Show and shine draws all kinds of automobile enthusiasts despite weather

Though there were perhaps not as many entries as the Mile 0 Cruisers car club was expecting for the show and shine, there was still an impressive showing of automobiles of all makes, models and years. Light showers continued on that afternoon, but the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of those who gathered to showcase their labours of love, to revel in stories of glories past or adventures on the open road, or just to marvel in the beauty and power of automobile.

Neither heavy rains nor the resulting road closures in some parts of the region could stop Don McClure of Quesnel from attending the show for the third year – he said he was prepared to go the long way around through Alberta to get to Dawson Creek if Highway 97 hadn't reopened. For him, it was a chance to swap stories with fellow enthusiasts and share his passion – a 1962 Ford Thunderbird he has owned for 45 years.

"It was a luxury car back in its day," said McClure. "It's a nice car to drive, and I've never wanted another car."

He said that is with the exception of his show car, a 1957 Thunderbird, that he would have brought to the show if not for the fact it is a convertible.

His "newer" model is still an immaculate car, painted in a very eye-catching blue and with the long body and interesting contours that distinguished that era of 'T-Bird.' Besides the exterior paint and the interior upholstery, he said everything is original on the car, including its 390 long-block engine.

McClure said he will continue to drive that car "until they take my driver's licence!"

Beau Friesen, 13, of Dawson Creek doesn't even have a licence yet, but that doesn't mean he can't enjoy racing and showing his Junior Dragster, a smaller-scale version of the larger class of racecars. Friesen said his dad bought him the vehicle and he has been racing it for the last three years in Fort St. John, Fairview, Alta., and later this month, at the Mission Raceway Park in the Lower Mainland.

He said he really loves the sport, especially the feeling of coming off the line, and though he can get up to speeds of 60 miles (97 kilometres) an hour, he is not afraid of the speed. Junior dragsters usually compete on a 1/8 mile track, and he said his best time in that distance is 10.26 seconds.

One participant who is no stranger to show and shines is Bob Canton, who was taking part as an events coordinator for the So-Cal Speed Shop Store in Spruce Grove, Alta., the only such store in Canada. Canton said he was very impressed with the quality and diversity of vehicles being displayed on Sunday.

"I've been in the car show business since 1957, and I can tell you that for our first trip up here to Dawson Creek, I'm somewhat overwhelmed by the response here today, even with the inclement weather," he said. "It's quite impressive, the amount of cars, and the amount of enthusiasm local people have regarding automobiles."

Canton said car culture has really taken off in the last few decade, which propelled So-Cal Speed Shop to evolve from a shop specializing in hot rod modifications to a retail shop for after-market parts for types of automobiles.

"Unlike 30 years ago when it was a few muscle cars and a few hotrods, now it is in vogue to have a collectible automobile, be it an antique, custom car, muscle car or hot rod," he said. "It's become a very big business now."

He said he believes Dawson Creek's show and shine "can only get bigger and better," but he suggested in order to grow the event the local car club should get local merchants involved. He said not only would that be great for local businesses but it would make the show attractive to family members who might not be into the car culture as much as their loved ones.

"Everybody loves a deal," said Canton. "I think Dawson Creek is ready to go to the next step now and get involved with the local merchants and turn them out."