CHESAW — The Hot August Nights car show has grown from eight cars parked across the street from the Chesaw Tavern, to 85 cars in it’s eighth year. Entries came from as far as Moses Lake, the Tri Cities and Vancouver, Washington.
“This was the best show we’ve had, by far,” said event organizer Bonnie Scott, “both the number and quality of vehicles.”
Ed Lehrman took first place in the 1956-1963 category with a 1959 Chevy Impala he’s owned since 1979.
“I totally restored it,” said Lehrman, a 1951 Oroville High School alum who now lives in Omak. “It’s a dream car; it floats along like a cloud. It’s just the way they are built. They claim to have a 9-inch clearance.” Lehrman said he changed motors in the car and had it painted in a farmer’s garage.
“I put quite a bit of work into it, it’s really an attractive car,” said Lehrman, but added that he was surprised to take first place. “Two or three years ago I got ‘Mayor’s Choice’ at a show in Omak with a 1953 Ford. I was dumbfounded. But this one does get a lot of attention.”
Taking first place in the “Best Farm and Commercial Vehicle” category was a 1950 Dodge Wrecker owned by Ward Cromwell, Jr., who appreciated the chance to show the truck.
“Usually you can’t show it because there’s not a class for it,” said Cromwell, who’s father was just the second owner when he bought it in 1975.
“He bought it in Midway (B.C.) and towed it across the border. Dad had Cromwell’s Used Cars and Automotive Repair in Republic, and he used it at the Eagles Race Track towing race cars.”
Cromwell said he bought it from his father 25 years ago, “to keep it in the family.”
“I used it in my car lot, Cromwell’s Used Cars in Republic. Then I retired, and so did the truck. It sat a dozen years in the pasture, and then I decided to restore it. It’s a real working wrecker. Everything works on it. It’s got the original engine, and it’s all mechanical; no hydraulics. Everything works and it functions good, but we don’t want to scratch it up. We’re not in the towing business anymore, so it’s retired too.”
Assisting in the beautification of the wrecker was Cromwell’s daughter, Michele Jess. Grandkids Syndi and Tristen Jess helped with sanding and taping it off to get it ready for the paint job. “Dad would be happy to know his old wrecker is fixed and still running,” said Cromwell. “I’d like to find out who the original owner was. It’s a Dodge Fargo 1-Ton wrecker built in Canada, and I’d like to know the first part of it’s story.”
Cromwell also took first place for a 1940 Plymouth Coupe with a 440 force feed dual wide cross ram intake, in the 1930-1944 class.
“I’ve owned it for 48 years. It was the first car I ever bought,” said Cromwell. “I completely rebuilt it into a street rod. It’s name is ‘Rambunctious.’”
Cromwell said it was originally a “business man’s coupe.”
“There was no back seat, it used to have a shelf and was designed for the traveling salesman,” said Cromwell. “My kids used to ride in it to the drive-in theatre; they would sit in lawn chairs where the back seat is now.”
Cromwell said the coupe he bought for $85 when he was still in high school originally had 100 horsepower, but now had 650 HP.
“It took first place in Street Rod at the Colville Rendevous last weekend,” said Cromwell, adding that it was nice to take home two first-place awards from Chesaw. “It’s a pretty neat little car show here. We brought a couple of RVs and are going to spend a night or two.”
Walt and Vicki Hart of Oroville took second place for late 1950s models with their 1957 T-Bird.
“I bought this car in 2005 when I came back from Iraq,” said Hart. “I ran a food-service operation, the biggest one in Iraq. This was my ‘combat pay.’”
“This is the biggest thing in this community besides the rodeo, and they come here because they like Chesaw,” said Scott. “We’re pretty small, but we put on a better show than other larger areas, and there’s free camping along the creek. It’s a pretty big deal for a community this small to put on a show of this size and quality. The more we do, the more people it takes to run it. But it went smooth, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Scott said this year had more muscle cars and newer cars, and lots of corvettes. “We might have to start a ‘Best Corvette’ category,” said Scott, “and bring back the muscle car awards.”
2017 Hot August Nights Results
Class 100-1928-1932- 105
1st Barry Ballard, Gr. Forks BC, 1931 Chevy Tudor
2nd Lloyd Showalter, 1927 Ford T
3rd Dennis Clarke, Grand Forks BC, 1930 Ford Coupe
Class 200-1933-1942- 200
1st Ward Cromwell, 1940 Plymouth
2nd Larry & Barb, OK Falls, 1936 Dodge Coupe
3rd Chuck Graham, Riverside, 1935 Ford PU
Class 300-1946-1955 304
1st Glenn Taylor, Osoyoos BC, 1951 Merc Pick Up
2nd Dick Sweetman 55 Chevy BelAir
310 3rd Joe Schell, Tonasket, 1948 Diamond T
Class 400-1956-1963 403
1st Ed Lehman, Omak, 1959 Chevy Impala
2nd Walt Hart, Oroville, 1957 T bird
3rd Alan Jones, Omak
1st Andy & Andrea Peterson
2nd Gary Sanne, 1964 Chevy Malibu
3rd Jana Kline, Oroville, 1969 Camero
1st Trevor Peterson, Orovillle, 1979 Dodge Aspin
2nd Lawrence Morgan, Grand Forks, BC, 79 Chevy PU
3rd Able Ballard, Grand Forks, BC 1977 Corvette