Car show muscles its way into town
Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 08:18 am
An Okotoks man feels a sense of admiration as he runs his polishing cloth along the shiny surface of his ’69 Cougar XR7 convertible.
“North Americans love cars,” said Allan Stanley. “We absolutely love them because cars become such a huge part of freedom.”
Stanley is among hundreds of classic car owners who will display their pride and joy at the Olde Towne Okotoks Show and Shine on Aug. 10. The event will feature more than 500 varieties from across western Canada for this year’s theme Muscle Haven, bringing attendees back to the rock and rollin’ ’60s.
What makes the ’60s such an iconic year is the unique models of that time, said Stanley, an organizer of the event.
“As I drive around now most of the cars look the same,” he said. “In the late ’50s and early ’60s car manufacturers changed the models every year to make it very desirable to buy that new car. They are very unique from year to year.”
The traditional look in those days was long four-door cars, which Stanley refers to as “boats.” What made muscle cars special was they were smaller and had larger engines, he said.
“Mustangs, Cougars, all of those cars were a little bit smaller than your grandfather’s boat at that time,” he said. “A lot of them came with four speeds and they were fun, they were fast. We all put fancy wheels on them.”
Stanley decked out his ’69 Cougar in much the same fashion.
“It’s got oversized tires in the back, the one I rebuilt, and it’s probably too loud,” he said.
People who rebuild classic cars from decades ago are often reliving a part of their youth, said Stanley.
“I owned a Cougar when I was 19 years old,” he said. “That’s what I drove when I met my wife. A lot of people will want a car that they had when they were a young man or the car they wished they could have had as a young man.”
Getting together with people with the same appreciation for classic vehicles, no matter the era, makes the event that much more interesting, said Stanley.
“It’s people sharing their interests and experience and what they want to build and why,” he said. “It’s prestige. Why would someone want to buy a corvette or BMW or Mercedes? Prestige.”
Committee member Keith Gray enjoys strolling along the street, meeting people and looking at the different models.
“It’s more or less a social event,” he said. “Everybody tells you what they’re doing, you get some ideas and they get some ideas about improving cars and doing different things. That’s what it’s all about, just ingenuity and getting ideas.”
The show and shine is also an opportunity to show off the hard work people have put into their cars, Gray said.
“A lot of people have a lot of pride in their vehicles,” he said. “They like keeping them looking good, they like trying different things on them. It’s not your run of the mill car. You are creating something unique.”
Registration for the show and shine begins at 7 a.m. and the show takes place on Elizabeth and McRae Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registrants will be entered in a draw to win a barbecue that looks like a hot rod engine.
Food vendors will line the streets and Okotoks band Blacklight will perform class rock music in the Olde Towne Okotoks Plaza, said Gray.
“Usually we have a pretty good turnout, even if we get rain,” he said. “Last year we figure we had about 12,000 spectators.”
At approximately 11 a.m., Gray hopes to get teams together to participate in an engine-building contest across from the Sears parking lot.
The evening before the show and shine, motorists can take part in a poker run starting at The George Traditional House at 6 p.m. Each person will be given clues to where they can find the next card for their hand in Okotoks and surrounding area, said Gray. Registration costs $5 with prize money up for grabs.
“Basically it’s just a fun run around town to various locations,” he said. “You go around, pick up a card and try to build a good poker hand.”
At dusk, a movie will play on a large screen in The George parking lot in similar ’60s drive-in style. The movie, although not yet determined, will be family friendly.
“People can watch in their cars or bring their lawn chairs and set up and watch the movie,” he said. “We’re trying to create a family event. Just get people enthused about it and give them something to do that’s different from normal.”
Drive-in style food will be served by The George staff during the movie.