It was a classic weekend for vintage car enthusiasts in Park Rapids.
The Northern Knights Car Club held its 37th annual Run to the Rapids car show Friday and Saturday at the C’mon Inn and on the first three blocks of Main Avenue in downtown Park Rapids.
Gary Mills said the event started Friday night with a hot dog, brat, corn and chips feed for registered participants at the motel. “That’s one of the favorite parts of the show,” he said, “where they can listen to old-time rock ‘n roll music and talk about their cars, and everybody from years past knows each other. It’s kind of a session where they just sit and talk and show their cars to the public.”
Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m the car show moved downtown. While the public filled Main Avenue to check out the wide variety of antique cars, registered participants voted for their favorites throughout the morning.
“This year,” said Mills, “our Run to the Rapids was also a Street Rod Association voting event.”
That means members of the Minnesota Street Rod Association whose cars have been inspected can vote for custom of the year and street rod of the year. After several voting events, those awards are presented at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Northern Knights had 20 trophies of their own to give away. The top 10 winners, based on the number of votes they received were:
Dave and Donna Vogt of Cold Spring, Minn., 1936 Chevy pickup
Dan and Deb Ament of Perham, 1953 Buick Skylark convertible
Brian and Dee Sjokin of Grand Rapids, 1950 Pontiac Chieftain
Kirk Christofferson of Becker, 1948 Ford F-1 pickup
Syl and Shirley Szucsko of Lake Havasu, Ariz., 1950 Cadillac convertible
Dan and Paulette Burchalter of Hugo, Minn., 1954 Chevy Delray
Kent Brothen of Pequot Lakes, 1955 Mercury Montclair
Arvid and Marlous Prickett of Cochran, Minn., 1962 Ford Galaxy 500
Claude Sampson of Carlisle, Iowa, 1950 two-door Ford
Scott Hennesy of Wadena, 1936 four-door Ford
Other trophies awarded included:
Best convertible: Gerald Merkel, 1957 Ford retractable
Best muscle car: Verlyn Sandhburst, Detroit Lakes, 1969 Plymouth GTX
Best Ford: Christofferson’s Ford F-1
Best GM: Jim Zeller, Sebeka, 1956 Chevy 311 short box
Best orphan: Bob Rutledge, Bemidji, 1949 Willys Jeepster
Best unrestored: Bob Kuhn, Nevis, 1941 Ford Coupe
Best Mopar: Alan Solberg, New Ulm, Minn., 1933 Dodge 5 window coupe
Best paint: John Hockett Jr., Menahga, 1968 Chevy Nova
Finally, Mills said, the winner of the long-distance trophy traveled about 2,400 miles from Tucson, Ariz. in his 2004 Ford Mustang Cobra GT, stopping at car shows along the way but making Park Rapids his destination.
The Lions Club also gave away a trophy at the car show, Mills said. Their club pick went to Dan Opsal’s 1959 Edsel.
“Just a very, very successful show,” said Mills. “We didn’t know, after COVID, how it was gonna be attended. We usually average about 125 to 130 registered cars, and we had 96. It’s down a little bit, but we were happy with that.”
Lining both sides of Main Avenue and down the middle were, besides the registered cars, approximately 20 additional cars owned by members of the club and 10 or 12 unregistered cars, displayed at the south end of the corridor.
“Some very, very nice cars,” said Mills. “Just had a great time, and got to give away some very nice trophies, cash prizes and item prizes.”
Later, the club went on a 66-mile cruise. They left the C’mon Inn, drove to Nevis, then circled back on County 40 to U.S. Hwy. 71, went through Two Inlets on County 41 before circling back through Osage to Park Rapids.
“About an hour-and-20-minute cruise,” said Mills. “They really appreciated the cruise. The participants love to get out in Park Rapids and see our countryside.”
Club members’ day ended with root beer floats at the old-fashioned gas station on the West 40 Antique Tractor Grounds.
Mills called it “just a super day to have a car show.”