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Vroom, vroom! 11th annual Blackduck Car Show is better than ever

Classic cars are lined up for the 11th annual Blackduck Car Show on Aug. 4. Jennifer Parker | Special to the Pioneer1 / 3
Caden Roseth, 11, from Babbitt, with his family’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air, one of the Best in Show. Jennifer Parker | Special to the Pioneer2 / 3
Sandy and Richard Lien and their 1983 Econoline with customized The Lord of the Rings paint job. Jennifer Parker | Special to the Pioneer 3 / 3

BLACKDUCK—The Blackduck Wayside Rest was a haven of hotrods, hobby cars and historical gems on Saturday, Aug. 4, during the 11th Annual Blackduck Car Show, organized by Brian Larson of Stretch Auto Body.

While Larson doesn't have a horse—or car—in this race, his love of cars has led to the organization and continued growth and excitement for the Blackduck Car Show. Brian's wife, Marsha, and daughter, Lily, help organize the show and say that it isn't a true contest, but more of a casual, just come on over, bring your car, and spend the day with us event. There is no entry fee and this year, 40 cars from 1935 to 1999 were shown by people of all ages.

While there is no official evaluation criteria, a panel of anonymous judges chooses eight cars from among the entries to award "Best in Show" trophies, sponsored by Kevin Beck of Napa Auto, who has been a supporter of the event from Day 1, according to the Larsons. In addition, Northwoods Lumber contributes a large number of door prizes for the entrants that are drawn for throughout the day. A 50/50 raffle on the day was raising money for the Blackduck American Legion Post No. 372 Honor Guard. Music and sound were provided by Richard and Jacob Lien of Digital Jake, who donates time, equipment and talent each year. Representatives of the upcoming Backwoods Bash provided food for the show, and all of the elements combined to make one big community event that has grown each year. A few more cars this year may possibly be due to the cancellation of the Bemidji Car Show, and there is hope that after seeing the easygoing and quality show that is happening in Blackduck, the event will keep growing in 2019 and beyond.

Here's a look at the Best in Show winners:

• 1931 Plymouth Coupe exhibited by Bob and Vicki Zeman.

• 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 exhibited by Mike and Cheryl Townsend of Grand Rapids.

• 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air exhibited by Caden Roseth and Darwin Lossing of Babbitt.

• 1950 Chevrolet Skyline Sedan exhibited by Molly and Brice Vollbrecht of Tenstrike.

• 1967 Pontiac Firebird exhibited by Mike and Linda Arnold of Bemidji.

• 1928 Ford Model A exhibited by Don and Crystal Sauer of Bemidji.

• 1962 Ford Thunderbird exhibited by Jim Sauer of Bemidji.

• 1951 Pontiac Chieftain Sedan exhibited by Kip VeVea.

Crowd pleaser

The incredible custom paint job on Richard Lien's 1983 Ford Econoline van is always a popular exhibit. The van was ordered in 1983 as a fully stripped down cargo van without even windows or seats for the purpose of customizing it from the ground up. Lien, while not having read all of The Lord of the Rings books, was a big fan of the artwork that had been inspired by it. He teamed up with Jeff Paulsen, who had read the books and was also a big fan of the artwork. The custom mural-style paint job is airbrushed is a full wrap paint job all the way around the van, including corners. For 35 years and 100,000 miles that paint job has stood up to time and elements and attracts attention whenever and wherever it appears—drivable art ahead of its time, painted 18 years before the first of the books hit the big screen.

A memory maker

Longtime Blackduck residents were thrilled to see Brice and Molly Vollbrecht's "Best in Show" 1950 Chevy Skyline" sedan in the show. Long since parked, but long ago a staple of Blackduck businesspeople, Milton and Maxine Beck in the 1950s and early 60s. The beautiful cream-colored coupe was fully restored with the Beck's son-in-law, Ken Ferdig, having done the engine and transmission work and Dave Carlson restoring the body.

Misty Frenzel of the Backwoods Bash Committee was on hand to feed the masses on Saturday and invited all the drivers to participate in the Backwoods Bash Parade on Aug. 18.