Heritage Park Rockathon was Saturday

The count was 44 and growing at the '50s Rockathon Car Show at about 11 a.m. on Saturday at Heritage Park in Gardnerville, with automobile enthusiasts gathering for the second weekend in a row, on the heels of Big Mama's Show & Shine Car Show last weekend.

Forty-five ended up registering at the car show with six "celebrity" judges each choosing their favorite.

"It's just kind of a fun event to bring out the cars at the first of the year and let everybody show off their car," said Mike Rowe, president of Valley Cruisers Car Club which co-sponsored the event with the Town of Gardnerville. Valley Cruisers puts on a car show twice a year, in May and October.

Judges came from East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts, the Douglas County Commission, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, the Town of Gardnerville and the business community.

"We just have them look at the cars and pick the one they like best," said Rowe.

The car show included a car-related swap meet. Last year there were about a dozen spaces rented, and this year there were about three dozen, according to Rowe.

"We've had a really good turn out for cars and swap spaces, the guys who peddle old iron," said Rowe.

Rowe and his wife Suzy's car, a 1940 Ford stock convertible, was picked for first place by Douglas County Commissioner Doug Johnson. Prior to winning, Rowe said he has owned the large Navy blue car with red interior for six years. To be called "stock" it has to have the original engine and parts. The convertible won two years ago at Hot August Nights in Reno.

Rowe has owned vintage cars since the age of 12 and his current project is a 1936 Ford Roadster he has been working on for four years.

Other first-place winners were: Nate Cerniglia with a 68 1/2 California Special Mustang, awarded by East Fork Fire and Paramedics; Jack and Sonya DeHart's 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX was picked for first place by both the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Town of Gardnerville; Ken Harper's 1929 Ford was chosen for first place by area businesses; and Sonny Kinser's 1940 Ford two-door sedan won a first place from the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority.

Gardnerville Town Board Vice Chairman Randy Slater judged this year for the second time.

"This one's kind of easy. You just go through and pick out the nicest vehicle," he said. "It's hard on me because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. They've all got something to be proud of."

Lee Bourne of Gardnerville has been showing cars for years before he purchased his 1954 Chevy Model 210, with 62,000 original miles.

"It was repainted 20 years ago but that's all that's been done to it," said Bourne. "The guy I bought it from had it for 30 years and put 500 miles on it. It won second place in the 'stock' class in Bishop last year."


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