Plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures greeted car enthusiasts and exhibitors at the sixth annual Main Street Show & Shine car show in Enterprise on Aug. 16-17. More than 100 gleaming cars, trucks and hot rods put on quite a display for the hundreds of visitors to the event, that also featured vendors and live music. Vehicles competed for numerous prizes.
Friday, Aug. 16, featured a cruise down to the Imnaha Store and Tavern with the return finding local power trio, Casey Kiser and the Jakewalk Saints, playing to an appreciative audience at Warde Park.
All the vehicles entered into the show deserved commendation for the work the owners put into them, but perhaps none more so than the 1936 Dodge half-ton truck entered by Enterprise residents, David and Debbie Vernam. Painted in rich, bright green and black, with just a hint of metal flake, the truck had plenty of admirers throughout the event. Vernam’s great-grandfather bought the truck new in 1936 with the intention of using it as a ranch truck, a role it faithfully served for decades. Not that it was neglected.
In 1959, the truck got a well-deserved engine rebuild with Vernam helping his father rebuild the engine — but it doesn’t stop there. Six years ago, he kept that tradition alive by again rebuilding the motor, a 201 cubic inch flathead six-cylinder with 67,000 original miles, with his granddaughter — who was 11 at the time. “She’s my number one mechanic,” he said with a smile.
About five years ago, Vernam decided it was time for some TLC for the vehicle.
Other than the fancy paint job, and the oak bed, the truck is very close to original.
“Everything on it is originally the way it came,” he said. “I added blinkers on the headlights, and I built the rear bumper. If you wanted a bumper back then, you had to special order it.” His great-grandfather did order a heater with the truck as it wasn’t standard equipment.
Building the bumper himself is something else pointing to Vernam’s talent.
“Everything on this I did,” he said with pride. Everything but the paint.” Because less than 5,000 of the vehicles were manufactured for the USA, Canadian and European markets, Vernam had his hands full because of the scarcity of parts. He found this out trying to replace a fender smashed in 1949. He eventually found a half rusted-out fender in far-off Pennsylvania; luckily, it was enough.
“The hardest part of this whole project was cutting the fender off the truck and making another one,” he said. “I only had one shot to get it cut off the right spot and get it mated with the other, but we got it done.”
The truck has much of its history documented in photos, something Vernam takes pride in, as it took a lot of work finding the photos, combing though the family’s archives. He even found one of his great grandfather with the truck.
Other than a couple of pieces of trim, the pickup is finished.
“It’s just as original as we could possibly do it,” he said. “How many vehicles do you see that last five generations?”
On Saturday, hundreds came out to show their appreciation of the vehicles and to vote for their favorites. Thirteen food and craft vendors were very busy catering to customers while emcee, Brett Hays, kept the crowd informed.
After the awards ceremony, a number of the car owners participated in a cruise down to Wallowa Valley Senior Living in Enterprise as well as the the Alpine House in Joseph which thrilled residents to no end.
Doug Crow, one of the originators of the festival, called this year’s event one of the best ever, with 130 vehicles entered into the books. Only the inaugural Show and Shine event has had more entrants, at 134. Crow also noted that attendance by people outside the area more than fulfilled his expectations.
The 50/50 raffle proved a boon for everyone involved as a lucky California family on vacation walked away with $820 for their half.
“I told them to make sure and spend as much as they could in Wallowa County,” Crow said with a laugh.
Speaking of local, Crow said that all awards and trophies for the event were crafted by local artisans. Crow also wanted to offer special thanks to Candy Bunn for all her work in putting the event together.
It seems like Dick Stangel and I get all the credit for this,” he said, “but Candy puts in six or seven months a year getting this together. Without her, it would never get off the ground.”
Top three award winners:
Kid’s Choice” 1947 Dodge Power Wagon owned by Matt Sirrine of La Grande.
People’s Choice: 1935 Chevy 3-window coupe owned by Rick and Diana Arnett of Kendrick, Idaho.
Best in Show: A 1940 Willy’s Coupe owned by Larry Soule’ of Roseburg. Soule won the Furthest Traveled Award at 500 miles.