Taking in Saskatchewan’s biggest car show

Some car buffs from southern Saskatchewan make the trip each August to Saskatoon for the Rock 102 Show and Shine weekend — Saskatchewan’s largest car show, with more than 1,000 antique, classic and special interest cars, truck and motorcycles on display in downtown Saskatoon.

This year’s event, held Sunday, Aug. 19, attracted a crowd estimated at 30,000 to 40,000 — on a day the Riders were playing at home against the Calgary Stampeders.

The weather was perfect: it was sunny and the temperature was 23 C.

Blair and Laura Mowchenko made the trip to Saskatoon from Estevan, to put their 1969 Triumph Spitfire on display.

“There are lots of people here, it’s very interesting, you meet a lot of car buffs and a lot of other people, too,” says Blair.

Their son, Mick Mowchenko of Regina, also travelled to Saskatoon. He’s been a spectator at the Rock 102 Show and Shine weekend in the past — but this was the first time he was showing off his car, a 1976 Mini.

“With Rock the River rock festival and all the food vendors, it’s a big event, and it runs the entire weekend,” Mick says.

He recommends car buffs in Regina make the drive to take in Saskatchewan’s largest car show when it rolls around next August.

I remember putting my 1973 Pontiac Ventura on display at this show several years ago. I’ve never participated in a car show with so many other vehicles — or so many spectators.

This year I was a spectator, and as I strolled up and down First, Second and Third Avenues, and along 21st and 22nd Streets, I noticed there were plenty of cars from Alberta and Manitoba, as well as Saskatchewan. I also bumped into some other Regina residents who I often see at car shows in Regina.

And then there were the cars.

There were cars with rumbleseats from the 1930s; finned cars from the 1950s (Cadillacs, Chevrolets, and Thunderbirds); red Corvettes from the 1950s to today; muscle cars from the 1960s (Pontiac GTOs and Plymouth Road Runners); economy cars (Falcons, Ramblers, Studebakers); Canadian-only cars (Beaumonts, Meteors, Monarchs); international cars (Jaguars, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagens) and rarities (an East German-made Trabant, with a 27-horsepower, 0.6-litre engine, and a 1989 Nissan Pao).

Darren Beasley of Regina has been to about 25 of the 30 or so of these annual shows.

He was one of a group from Regina in the Saskatchewan Ford Mercury Club who made the trip to Saskatoon. Beasley was showing off his bright yellow 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351.

As we chatted next to a row of Mustangs on Second Ave., he remembered back to when it was a Friday night event at an A&W on 8th Street.

“But in August, by about eight o’clock in the evening, it starts getting dark, so they moved it to Sunday afternoon,” Beasley recalls.

It was also extended to make it a full weekend event, which also includes a classic rock festival at the Delta Bessborough Gardens (this year including Nazareth, Nick Gilder, Lee Aaron and Little River Band) and racing at Saskatchewan International Raceway and the Wyant Group Raceway — all part of what’s known as the Rock 102 Show and Shine weekend.

Beasley thinks it’s a good idea to travel to new places to see some different old cars — and this summer he has been going to some car shows that he’s never been to before.

“For example, I travelled to Kenosee to see their car show in July — and it was fantastic. And I’ve been to a few others for the first time. I like seeing different cars. In Regina, after a while, if you go to every car show, you’re going to see every car,” he explains.

Beasley is impressed with the size of the Saskatoon show.

“I was in Edmonton earlier this month for Rock’n August in St. Albert. They have about the same size crowd here — and with the bigger population there, it’s pretty darn good if we can get about as many people out to a car show here in Saskatchewan. So I think this show is a testament to Saskatoon and the province.”

Dale Edward Johnson is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.

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