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Cruise to the Woods draws large numbers

An estimated 1,500 vehicles participate in 28th annual event

October 3, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

There's more than one way to see the cars at any Cruise to the Woods car show.

You can spend the day walking row after row or you can find a spot at the entrance to the Webster County Fairgrounds, pull up a camp chair - and a stool for your feet - then sit back for the cars to cruise past you.

That's what Jane and Ken Briscoe, of Dumont, did Sunday when they arrived at 8 a.m. to park their rare 1967 Grand Prix convertible - that's the only year a Grand Prix convertible was made - along the entrance road. Then they watched and they listened.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
Rex Raasch, of Waukee, right, talks to Don Zollars, of St. James, Minn., about the ’54 Studebaker Commander Raasch said has won three best of show designations and best in class at a couple more shows already this year. His car was named one of the 10 best at Sunday’s 28th annual Cruise to the Woods. Zollars and his wife, Dawn, showed a 1965 Ford F100 4x4 at the show.

Every car at the show had to enter at that spot, and professional motor sports announcer David Palmer, of the Chicago area, kept up a running commentary, talking about each car as it entered.

"Here you go," he said. "A Studebaker Hawk - 1961. Ah, a '41 Buick. Straight eight. How about this for a street ride. A Fiat. A Fiat. Hey, here we go, a Willy's Jeepster. Can you imagine what the parade's going to be like? This ain't it."

Palmer and his wife, Susan, do about 250 shows a year. His knowledge and ready recognition give him the ability to say something about each vehicle as it passes.

Fact Box

And the winners are:

Named the Top 10 cars at the 28th annual Cruise to the Woods were:

Ken Walsh, Fort Dodge, all-steel 1941 Willy's Coupe.

David McFarland, Ellston, with a 1969 Dodge Charger, an exact replica of the General Lee of "Dukes of Hazzard" fame. The car comes autographed by actors in the original TV series.

Jan and John Bogikes, Jefferson, 1949 Chrysler Windsor.

Garold Conrad, Perry, 1969 Plymouth GTX.

Rex Raasch, Waukee, 1954 Studebaker.

Chad Ihle, Maple Grove, Minn., 1969 Chevelle.

Rod Marshall, from Nebraska, 2010 Camaro SS.

Paul and Marion Lynch, Humboldt, a chopped and lowered air ride 1978 Ford Super Cab.

Chris Martinex, Altoona, a 1929 Ford Roadster "ratrod."

Doug Town, Atlantic, 1973 Dodge Dart.

Two memorial trophies were awarded.

Bruce Wafful, Clare, for his 1957 Chevy Bel Air, the Abe Vinsant Memorial Trophy. Vinsant was a founding member of the W.C. Cruisers.

Bruce Moorman, Boone, 1964 Ford Falcon, the Junior Molitor Trophy. Molitor, who passed away last December, was honored by his home club, the Eagle Grove Eagles club.

Six pedal cars were designed and painted by local body shops and given away during the award ceremony. the pedal car finished by Todd Hoover of Todd's Body Shop was voted the best. Other shops were Troy Waller Auto Body, Curt Bacon Body Shop, Metal Workz Body Shop, Bowers Brother's Motors and Fort Dodge Ford Body Shop.

The parade he talked about was a convoy of almost 800 cars driving into the fairgrounds after meeting in Stratford and heading north through Lehigh and Dolliver Park. Kenyon Hinrichs, of Duncombe, led that parade, which pulled in two abreast as it entered the grounds.

Earlier, about 100 cars cruised into town about 9:30 a.m. Sunday from the north, with some of the cars starting as far north as Minnesota.

Tracey and John Gord, of Dakota City, along with their son, Tyler, and Lindsey Curry, of Humboldt, drove the Gord's four vehicles to the show. Tracey Gord drove a '73 Maverick. John Gord brought in a 1948 Plymouth coupe. Tyler Gord drove a 1970 Caprice, and Curry drove the 2004 Mustang convertible. It didn't matter how nice the fall morning was, she drove with the top up.

It's like going to a huge reunion with up to a thousand of your closest friends.

"Hey, lookit here," Palmer called over the loud speaker. "Lady driver. He holds the dog; she drives the car. Sounds OK to me."

Not everyone sat at the fairgrounds entrance early on to watch the parade - some polished their vehicles to show them off to the best potential.

Jayden DeBoer, 8, polished the wheels and license plate of his father's bright yellow 1929 Ford Model A sedan. An uncharacteristic color, to be sure, but the restoration left no doubt about the beauty of the car.

Larry DeBoer, of Sibley, has had the Model A for 25 years - since he was in eighth grade - but he never did anything about restoring the nearly dead car until last summer.

"I did all the body work myself," DeBoer said. "I went to school for body work." But his 12 years racing stock cars "was a good thing because it helped me learn a lot about fabricating stuff."

Just then Palmer filled a lull by asking the crowd, "Do you ever find yourself looking at yourself in windows?" DeBoer laughed and admitted, "All the time, especially at the bank because they're tinted."

Ten members - or pairs of members - of the W.C. Cruisers, the club that sponsors the annual car show, chose 10 vehicles to be included in the Top 10 and to receive an award for such.

Jan and John Bogikes, of Jefferzson, made the cut with their 1949 Chrysler. It was the first time in Iowa, Jan Bogikes said as she sat in the front seat talking to her friend, Rosalie Severson. She said the couple lives in California as a main residence and have won some shows there.

Rex Raasch, of Waukee, stood next to his 1954 Studebaker Commander talking to Don and Dawn Zollars, of St. James, Minn.

"I've been best of show three times and best of class in a couple more," Raasch said. "This year."

It's a special car. A Studebaker. And there aren't many of those around.

That's the beauty of a car show like Cruise to the Woods, said Barb Briggs, of Webster City, half of three founding couples of the show. It's for people who love cars.

"If they love cars, they can join our club," she said. "We've become such good friends."

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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