An old tradition came back to life Saturday evening in downtown Fort Dodge.
It filled the air with exhaust fumes, the acrid smell of burnt rubber and nostalgia for the days when "scooping the loop" - driving up and down Central Avenue to see and be seen - was a part of the local night life.
Hosted by the WC Cruisers as part of the 30th annual Cruise to the Woods, it drew dozens of cars.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Participants in the 30th annual Cruise to the Woods “Scoop the Loop” event filsl several blocks of Central Avenue with vintage cars, hot rods and pickups Saturday evening.
Dale and Lynne Gentry, of Rockwell City, were cruising in their 1929 Ford Roadster.
"It's the real deal," he said as she tapped the metal door. "There's no plastic here."
They're no strangers to Central Avenue cruising.
"We did this in the '60s," he said. "You bet."
To keep the chill away, they both wore goggles and leather helmets in the open top car.
She was enjoying it too.
"It's like memory lane," she said.
Bill Shimkat stopped his car to get a few pictures of the cruisers as they were going by. He said he spent many a Saturday night on the "drag."
"We did this the whole time I was in high school," he said.
The cars put a big smile on his face.
"It's nice to see people on the drag," he said.
Rich Seltz, of Fort Dodge, watched the stream of cars going up and down the street from the sidewalk.
Sidewalk or car, "when we were in high school this would be the place to be," he said.
Seltz, who graduated in 1977, has one theory about the demise of the practice.
"Gas got too expensive," he said.
Breck Imhoff, of Somers, came to Fort Dodge to watch the cars, much like he used to once upon a time in high school.
He described a typical Saturday night of his youth.
"We'd go catch a movie, eat at McDonald's, then we shagged the drag," he said.
Making sure everyone behaved at the event fell to Joe Chamberlain and Larry Sadler, both of Eagle Grove.
They were driving a replica of a Mayberry Sheriff's Department police car complete with the classic red dome light and wailing siren.
They even carried tickets.
"We've got them," Chamberlain said while proudly holding up a full pad of them.
They are also veterans of many a night of cruising.
"We were mostly chasing girls," he said.
It must have worked.
"We caught two," Sadler said. "They're in the back."
They were indeed. Both wives, Kay Chamberlain and Marilyn Sadler, came along for the ridge.
The 30th annual Cruise to the Woods continues today with the main cruise. The cars leave Stratford at 11 a.m. and head toward the Webster County Fairgrounds going through Dolliver Memorial Park on the way.
Organizers said that up to 1,000 cars can be expected.