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‘Run to the Rapids’ attracts auto enthusiasts

More than 130 classic cars glistened on Main Avenue for Saturday’s “Run to the Rapids,” organized by the Northern Knights Car Club.

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Mark and Tiffany Bouchard of Fosston showcased the oldest street rod, a 1923 Ford T Bucket, at this year's Run to the Rapids.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise
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More than 130 classic cars glistened on Main Avenue for Saturday’s “Run to the Rapids,” organized by the Northern Knights Car Club.

A light mist in the morning didn’t deter the hundreds who strolled the first three blocks of Park Rapids to gaze at beautifully restored – and, in some cases, beefed up – automobiles.

Mark and Tiffany Bouchard of Fosston showcased the oldest street rod, a 1923 Ford T Bucket.

“She was professionally built from the bottom up,” Mark said. “I bought it from a gentleman that had it built, down in the Cities.”

He estimated it took between $23,000 to $25,000 to construct this T Bucket.

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“When you buy a kit like this, you’ll end up getting the frame, but then you won’t get the wheels or anything else. You won’t get the motor, the pipes, the transmission. You just get the body. It’s just fiberglass. It’s not painted or primed. You have to go through all of that, plus the pinstriping and everything else, so it all adds up,” he explained.

Mark said they mostly haul it on a trailer to “show and shine” events, like the one in Park Rapids.

“It sucks a lot of gas, but it’s fun,” he said.

The original T Bucket was manufactured between 1915 and 1927, according to Mark.

His version holds a V8 small block Chevy engine. “She likes to go,” he said. “All together, it weighs 2,075 pounds.”

Most vehicles weigh around 4,000 pounds, he added.

Previously, Mark spent three years restoring a 1951 Ford. He was about halfway done when he sold it for three times what he paid for it.

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Bill Urie of Lake Park purchased this 1954 Oldsmobile Holiday 88 from a friend he'd known for 40 years.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Bill Urie of Lake Park purchased a cherry red 1954 Oldsmobile Holiday 88 convertible from a longtime friend in Moorhead, named Leroy Davidson. When Davidson passed away, Urie bought two of his cars at auction.

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Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

“He had 20-some cars, and this was his pride and joy,” Urie recalled. “He loved this car, and I liked him a lot. He was a great guy.”

The Oldsmobile only has 75,000 actual miles on it. “In this day and age, that’s pretty low mileage, and there was the one owner when I got it.”

Urie had heard about Run to the Rapids for years.

“I’ve always wanted to get over here. Finally, I got out of bed,” he joked. “You’ve got a really great show here. I’ll be back every year now.”

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This canary yellow 1959 El Camino was being used for target practice in a South Dakotan field when Ron and Laurie Anderson of Eagan rescued and restored it.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Ron and Laurie Anderson share a passion for autos. They reside in Eagan.

“Oh, I grew up in a car family,” Laurie said. “My dad and grandfather were both collectors. When I met Ron, I was like, ‘Yep!’”

They rescued a bullet-ridden 1959 El Camino from a South Dakotan corn field. It was being used for target practice. Restoration would be an 18-year process. Laurie searched for parts in junk yards. Ron provided the labor. Even their daughter helped out.

“We just wanted to bring it back to life,” Laurie said. “It has such a cool, cool look to them. Nobody liked them back ‘59. It was the beginning of the Space Age, and it was too futuristic for people. They made it one year.”

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“They didn’t reproduce much parts for that at all, and they still don’t,” Ron added.

Only 22,000 El Caminos were produced in 1959, according to Laurie.

Now that the car is show-ready, the Andersons have been touring all over Minnesota.

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Erin Labrensz of Moorhead polishes her 1964 Ford Galaxie. She did the restoration work herself.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Erin Labrensz of Moorhead displayed her 1964 Ford Galaxie. She bought it in 2009 on Craigslist, restoring it with her father.

“Everything in it was original,” she said. “Yes, we had to redo the whole thing, but it wasn’t really time-consuming.”

Some dings from an accident had to be fixed, along with hail damage.

Female auto restorers aren’t the norm, she noted, “but my dad is into cars. I always had cars in my life.”

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This 1978 Chevy Corvette was the official pace car in the 62nd annual Indianapolis 500. It's owned by Tom and Emmy Lawrence of Menahga.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

There were 101 registered cars for the 37th annual event, plus 31 shown by club members.

Admirers also could vote for their favorite cars. Trophies were awarded to the Top 10.

Organized in 1982, the Northern Knights Car Club is 60 members strong. They meet on the last Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. For more information, check out their website: northernknightscarclub.com

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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