■ Best of Show, regular: Mark Fenske, 1939 Chrysler Imperia
■ Best of Show, motorcycle: Robert Clayton, 1997 Harley-Davidson Heritage
■ Best Rat Rod and farthest traveled: Walter Estes, Walter Estes, 1951 Chevrolet C.O.E. from Ottumwa, Iowa
■ Best Muscle Car: Kenneth McLaughlin, 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle
■ Best Truck and Young Life Choice: Mike Cousler, 1940 Dodge Powerwagon
■ Best Hot Rod: Mark Timlin, 1932 Ford Vicki
■ Under construction: Gregg Kalbaba, 1932 Chevrolet Truck
■ Best Original: Jim Lee, 1955 Chevrolet Crown Victoria
■ Owner’s Choice and People’s Choice: Bruce Wood, Chevrolet Nova
It was the end of May when Rangely resident Chris Staley received the best gift of his young life: a jet black 2007 Ford Mustang GT with manual transmission and a vortex supercharger given to him by his parents for his graduation. It was only a fortnight later that he was given another great opportunity — the chance not only to show off his new car but to share it with the crowd of people who could appreciate his ride and the kind of autos that came off the assembly line long before it.
Cars of every make and model and every color of the rainbow lined Yampa Avenue on Saturday afternoon during the Bear River Young Life and Colorado Cruisers Car and Motorcycle Show. Spectators got the chance to see a wide variety of vehicular craftsmanship brought in from people all across the country while raising funds throughout the day for Young Life.
Some entrants were part of history, like the Chevy Camaro that served as the pace car for the 1969 Indianapolis 500. Others served as works of art, like a 1954 F-100 pickup airbrushed with a bald eagle on a patriotic red white and blue background. Others were less polished to maintain their vintage charm, such as Craig resident Harry Dunn’s rusty 1953 Willys-Overland pickup, made up to resemble Tow Mater, of Pixar’s “Cars” franchise.
The one common denominator for all these beauties on axle: owners who lovingly restored them and kept them up.
Charlie Epp, of Hayden, brought in his cherry red 1977 Porsche 911 S, a car that’s been in his possession since he came across it on eBay seven years ago. After fixing up the engine, headlights and other parts, the value has doubled, but for Epp, it’s a reminder of the similar model he owned 40 years ago.
“I always wanted to get another one, and I was just looking around, put in a bid and won it,” he said. “The one I used to have was actually the slower model, and I’ve gotten this one up to 145" miles per hour.
Epp said he loves being able to drive such a powerful roadster and having the chance to display it at auto shows. This is his third year showing it in Craig.
“I’ve got a lot of friends who bring their cars down here for this, and it’s always a good time,” he said. “People aren’t really partial to German cars, so I don’t get a lot of votes, and a lot of people like the hot rods more, but it’s still fun.”
Bob Everett, of Grand Junction, also found his car on the Internet two years ago.
“I’d wanted a classic car for 40 years, and this came along, and I snatched it up,” he said.
The 1937 Chevy business coupe he had discovered was in need of a complete overhaul after sitting in a barn for decades.
“The body had to come off, they stripped it right down to the bare bones, sandblasted, put it all back together, painted it, put in a new engine, new suspension, a lot more luxury now,” Everett said.
The result of all the work is a green and black jewel that already has won Everett and his wife Best in Show awards at car expos in Fruita and Moab, Utah.
“What’s funny is my wife was born in 1937, so I call them my two 37s, that’s what it says on my license plate,” he said.
The Everetts soon will put their vehicle to the test later this year with cross-country trips to New Orleans and Wisconsin, as well as traveling along Route 66.
“It’s not about comfort or speed, it’s just nostalgia,” he said.
Colorado Cruisers member George Kidder shared this sentiment about the kind of cars parked on Yampa, three of which were his own.
“These are the cars that I grew up with,” he said. “When you open it up and look at the engine, you can understand what makes it what it is. There’s a lot of variety here.”
For someone who’s been a licensed driver for far less years than most other owners at the show, Staley has an appreciation for older models, getting behind the wheel of a 1979 Ford F-250 and a 1950 Lincoln coupe before obtaining his newest possession.
“I’ve been a Mustang fan since I was 10, and to me, a car’s all about body lines and how it handles,” Staley said. “This car’s all motor.”
Staley said his favorite part of participating in a car show is comparing upkeep with collectors who have been in the game much longer than he has.
“I like to see where I can bring my car forward in the future,” he said. “It’s great that people in Craig set all this up and blocked off the street and let us do this.”