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WHEELS OF FORTUNE

Two children admire Len Barker?s 1966 Cobra at car show at Lucky 7 Casino, which raised funds for MDA Labor Day Telethon. ().
Two children admire Len Barker?s 1966 Cobra at car show at Lucky 7 Casino, which raised funds for MDA Labor Day Telethon. ().

SMITH RIVER The Fifth Annual Coast Cares Car Show to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) raised $6,500 as it returned to its roots at the Lucky 7 Casino Saturday.

Organizer Dayle Niemie said the first show was held at the Lucky 7, when the casino was still in a mobile home.

He said some of the entrants from that first show were entered in this years show, and some had been in every show.

They call me, said Niemie. Theyre very supportive. Everyone is just doing their thing to make it work.

He said more than 20 people of all ages, including a mother and son from Yreka, volunteered to help him put the show on.

Niemie said tranny-man Joe Espinoza brought his 1956 Chevrolet Beauville wagon, helped set up the show, then returned to bring down his Harley-Davidson when he realized the show didnt have any motorcycle entries.

Theyre there for the cause, said Niemie of Espinoza and the other volunteers.

The Lucky 7 was the major sponsor this year, but Niemie said 27 other sponsors signed on, and many of the merchants in Brookings-Harbor and Crescent City donated raffle prizes.

Niemie described the raffle prizes as overwhelming, spectacular.

Har-Brook Jewelers donated a $350 diamond pendent to raffle off. Niemie said all he had to do was carry it around and let the sun sparkle off the diamond. He said people bought tickets like crazy.

The 50/50 drawing took in $320, which Niemie said is comparable to the drawings in big shows with 400 to 500 entries.

Entries in the MDA show totaled 50 to 60 entries, though some were not officially entered. That was less than Niemie had hoped for, but he was able to attract some entries from Grants Pass and Roseburg never before seen in the area.

He said competition from the Wings and Wheels show in North Bend might also have drawn off potential entries.

Niemie wasnt complaining, however. He said crowd donations were up. The donations jar had $300 to $400 in it by noon, compared with $100 in other years.

Niemie and his daughter Heather, who both have muscular dystrophy, turned the proceeds over to the MDA Monday at the KTVL television station in Medford during the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. Portions of the car show were taped and shown on the telethon.

Among Niemies loyal supporters was Bob Bright, who brought his 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle from Sutherlin.

Niemie said he met Bright about 10 years ago, and has since done a couple of shows for him to benefit the Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility. Bright, in turn, helps with the MDA show.

Other Niemie supporters since the first show included Duane Haban and his son, Jason, from Crescent City.

Duane displayed a vivid orange-red 1934 Chevrolet Coupe, while his son brought a blue 1965 Chevrolet Impala.

Haban said he had a lot of fun during the seven years it took him to build the 1934 coupe.

It won a prize at a show in McKinleyville for having the best paint. Because of that, it was featured on a T-shirt for the next years show.

Car buffs recognized several fine entries from Brookings and Crescent City, but they had rarely seen anything like the three hot rods from Grants Pass.

All three Grants Pass entries had engine covers under the hood that were as elaborately painted as the rest of the car.

Joe and Lynda Miller displayed a lowered 1940 Buick Special. The exquisite paint job looked dark blue or maroon, depending on the light angle.

The brown 1949 Cadillac coupe owned by Ray and Nanci Urias sat even lower.

The crowd favorite might have been the 1937 Ford Cabriolet owned by Karen and Don Blacksmith. The paint consisted of a whole spectrum of whites, grays and tans.

Niemie thought it might win best of show, but that honor went to the 1955 Chevrolet pickup displayed by Steve Salisbury of Brookings. The Ford Cabriolet won the MDA Choice Award.

The shows participants judged each others entries. Niemie said the voting was close because there werent many cars in each class and one or two votes meant a lot.

The award for club participation went to the Curry County Cruisers. The award for longest distance went to Bob Jimenez, who came from Willits, Calif., to display his 1948 Plymouth coupe.

The Lucky 7 Choice Award went to the 1934 Ford coupe entered by Frank and Julie Corzine of Brookings.

Niemies sister Debbie died of a heart attack on July 5. He said she had been his arms and legs at the car show for years.

The memorial trophy named in her honor went to the 1939 Ford coupe entered by Troy Bishop of Klamath, Calif.

If perfect weather, great cars and a chance to donate to a worthy cause werent enough to put smiles on peoples faces, the Renegade Line Dancers from Crescent City also performed to classic tunes played by KURY radio.

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