20 years of chrome and dice

A shimmering showcase of vintage vehicles fills the park and nearby streets in Prairie City during the 2014 Grant County Kruzers car show. This year's show, the 20th annual, will be Saturday, Aug. 1, in Prairie City.

PRAIRIE CITY – Is it the tuck-and-roll upholstery? The fuzzy dice? The fins and shimmering chrome?

Chances are, the attraction of vintage vehicles – both for the owners and interested onlookers – tugs at something deeper, such as the reminiscence of days gone by or a particular memory or event.

Whatever the reason, owners and spectators will meet again for a step back in time at the Grant County Kruzers 20th annual car show Saturday, Aug. 1, in Prairie City’s city park.

The show itself runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with the schedule as follows:

• 9-11 a.m. – Check in and registration.

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Poker walk with city merchants.

• 2 p.m. – Turn in poker hands and car show ballots.

• 3 p.m. – Prizes and announcements.

Prairie City School FFA will offer breakfast from 7:30-11:30 a.m. and the PC girls basketball team will serve lunch from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Oldies music from the 50s, 60s and 70s will play throughout the day, to keep everyone in a rockin’ and rollin’ mood.

And yes, there are prizes at stake.

First of all, there will be a special big prize drawing in honor of the show’s 20th year. Other trophies and gas card prizes will be awarded in several classes: best of show, first- and second-place in several vintage year categories, convertibles, trucks and utility vehicles. Plus, additional classes such as special interest, 1980 and newer, teen-owned, and farthest traveled.

Many entrants come from Grant County, various locations throughout Oregon, and some from nearby states. For many years, a regular entrant from Arizona won the farthest-traveled honor.

The prizes are all sponsored and supported by local businesses.

Registration fee is $20, which includes a goodie bag, dash plaque and poker walk entry. There’s no admission to just come and look, and enjoy the oldies ambiance.

So how did this all start?

According to Kruzers member Jennifer Barker, the club and the car show began simply enough when two classic car owners, Leonard Wolf and Joey Oatman, moved to Prairie City from Redmond and wanted to start a car club here.

They called people they knew who also had old vehicles, and things accelerated from there.

That was in 1996.

The first show was co-sponsored by the Kruzers and the Prairie City Merchants Association. It was a longer event, running well into the evening and included several contests: hot pepper, 50s retro costume and watermelon eating. A poker walk, oldies music, trophies and prizes were also part of the festivities.

The number of entrants over the years has averaged in the 40-50 range. Last year’s show drew 51 participants and their vehicles, filling Prairie City’s park and surrounding streets.

From the beginning, the show has always been held on the first Saturday in August and has always been in Prairie City.

According to Barker, people who come to the car show enjoy the ambiance and closeness of the town.

New club members are always welcome to join. Kruzers meet at 6 p.m. the second Monday of the month – except for August and January – to discuss car shows members have attended and other activities. Meetings are held at various area restaurants.

The group also supports automotive activities in high school shop classes throughout the county, and donates to area grad nights too.

Kruzers also gather for a members picnic in July.

Membership dues are $20 per year.

For more information about the club or the car show, call 541-542-2525 or 541-820-3745, or email gckruzers@ortelco.net. Visit the Grant County Kruzers on Facebook and online at www.ortelco.net/~kruzers.

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