Customized Hearses Converge on Colorado Town

Luke Labonte came all the way from Canada to Englewood, Colorado to celebrate his way of life, by way of death.

For the longest time, I thought I was the only guy who owned a hearse," said Labonte. "Until I found there's more people like me out here."

Labonte is one of dozens taking part in Hearse Con 2008.

It's a national hearse convention put on by Englewood resident Zac Helm.

"Because there's nothing like this going on currently. This is a very uncommon event," said Helm.

Helm walks around dressed in black boots and overcoat.

His hair stands on end about 12-inches tall with a dual tint of black and red.

Helm drives a hearse equipped with a working flamethrower mounted on the roof.

"By technicality, Colorado state law hasn't really passed anything saying no flamethrowers on hearses," said Helm.

Some hearses are dressed up death wagons with mannequin parts hanging out.

Others are pimped out music machines with 6-foot long speakers.

One hearse is a moving work of art complete with hand-made stained glass and brass fixtures.

Jennifer Adams came from Nashville, Tennessee with her video camera to see how different each hearse can be as she continues to work on her own.

"I just bought this hearse, so I thought I'd come up to Denver because I heard this is the biggest hearse convention of the year," said Adams.

Helm puts the show on for free to hearse owners with T-shirt sales covering some expenses.

He says they're all about having fun even though some may disapprove of their tastes in vehicles.

"Some people take it as disrespectful, which is fine with us," said Helm. "We really don't care."

"We just love hearses, you know, we're kinda creepy like that," said Adams. "There's so many different types of people. I mean, I'm a graphic designer."

Helm is an office manager.

"I'm a truck driver," said Labonte. "Just regular people with regular lives that have an interest in a different kind of car."