COAST CARES. CAR SHOW RAISES $8,850 FOR MDA

September 03, 2002 11:00 pm
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SMITH RIVER – The Sixth Annual Coast Cares Car Show to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) was one of the largest car shows ever held in the area.

About 100 antique and classic cars, hot rods and motorcycles were entered in Saturday's event at Lucky 7 Casino.

The turnout generated $8,850 for the MDA, another area record, said organizer Dayle Niemie.

The quality of the show was on a par with its quantity. On display were such rarities as a 1930 Hupmobile, a 1972 DeTomaso Pantera, a 1958 Triumph T100R racing motorcycle and a brand new 2003 Harley-Davidson 100th anniversary model.

Entrants came from Brookings, Crescent City, the Rogue Valley, Eureka, and even a town in Washington.

For the first time, the show also featured a barbecue and beer-garden.

Niemie, who has fought a lifelong battle against muscular dystrophy, was joined at the show by Larissa Owens, the MDA representative from Medford.

The two appeared on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon in Medford on Monday.

Niemie was also joined at the car show by daughters Heather Niemie from Corvallis and Amy Valdez, a pharmacist from Tigard.

Like her father, Heather is also battling muscular dystrophy. She raced around the show on a new $2,000 scooter, courtesy of the MDA.

Also helping with the show from a power-wheelchair was Bill Hamilton, who Niemie said had arrived at 6:30 a.m. to set up the show.

Niemie said, "I'm here to help everyone with muscular dystrophy. There is a cure out there. We've just got to find it."

He said donations to the MDA produce results like motorized wheelchairs and leg braces, but not everything the MDA does is as visible.

Niemie said research to find the cure costs up to $57 a minute. The MDA also pays for clinics, summer camps and support groups.

Niemie said he visited a camp this summer and was the oldest one of "Jerry's Kids" there.

He also attended a benefit golf tournament in Eugene this summer, put on by Mike Bellotti, head football coach of the University of Oregon Ducks.

There, Niemie got to meet professional golfer Casey Martin, who won a suit to be able to play on the circuit from a motorized scooter.

"That was really special," said Niemie. He said Martin was reaching holes in two strokes that took the best of the rest three.

"That guy can wang a golf ball," he said.

Niemie said the show not only attracted more cars than ever before, but more sponsors. About 37 sponsors stepped up to the plate, and some even donated more cash at the show.

The biggest sponsor was the Lucky 7 Casino, which provided space and security for the event, and paid for all the advertising in newspapers and on radio and television.

"Lucky 7 is my overhead," said Niemie.

Niemie not only uses the event to raise money to fight muscular dystrophy, but to promote the car hobby.

He is an auto mechanic and said he wanted every kind of entry in his show, including "lowriders," four-wheel-drives, motorcycles and even import-tuner cars.

He said he would like to involve more youth in the show and work with the high-schools.

Niemie displayed his 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner muscle car at the show. It boasts a 440 tunnel-ram dual quad engine.

Niemie got the car off the jack stands just in time for the show, burning a bit of rubber off the new tires on the way out of the garage.

Appearing in the ads for the show was the 1932 Ford Pickup hot-rod of Dave and Irene Brooks.

Niemie said the Brooks also collected money and put up flyers for the event. He said they were joined by 20 volunteers at the show.

"It takes people to do this show thing," said Niemie. "We'll keep building on it. I'm not done yet."

The Brooks moved to Brookings in April to escape the heat and crowds of Arizona.

Brooks said he actually didn't know his pickup was going to be in the ad. He said the picture was shot at last year's Sea Cruise.

Brooks' "MDA poster-baby," as Irene calls it, is motivated by a 350-cubic-inch, 355-horsepower Chevrolet V8. Brooks said it is equipped with all the conveniences of a modern car.

"It's a good little highway truck," he said. "The fun of owning it is getting out and enjoying it." Brooks has put 39,000 miles on the truck in four years.

The Brooks weren't the only ones at the show who enjoyed driving their treasures.

David and Audrey Gibson brought their 1947 Lincoln all the way from Stanwood, Wash., near Seattle.

The sign on their dashboard said, "If you see this car on a trailer, call 9-1-1. It's been stolen."

The best of show trophy went to Frank and Julie Corzine for their 1934 Ford Coupe.

Many entrants were not shy about stuffing Chevrolet V8s into just about any kind of vehicle.

Marv Rosencrans of Brookings put his in a 1971 Chevrolet Vega, and would like to buy another V8-modified Vega.

Steve Gumm, of Anchor Lock and Key, put his V8 in a 1984 Mazda RX-7.

The motorcycle crowd was also out in full force this year. The show featured the rare 1958 Triumph T100R 500 owned by Tony Martin of Brookings.

The "R," of course, stands for racing. The bike was built for the sport of hill-climbing, and participated in many such events in the classic era. Niemie said Martin was the first entrant to preregister for the show.

LaVonne Peterson brought her brand new 2003 Harley-Davidson 100th anniversary edition from Brookings.

The bike had stripes on it that, upon closer examination, were actually a cross-hatch pattern. The cross-hatch lines, upon even closer examination, turned out to spell, in minute letters, Harley-Davidson.

Harley owners can't see that name too often, especially Jim Baldwin of Gold Beach.

Baldwin brought a 1990 Harley-Davidson Sportster, with orange flames painted everywhere on it, even in chrome cut-outs on the exhaust pipes.

What was really special, however, was the Harley-Davidson-badged trailer the bike came in. A mural of U.S. Highway 101 at Humbug Mountain adorned every inch of the interior.

The trailer was pulled by a (what else?) 2000 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition pickup, one of the first purchased anywhere in the country, and certainly the first on the South Coast.

Not to be outdone by his toys, Baldwin carried the orange-flames-on-black motif to his shirt, shorts and sunglasses.

Baldwin said these are the sorts of things people can afford when they don't have a wife or kids.

Mike Carson of Brookings, however, sold his Harley and bought a 2000 Victory Sport Cruiser.

He said the Victory motorcycle is made in Iowa by Polaris snowmobiles. It boasts a 1500cc V-twin engine and belt drive.

Carson said he has a friend who works at the Victory factory, so he thought he ought to own one.