Willie Scheel is driving royalty for the 23rd year

This article submitted by Beth Zimmerman on 7/21/98.

The year was 1976. The United States celebrated its bicentennial. Fordís presidency gave way to Carterís. Willie Scheel, owner of the Black Saucer, began to drive Paynesvilleís queen and princesses to area parades in his newly purchased 1960 Dawn Rose Cadillac.

Scheel is now in his 23rd year of chauffeuring Paynesvilleís royalty. He enjoys it as much today as he did that first year.

ďMy favorite part has been the camaraderie of making new friends each year. Within a few days [of meeting the new royalty], itís like weíre old friends,Ē Scheel said.

Erin Pelton, 1996 Second Princess, said, ďEven when it rained, it seemed like the sun was shining, because Willie always made us laugh.Ē

Scheel said, ďI enjoy keeping in contact with past royalty, especially when they bring me candy to restock my supply.Ē

Scheel owns a lavender Ď58 and a mauve Ď59 Cadillac, among others. The three are alternated to transport Paynesvilleís royalty to the 20+ parades per summer in true courtly fashion.

ďMy least favorite part of chauffeuring the queens is getting so blooming hot,Ē he said. ďToo bad I donít have air conditioning.Ē

In addition to showing off the queens and the cars in area parades, Scheel also uses his vehicles chauffeuring for weddings. Scheel is scheduled to drive in four weddings in August.

Scheel has been serving the Paynesville community for over 50 years. His business ventures in the area have ranged from owning a roller rink in 1947 to owning the S & S Drive In in 1948, to owning the Black Saucer Steak House in 1963, which became the Black Saucer Motel in 1970.

Although Scheel and wife, Gloria, would like to retire from owning the Black Saucer, Scheel said that he wonít think of retiring from chauffeuring the queens for another two years.

ďIíd like to hit 25 years,Ē he said. ďAll in all, itís been a great ride.Ē

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