Vintage cars shown at mountain cruise

The car cruise has been a showcase for vintage automobiles in Wallowa County for 18 years.

The 18th Annual Oregon Mountain Cruise, June 9-11, promises to be another dazzling display of vintage vehicles set against the picturesque backdrop of the Wallowa Mountains.

The event has become so popular that participation is officially limited to 200 cars, due to limited parking space. The largest cruise was in 1999 when 350 cars made their way to Joseph's main street.

The event started out with 28 Hudsons and has grown over the years as one of the top intimate car shows in the Northwest.

A large cross section of vehicles from antique to full-blown modified will be on display to entice every level of auto enthusiast.

Trophies are awarded to the top 15 entries at the event. The rigs are all spotless and shined to a high gloss, and can be seen to best advantage in the Show N' Shine event, during which the entrants line up their cars on both sides of Main St. for the majority of the day on Saturday, June 10, for judging and admiration.

One of the favorite parts of the event for spectators is trying to decide which of the spectacular vehicles will get their vote for the People's Choice award. Next to the King of the Mountain trophy voted on by participants, the People's Choice award is probably the most coveted honor of the show.

Weather has been a friend to Oregon Mountain Cruise participants for the majority of its 17 years, except for 1994.

The cruisers were getting ready to wrap up the Saturday afternoon activities that year when a huge thundercloud rolled in, unleashing a torrent. Lightning struck a power pole next to City Hall and rain partially flooded Main Street. "You've never seen so many people scrambling to put up the tops on some of their cars," said event coordinator Chuck Garrett said.

The storm also knocked out power at the civic center where the cruise dinner is held. In true pioneer spirit, cruisers had dinner by candlelight.

The adult public is invited to join Mountain Cruise participants for a dance at the Joseph Community Center on Friday night. Sponsored by the Joseph Chamber of Commerce, the dance will again feature 1950s and 60s rock 'n' roll.

Pre-registration is required for this event. For more information about Oregon Mountain Cruise, call 541-432-2215.

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