My Life, My Words: Wyatt Shroyer: Tires, oil and old cars

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Wyatt Shroyer, 17, works Tuesday on a Buick at Chapman’s Automotive. Shroyer has worked for the shop for a year and has been working on cars since he was 5.

“I grew up here in Craig with my mom, my dad and my siblings. I went to Moffat County High School for my freshman year and then I attended the alternative high school, where I graduated this year. I might possibly go to tech school at Lincoln Tech, but I haven’t decided yet.

“Before I worked here, I was working at Brother’s meat processing. But, I broke my ankle so I got laid off from there. (The owner) JB Chapman knew my dad, and he just gave me a call the day I got out of my cast and told me to come down and apply. That was about March of last year and I have been working here since.

“My dad probably got me interested the most in cars. My dad was disabled when I was about 5 years old and he bought a 1975 (Chevy) Camaro and he couldn’t get it to run right. I started reading books as much as I could for a 5 year old. I read books about cars and fixing them and actually started working on it when I was 5 years old. I just learned all the stuff then by reading and doing it myself. I understood the basics and that was all I really needed for that project.

“I do a little bit of everything here. My favorite is probably working on older cars because they have class to them. My least favorite thing is doing tires on vehicles. You get dirtier doing tires more than doing anything else. I also work on air conditioning units, tires, brakes and alignments.

“I’ll work anywhere from 10 to 13 hours a day on Monday through Friday. But, it is a lot of fun. I feel like I can’t really consider it work if I love doing it. We usually have about four or five of us working in the garage at one time. We can have anywhere up to five cars in the garage at one time and we work outside a lot, too. It is pretty cool working in the garage. I go with the guys after work and do things like ride dirt bikes and do anything to hang out.

“What I really want to do is own my own restoration business. Right now, the boss’s son and me are working on restoring a ’73 GMC pickup, and that has really got me interested in restoring older vehicles. We are about halfway through right after working for a little more than a week from the ground up. So, I’ve looked into prices of shops, but I need to work and save a little more money first.

“My favorite car that I have worked on is probably a 1966 Auburn Roadster. It was a prototype car, the very first ever made. One of the guys that worked here acquired it from a friend. They found it in an abandoned warehouse and offered it to him. It was really cool because it was so rare.

“In my free time I really like to ride dirt bikes and snowmobiles when there is snow. And, I also work on other cars in my free time. I like to go out toward Dinosaur with my friends to ride, when we can.

“Like I said, I work on cars on weekends when I have time, too. I go to JB’s house and work on restoring cars there. Sometimes I go there after work and work on other cars for three hours.”

— Interview by Joshua Gordon, Craig Daily Press

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