Cruising Pacific Highway: Annual Rod Run marked apex of Peninsula summer fun

Wonderful sunny afternoons at the beach greeted Rod Run participants last Friday and Saturday as thousands of classic car and hot rod fans packed the Peninsula to overflowing in the 19th edition of this summer-closing event. In recognition of last September's tragic events, American flags were a prominent motif at the festival field on Sandridge Road. KEVIN HEIMBIGNER photo

OCEAN PARK - With the rev of engines and puffs of exhaust, a myriad of classic cars and hot rods cruised onto the Long Beach Peninsula for the 19th annual Rod Run to the End of the World last weekend.

Over 1,100 cars made the trip to Ocean Park for the yearly three-day show, which is one of the largest in the state. The Rod Run featured cars as new as 1973 Camaros, to vehicles from as far back as the 1920s.

"They were super nice cars," said Dick Perry, co-chairman of the Rod Run and member of the Beach Barons classic car club, which hosts the annual event. "Each year it gets more exciting."

While walking through the masses of "tricked out" autos last weekend, it was easy to find owners relaxing behind their vehicles, taking in the admirers while sunning themselves with the reflections off their chrome.

"Did you see the shine on that one? Whoo!" said Jay Williams of Hoquiam.

While the main event took place in Ocean Park, you could find hot rod action all the way to Seaview throughout the weekend. Cars from the show, as well as many that just showed up to show off, cruised up and down the Pacific Highway to the delight of spectators that lined the several miles of asphalt. Holding signs saying, "Awesome ride!" "Got muscle?" and "Burn it up, please," many of them got what they wanted.

A new highlight for the Rod Run this year was that of a television crew filming the event for an upcoming TV program. "My Classic Car," a program that airs on the Speed channel (local channel 75), will be airing the show sometime early next year, says Bob Semback of the Beach Barons. "They were very personable," says Semback, "I believe everybody will be real pleased." The show, which is based out of Evansville, Ind., only films four car shows in the western United States each year, a first for the Rod Run. "The only other one I know of this year was the Hot August Nights in Reno," says Dick Perry.

Though this year's Rod Run just ended, the Beach Barons are already looking ahead to next year's show, which will be their 20th.

"We have big plans in the works, but I can't comment on them yet," says Perry slyly.

So for another year the Rod Run to the End of the World closes out the summer season on the Washington coast. But not to fear, the rods and rides will be cruising up and down the main drag again come next year.

Top Winners

Beach Barons Pick:  Del and Linda Divers  1948 GMC pickup

Participant's Choice:  Dave and Sandra Forman  1956 Ford F-100 pickup

People's Choice:  Wayne Upchurch  1940 Nash convertible

(Complete list next week)  

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