JOSEPH — Coronavirus couldn’t get in the way of good times, great weather and grand vehicles, Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, as the Wallowa Mountain Cruise revved engines and went on as rescheduled.
Of the 115 entrants signed up, 84 managed to make it to Wallowa County for the annual car show. Entrants came from Oregon, Idaho and Washington, said Jude Graham, chairwoman of the cruise’s organizational committee. One early registrant would have come from as far away as Texas, but deemed it inadvisable given the COVID-19 pandemic, Graham said.
For the previous 30 years, it had been known as the Oregon Mountain Cruise. This year, with a change of organizers, it became the Wallowa Mountain Cruise, but carries on the same traditions as the former event, organizers said.
“We are very fortunate that 31 years ago Chuck and Pam Garrett plus a list of others started this tradition of a cruise in our wonderful county,” Graham said.
She said there was no way to estimate the crowd size, as people were constantly coming and going, some of whom were in town for other events, such as family reunions.
“It went very well,” Graham said. “Everyone had a great time and were happy, laughing and enjoying our wonderful town of Joseph.”
Cale Moon, a former Enterprise resident, came to the rescue when the Senders, a Moscow, Idaho-based band that has entertained previous cruises, had to cancel at the last moment.
“He interrupted his tour to come here,” Graham said.
Moon played his guitar for the dinner/dance Aug. 28 and during the show ‘n’ shine Aug. 29.
“The crowd loved his singing and entertainment,” Graham said. “He was amazing.”
Originally planned for late June, the pandemic led organizers to put it off until late August. That seems to have worked out well, Graham said, as next year’s cruise will be Aug. 28.
Graham said there is such a large list of people to thank for making the cruise possible, in addition to the Joseph Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event.
“There are so many people to thank, sponsors, donors and our county’s merchants,” she said.
Dennis Huntley’s 1957 Chevy Corvette earned the title of “King of the Mountain,” as overall winner of the judging. As such, Huntley’s ‘Vette will grace the T-shirts and posters for next year’s cruise and be given center stage during the cruise’s “show ‘n’ shine.” Jim and Shannon Percy’s 1934 Ford Tudor sedan, the King of the Mountain at the 2019 cruise, was featured on this year’s posters and T-shirts and had center stage during the show ‘n’ shine.
Other first-place winners in the judging, by category, owner and car, were:
Hot Rod, Donna Williams, 1940 Buick Special.
Modified/Custom, Ron Robbel, 1936 Desoto Airflow.
Modified Custom Truck, Forest Gibson, 1945 Ford F-150.
Classic Restored Car, John Bicker, 1964 Chevy Impala.
Unrestored car/truck, Larry Haggmeister, 1987 Buick Grande National.
Sports Car, Steve Roberts, 1949 Crosley Hot Shot.
Moonshine hauler, Sam Bilyeam, 1936 Pontiac Town Sedan.
4x4, Matt Sirring, 1947 Dodge Power Wagon.
Kids Choice, Joe Graham, 1968 Chevy half-ton.
Ladies Choice, John Scholl, 1965 Ford Mustang.
Peoples Choice, Pat Smaling, 1937 Chevy.