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Cape Girardeau Connection To The Sinkhole Damaged Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum

A Cape Girardeau dentist has a deep connection with the Kentucky Corvette museum that was partially swallowed by a sinkhole last week.

Dr. Patrick Ruopp of Cape Girardeau and his wife became founders and lifetime members on the museum when it first opened in 1994. Ruopp said he has had a strong passion for Corvettes ever since the brand was first introduced.

“I’ve always liked Corvettes and I have several Corvettes myself,” Ruopp said. “So I have an interest in Corvettes and for that reason I want support organizations like the National Corvette Museum. It’s an on-going hobby for many people so they get a lot of support nationwide.”

Ruopp currently owns three Corvettes, one being his childhood dream car.

“When I was probably 12 years old, they came out with pictures in the fall of 1962 of the 1963 split-window coupe Corvette,” Ruopp said. “That was the mid-year design, the new design of the Corvette starting in ‘63 and I just kind of fell in love with it. I thought it was a dream of a 12-year-old boy.”

Ruopp said the museum is privately owned and ran completely off of donations from other Corvette enthusiasts. According to Ruopp, many of the cars at the museum are historic cars. Some of them were experimental cars and some were one-of-a-kind cars that were made as a test model.

The cars affected by the sinkhole include a 1962 Black Corvette, 1984 PPG Pace Car, 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette, 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette, 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette, 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette, 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors, 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors

As of now, there is no estimated date of reconstruction from the sinkhole because the area affected has not been secured. General Motors hopes to salvage and reconstruct whatever is left of the eight historic Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole. Bowling Green fire department estimated the hole was 40 feet wide and 25-30 feet deep.

Bailey McCormick was an intern reporter for KRCU in 2014.