Champion Ford Lincoln Mazda
Almost five decades after Bruce Brubaker last pitched in a major league baseball game it is not uncommon for the morning mail at Champion Ford Lincoln Mazda to include a request of two for Brubaker to sign one of his Topps baseball cards for a collector or fan.
Brubaker, who has owned the dealership in Owensboro since 1990, pitched in the big leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1967 and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 before a torn rotator cuff ended that dream. He also pitched in the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies minor league organizations.
In those days some players honed their skills in the off-season playing winter ball in the Caribbean League. Brubaker met his wife, Leda, while he was pitching in the Dominican Republican. The family still has a more than passing interest in major league baseball. Leda Brubaker’s nephew, Jorge Posada, was the regular catcher for the New York Yankees since 2000 until retiring after the 2011 season. The dealership even displays a few signed jerseys and baseball memorabilia as well as numerous mounted big game animals and game fish.
A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brubaker ended his baseball career with the Evansville Triplets Triple-A minor league team in the early 1970s. In that era, players were not given the huge contracts that are commonplace in major league baseball today. In his era, most players worked in the off season to supplement their incomes. Brubaker sold cars for a dealership in the Evansville-Newburgh market and learned that he had a knack for it. He decided to make it his post baseball career. He moved his wife and two sons to Lexington in the 1980s where he became the General Manager for Paul Miller Ford-Mazda. The Brubakers returned to the area in 1990 when he acquired the Ford Lincoln Mercury Mazda dealership in Owensboro from the Holder family.
In the summer of 2000, the dealership moved from its long time location at Fourth and Frederica its current site on Southtown Boulevard at J R Miller Boulevard. Brubaker’s sons have followed him into the automotive business. Bruce III, known all his life as Duke, is the General Sales Manager. His father gave him the nickname after the pitcher had met actor John Wayne who signed a baseball for the infant “To True Grit Brubaker”. Duke Brubaker says it is still one of his most prized possessions. Born in Portland, Oregon, Duke graduated from the University of Richmond in 1992 and joined the dealership after having sold used cards in Lexington for two years.
Tyler Brubaker, is the General Manager of the Champion Ford REO location in Rockport Indiana. He was born in Evansville and graduated from Daviess County High School and Western Kentucky University. Tyler, who was named in honor of baseball Hall of Fame legend Ty Cobb, came on board fulltime at the dealership in 1996.
Duke Brubaker says “we still consider ourselves the new kids on the block.” He adds that attitude has allowed the company to stay on its toes and become “one of the premier dealerships in western Kentucky, the entire state actually”. Brubaker says the dealership owes that success to what he labeled “The Champion Experience.” People are waited on promptly by a friendly sales staff, treated with respect and not subjected to pressure tactics.
The Champion organization employs around 90 people, including their REO Ford dealership and two ChampionShip Used vehicle center on Frederica St. and Highway 54.
Champion keeps a huge inventory of new and pre-owned cars, tucks and vans on its lot, but if by chance they don’t have exactly what you are looking for the staff will work with dealerships all over the country to locate your dream vehicle.
Many people who have purchased their vehicles elsewhere rely on Champion to service that car or truck because of the company’s well-earned reputation.
Champion offers Quick Lane Service for tires and highly skilled service work. No appointments are necessary. Customers are shuttled to their homes, shopping or even to the movies, while their vehicles are being serviced. Service customers are given pagers to alert them when heir vehicles are ready. The service and parts departments are open on Saturday as well as Monday through Friday. There is a collision center on the ten-acre site and customers can receive free car washes when their new vehicle is purchased at Champion. Brubaker says The Champion Experience results in happy customers who not only come back the next time they want to purchase a car, truck or van, but they recommend Champion to their friends, too. To view all of the current new and used inventory visit their website at www.ChampionAutoTeam.com or www.ChampionOwensboro.com for the Owensboro location only. While you’re shopping in your jammies, you can view pictures and video of their inventory. They have also installed Wi-Fi in the dealership for customer convenience. You can also follow Champion on Twitter: twitter.com/ChampionFord and Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChampionOwensboro for instant deals and savings, links to informative videos, and general news.
Find out yourself all about “the Champion experience” with a visit to Champion Ford Lincoln Mazda on Southtown Boulevard in Owensboro.