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Gotta love the classics

The Hicks family of Sparks has 3 generations represented Thursday in Minden Park next to Chad Hicks' grandfather's 1948 Plymouth that was purchased new in Los Angeles.
Brad Coman |

Everywhere residents looked on Esmeralda Street and around Minden Park classic cars lined the pavement Thursday for the Hot August Nights Poker Run. Trucks and cars of all shape, color, and model including Plymouths, Mustangs and Chevelles could be found.

“You gotta love the classics,” said D.J. Bill McClain. McClain might have been referring to the classic music he was playing as cars rolled into the park, but it applied to the cars, as well.

Valley Cruisers’ Laurie Hennessy counted more than 169 visitors by noon, which means there were at least that many cars.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Hennessy. “We get to talk to the people as they check in and find out what they’re driving and where they’re from.”

Hennessy said people come from all over the country and enjoy coming to the Minden stop.

“Everyone always compliments us,” she said. “They say this is their favorite stop.”

The Hicks family from Sparks agreed with that statement.

They said they have been participating in the Poker Run for at least 25 years, and enjoy the beauty of Minden Park.

“We raised our kids in this,” said Anita Hicks. “It’s one of the highlights of the year for us.”

The Hicks own a 1948 Plymouth that has been in the family for four generations. They said it’s the family wagon, and has only been restored once since Chad Hick’s grandfather owned it.

The Hot August Nights and Poker Run brings people together, not just from different parts of the country but families, too.

Like the Hicks who have made it one of their favorite times together and Ugene Preheim and his nephew Trevor.

Preheim is from Saint Helens, Ore., and has been showing off his white 1964 Chevelle since 2002.

“It’s nice to come out and meet people,” said Preheim. “There’s a mutual understanding of everyone and their cars and it kind of opens up conversation. It’s a great social event.”

He said his goal of participating this year was to give his nephew something to look forward to and to introduce a new interest.

“I don’t see a lot of the younger kids participating and I would really like to,” he said. “It’s a good avenue to direct them in the right direction so they don’t get into trouble. It gives them an interest in something. It has for my nephew.”

Classic cars, coming together, meeting new people and sharing stories is what the Hot August Nights Poker Run was all about this year.

Russ Mitchell from central California said he enjoys it for the hospitality and commonality of the event.

“I enjoy the cars, the music, and talking to people about their cars and where they came from,” he said. “I love coming to Minden, everyone is always so friendly. It makes you want to stay.”

Minden was just the lunch stop. The Poker run began in Reno at the Summit and the stops included the Atlantis Casino Resort, Audi Reno-Tahoe, and Viginia City, before wrapping up at Champion Chevrolet in Reno. Each stop deals a playing card, and the winning hand takes the prize at the end of the run.

The annual Hot August Nights Grand Finale Parade is schedule to take place in downtown Reno at 10 a.m. today. Staging is at the University of Nevada, Reno, 7-10 a.m.

The event celebrated its 30th year in Reno. This is the eighth straight year the poker run as come to Minden.