather parked the car in the driveway.

"We bought this car six years ago, and it just sat in the driveway," said Gary Cole, Tyler's grandfather. "(Tyler) asked me if we could build it for him."

When the family started working on the car, Tyler was 4.

"He actually did quite a bit of work himself," Gary Cole said. "I'm proud of him."

The grandfather said his grandson worked on the exterior and interior, including putting on the primer while he and Tyler's father, Josh Miller, worked on the engine.

Miller, a car mechanic, said he learned about cars in high school from his friends and later attended technical school. His son's mechanical sense impresses him.

"Anything mechanical, he's out there under it and helping me," he said.

When Tyler turns 18, he will receive the keys to the car, his grandfather and father said.

Across the park from where Tyler's car was parked, Pam Madson sat next to her 1981 Chevrolet Camaro with her Chihuahua.

Madson bought the car on a whim when it was new, even though she had a perfectly good car.

"I don't know why we stopped at the dealership," she said.

Members of the Flash softball team ride down Main Avenue on Saturday during the Aztec Fiesta Days parade.
Members of the Flash softball team ride down Main Avenue on Saturday during the Aztec Fiesta Days parade. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

At a Chevy dealership in Aztec, Madson test drove the gold Camaro but left empty-handed, satisfied with the car she already owned.

"I woke up knowing I had to have it," she said.

The next morning, she called the dealership to confirm the car was still there. And then she drove to the business and bought the car.

Since then, Madson has put 41,000 miles on the car, including trips to Maryland and Washington state. But the Camaro has been in storage for 11 years. Madson pulled it out of storage a few days ago because she "decided who would like to drive it more than me?"

Aztec Fiesta Days was Madson's first car show, and she enjoyed the trip down memory lane. She pointed out the cars that were popular when she was in high school.

"What these shows do with the old cars, it's just nostalgia," she said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.