Organizers for Sea Cruise fought an uphill battle to pull off the 29th annual event. First they overcame a year of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down most other social events. Then the rain Saturday, Oct. 10 threatened to chase away all but the most die hard fans.
Longtime participant Ken Miller, a 30-year member of the Curry County Cruisers with his 1963 Tbird — a driver, not a trailer queen, he’s quick to point out — perhaps best summed up this year’s car show going on as planned.
“It was a miracle,” Miller said. “I am so proud of them — the Chamber, the city, everyone — for doing it.”
Jason Bartholomew, president of event-cosponsor Northern Knights Car Club, said he had 167 car owners register for the even. He guessed a majority showed, but couldn’t say for sure how many braved the rain and muddy conditions at Beach Front Park.
“All in all, in a year of the Rs — rainy ‘rona’ — all things considered, it was a great year,” Bartholomew said. “Not knowing if we’d have it, knowing how the sponsors feel, everybody stepped up and made it great.”
Bartholomew said, no exaggeration, 20 to 25 people genuinely said thank you so much for doing the car show.
“They said they’ve been waiting all year to get out,” he said. “One gentleman said he and his wife retired five years ago and all they do is travel around the region to car shows. Sea Cruise was only his third show this year.”
Bill Browning, while admiring a 1932 Plymouth Sedan, said he drove his 1956 AMC Hudson Hornet from Arcada.
“I poked my head out my house and thought maybe they’d cancel it,” Browning said. “But then I thought, what the hell, I’m here, I’ve paid for the motel and the gas, might as well go. I’m glad I did.”
Mark Jaime, who has been bringing his 1960 Biscayne Chevrolet to Sea Cruise of 10 years, was a little disappointed the trailer queens didn’t want to risk their cars in the weather.
“It’s a lot of fun. Not too many of the the high-dollar cars came out here in mud and with a chance of rain,” Jaime said. “But I’m glad they let us have it this year. It was a little iffy there for a while with COVID. But it’s good for the community.”
Cindy Vosburg, executive director of event co-sponsor Crescent City and Del Norte Chamber of Commerce, said the community members who showed up were able to vote in more than 100 categories to place their favorite car. Here’s a look at the winners from the top five most popular categories:
— Chamber’s Choice/Trophy Sponsor State Farm Lisa McKeown:
1947 Ford Ambulance, owned by Jim and Judy Davis, of Ravendale, Calif.
— Northern Knights Choice/ Trophy Sponsor Curly Redwoods Lodge:
1960 Chevy Impala, owned by Daniel Marsh, of Lapine, Oregon
— Longest Distance/Trophy Sponsor Curly Redwoods Lodge:
1985 Corvette Coupe, owned by Barry Westphal, from Marysville, Wash., traveled 557 miles
— Best Paint/Trophy Sponsor Champion Awards:
1955 Chevy 210 Sedan, owned by Lisa Lavoie., of Anderson, Calif.
— Best of Show/Trophy Sponsor Lucky 7 Casino & Hotel:
1962 Chevy Corvette, owned by Russ Robinson, of Grants Pass, Oregon
Bartholomew said not enough participants showed up to be judged in the new low rider category.
“I told them you bring me 10 entries we’ll have a contest. That pays for trophies,” Bartholomew said. “We didn’t have 10, I think we had five, but we’ll keep it (the low rider category). I don’t think it’s fair disqualifying them this year with everything going on.”
While the receipts are still being counted, Bartholomew said as long as they broke even or better, he’d consider that a win.
“We got the community out of their houses. That in of itself was a win,” he said.