Sometimes it may seem that Bop City came together entirely through Sam’s doing. While the Park would certainly not exist without him, Sam was never the only person involved. Dr. Amwerth and Burk Wise were with him from the beginning, and although I don’t claim any part of the Park as my own, I was as well. There were others, too, who are often overlooked in the Park’s story.
Tony “Wheels” San Giancarlo owned Cars of the Stars on Tour, driving and exhibiting famous autos and autos of the famous before ground was ever broken for the Park. Sam approached Tony and offered him a permanent home in Bop with a custom-built domed gallery and unique displays for each specimen. The deal was made, and the gallery built as another pre-opening draw. On opening day, the gallery was beset by thieves. It proved to be a most advantageous robbery attempt—for Sam. The crooks were captured without loss of life or property when the Mechanic, Rockville’s first hero, returned to action for the first time in twenty years. The foiled robbery, caught live on camera and seen around the world, set the stage for Bop’s new heroic tradition and provided another level of attraction for the Park. Tony offered the exhibit, renamed Cadillac Ranch, as the Mechanic’s HQ. He agreed and built his base below the gallery, calling it the Garage. Bop’s annual Star Car Rally is also held at the Ranch.
Speaking of early heroes, the Rockville Warrior also joined Sam early in the Park’s development, and it was a great benefit to Sam that he did. The Warrior had been active before the Second World War on both sides of the river, along with his juvenile aides the Thunder Road Irregulars, in crushing the numerous illegal activities typically found in a river town like Rockville. He consulted with Sam for years and still drops by the offices at Bop City Central when he feels the need arises. No one knows the Park and the City better anymore.
The Irregulars, all grown up now, have played differing roles in Rockville and Bop City. Of those who remained in Bop, three entered public service and one furthered his family’s business interests to become the wealthiest man in the state. As Sam had promised, those who wished to continue farming had their land transferred out of the city. Joe Filson did just that, leaving his tenant farmers to work the soil outside Bop and becoming the largest landholder to transfer property to Sam and the Park. Tavon Shields and Monroe Morris you met last week. The other Irregular who entered public service became Chief Prosecutor, a thought that would have been unlikely if it had been any woman but Dani Puterbaugh. Her father had been Constable before Rockville was incorporated, and her great-grandfather had been one of the first to build a house in the town. No one could have named a family with more vested in Rockville. She was always the voice of reason in the Irregulars and had carried that with her to adulthood. The last Irregular was Ptolemy Tiernan, “The Smartest Kid in School”—any school. Lemmy was the kind of kid no other kid picked on because they knew someday they would need him. The lovable nature of this genius made the way his life ended all the more tragic.