Cruise to the Woods returns for its 40th show

Classic cars converge on Lizard Creek this weekend

-Messenger file photo
Randy Brodersen, of Spirit Lake, waxes his 1928 Fort Aswind street rod during the 2022 Cruise to the Woods at Lizard Creek Ranch.

When Cruise to the Woods debuted 40 years ago this fall, it included just a small band of friends from Webster City who thought it would be fun to get in their classic cars, cruise the Iowa countryside in the autumn and spend a leisurely afternoon at Briggs Woods Park in Hamilton County.

The event grew each year, and attracted about 1,300 vehicles last year.

It returns this weekend, with some 1,400-plus vintage vehicles expected to turn out for the 40th annual Cruise to the Woods hosted by the WC Cruisers Car Club, at the Lizard Creek Ranch and Event Center, 1762 Johnson Ave., just north of Fort Dodge on Saturday and Sunday.

The events begin at noon Saturday with a combination scavenger hunt/poker run/garage tour.

A dance will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lizard Creek Ranch with music by Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Admission is $10 per person.

The actual cruise will be on Sunday, with cars passing through Dolliver Memorial State Park at about 11 a.m. and arriving at Lizard Creek Ranch at about 11:30 a.m.

Spectator parking will cost $10 per vehicle at Lizard Creek Ranch.

Mike and Barb Briggs, founding members of the WC Cruisers, were there for the very first cruise and haven’t missed one yet.

“It was cold and rainy,” Barb Briggs recalled. “We sent the kids out to find wood to burn in the fire pit to keep us warm.”

That first cruise started at Humboldt, traveled south through Dolliver Memorial State Park, and then east to Briggs Woods Park in Hamilton County.

“The second year we added the route from Ankeny and we had about 150 cars,” Briggs said. “The next year we doubled that, and we started adding more routes. After we got to about 600 cars there just wasn’t room at Briggs Woods anymore.”

Other show sites over the years have included the Dayton Golf and Country Club, John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, Sunkissed Meadows, the Webster County Fairgrounds, Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex, and even one year when the show had to be moved to the Crossroads Mall parking lot due to rain at the show site

This year there will be 10 routes beginning from various points in Iowa and Minnesota. They will each converge on Stratford to form one tremendous parade of vintage cars that will then proceed north through Dolliver Memorial State Park and out to Lizard Creek.

While the final destination has moved several times over the years, Stratford as a convergence point and Dolliver Memorial State Park as a drive-through have remained constant favorites, according to Briggs.

“Stratford and Dolliver are really important parts of the show,” said Briggs. “About half the cars go on the cruise.”

The other half choose their own independent routes to reach the show site.

“We will have cars coming in to Lizard Creek starting at 8 a.m. Sunday, and it’s just cars coming in constantly after that,” she said.


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