One of the biggest events in the South Cariboo rolled through town over the weekend with the intent to stimulate the economy.
Of course, that event was Hot July Nights, an annual car and bike show that spreads over three days with activities such as a poker run and wrapping up with a big show in Centennial Park.
“It’s great,” said 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall. “It’s more than just bringing people in from the outside. I think it just gets people in the community socializing with each other.”
Campsall went on to say, the three-day event does a really good job in doing just that, in addition to getting out of towners to come to see “such a fantastic and beautiful community we have.”
According to Stephen Almond, a member of the Hot July Nights Car Committee, about 170 to 180 cars were present at the finale at the park. He called the day excellent.
“A great, great turnout. People have been enjoying themselves looking at the cars,” he said. “The weather cooperated really well, we just had a little sprinkle at 10 a.m., other than that, it’s been great. The music is awesome and lots of people are getting reacquainted and checking out some really neat cars.”
The rain came and went all weekend but made the biggest splash on Saturday during the poker run, which started off at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre and ended at the Iron Horse in Lone Butte.
Wayne and Carol Plautz, a couple from 103 Mile, were two of the competitors. They said the event was good, despite being cut in the rain.
“We’ve been coming to it [Hot July Nights] for a few years, but we just got this one going after 30 years,” said Wayne, pointing to a Camero. “I was always into cars. I used to race them when I was 18.”
He had the same model of Camero as a teenager.
They, unfortunately, didn’t win the poker run. Unfortunately, the honours went to Mark Harris, who braved the heavy rain and hail on his motorcycle.
Almond, who has been part of the Hot July Nights Car Committee for around 10 years, has a red ‘66 Mustang.
“I decided that I’d get involved with helping putting on the show because it does a lot of good for our community… People just love coming out and seeing them [the cars]. It brings back such good memories and even the young kids just love them too.”
Almond said his father was a mechanic, which got him into cars – naturally. As a teenager, Almond drove a ‘68 Mustang, something he laughs about now that he drives a ‘66.
Jim Williscroft, the past president of the 100 Mile House Cruzers Club said that considering the weather, the weekend was good.
“People band together and everybody does what they can to make it a good show,” he said. “It amazes me every year that people want to come together to enjoy their cars and enjoy each other’s camaraderie because it’s a car culture – something that people have in their blood.”
Hot July Nights is organized by the Hot July Nights Car Committee, but is helped by the Cruzers to run the events.
“They do a great job, not just for this. They do a great job for many, many, many volunteer groups in our community,” said MLA Donna Barnett at the end of the poker run. “Usually car people just… ride cars, so you guys are super special.”