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Hot July Nights another roaring success

Thousands flocked to the South Cariboo for the annual car show

Hundreds of classic cars, trucks and bikes rolled into 100 Mile House for Hot July Nights on the weekend.

Over 10,000 people flocked to Birch Avenue on Sunday where 411 vehicles of all makes and models lined both sides of the roadway for the annual Show and Shine. In a stroke of luck, the skies cleared and the crowd enjoyed blue skies as they took in the automobiles on display.

“I would say it was a huge success. We’ve been getting compliments, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Literally for two days - had our first call (Monday) at 7:30 a.m. in the morning,” said Cruzers Car Club president, Marty Mahovlich. “We were a little tired. Figured ‘oh we get to sleep in’ - that didn’t happen,” he laughed. He added that if people want to say thank you then you do not want to stop them.

The three-day event was chock full of activities starting with the meet and greet at the South Cariboo Rec Centre parking lot followed by the rod run out to Lac La Hache. Around 200 cars showed up with about 80 going out on the run.

“We had like 150 people in the Lac La Hache picnic area. And it was fun because we did the trivia thing and then our sound system blew up and we had to yell,” he laughed. “So I stood on a picnic table.”

After a pancake breakfast Saturday morning, cooked by the 100 Mile House Wranglers Junior B team at the South Cariboo Rec Centre, the participants headed out for the Poker Run to the Iron Horse Pub in Lone Butte. Local talent Terra U entertained the crowd as they visited over a barbeque lunch.

Ken Schmidt, second vice president of the Cruzers Car Club, said that as far as he was concerned the weekend was a roaring success. He did the timing out for the poker run when the cars were being dispatched which gave him the opportunity to talk to each driver and their passengers.

“I got no negatives. ‘how great this was, how organized’ so it’s a plus.”

READ MORE: Hot July Nights Car and Bike Show cruises into 100 Mile House July 14

The Show and Shine was the main event. A variety of activities took place throughout the day with over 40 awards being given at 3 p.m. The Joe Muench Memorial trophy went to Jeff Davidson from 70 Mile House for his Harley Fat Boy 120. The winner of the Jack Barnett Memorial was Jos Geenson from Williams Lake with a 67 Arcadian and the Bo Work Memorial was won by Willy Dyck from Lone Butte with a 63 Ford Galaxy.

The winners of the trip sponsored by Canco Petroleum were Shirley and Howard Wares from 100 Mile House. This year’s winner was given a choice of a trip for two to the Barrett Jackson auction in Arizona, a trip to Las Vegas or an Alaskan cruise.

New to the event this year was the children’s colouring contest, run by Western Financial Group. Val Nickless said they handed out the people’s choice ballots as well as overseeing the contest.

“It was in the shade so I think parents appreciated an activity for the kids and it was kind of a nice break for them,” she said. “This year, going along with the kids colouring they had a ballot where the kids could vote for their favourite car, 12 and under.”

She said even though they weren’t organizers, they were wearing yellow shirts and people were coming up to them and saying what a well-run event the day was and how impressed they were.

Adding to the street festival vibe was the music with three bands sharing the stage throughout the day.

The Wrangler barbeque wagon did a booming trade. Bruce Madu said they almost ran out of hamburgers and water. “I can’t really say much about the car show I was so busy.”

Mahovlich said the swap meet was perfect. “It was filled two months before. We didn’t want it overcrowded and it was perfect. We had 32 vendors in there. They all did well,” he said. “The stores were packed. The guess -a- part went over extremely well again.” He laughed and said, “We had some tricky stuff in there so all these guys who think they know everything - didn’t!”

He said the walking poker run went over well again and succeeded in getting people into the stores.

“I mean, again, the vision is and we can’t lose sight of that is we’re trying to help out the businesses, and we’re trying to make a feel-good for the town,” he said. “The number one thing we’re doing this for is to help businesses out and I think we accomplished that and they were all busy. The restaurants were just chock full,” adding there were some guys who were unable to find a hotel room as they were all full.

All of the non-profits did well and he said that is the idea behind the event. All that money stays back in the community.

Mahovlich said they do things that none of the other shows do, adding that they gave away $18,000 in prizes.

He offered a big thank you to all the sponsors. “Without raising that money we couldn’t do that, right. So I mean, I look at the way I tell them, ‘for every dollar you gave, you probably got 10 back.’”

He also gave a huge shoutout to all the volunteers. There were 207 heading up to the day with more people stepping up at the last moment. “They just kind of jumped in and helped out where they were needed.”

He acknowledged the contributions of the District of 100 Mile House plus the various government officials who supported the weekend through participation and grants including Lorne Doerkson, Frank Caputo, Maureen Pinkney and Margo Wagner.

Mahovlich said it takes thousands of hours to stage an event like this and offered a huge thank you to the Hot July Nights committee and the Cruzers Car Club.

Schmidt said people do not realize what is involved in putting an event of this scope together and that Mahovlich and his wife Jane are “what makes this thing happen. We all get together because of them. We’re a big family is what it is and we respect them,” he said.

Mahovlich is the head and people see him but they do not see Jane as much, Schmidt said. She puts a lot of thought and energy into what she does and for every piece of paper that they see, every document, Jane has pretty much touched each one. “She’s the machine behind what you see,” he said.

Mahovlich said that Jane probably put the most time in of everybody. Friday night, when more cars showed up than expected she jumped on the computer when they got home “and started smacking out documents till three in the morning.”

“All this, what this whole thing is just benefiting everything in town. Everybody’s touched by it,” Mahovlich said. “This whole thing is set up for helping nonprofits and businesses. You know, make everybody have a good function and feel good and have things to do.”

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Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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