BONNERS FERRY — The Bonners Ferry Rod Benders 19th annual Borders 3 Jamboree drew the usual crowd, as classic cars lined Main Street, spilling out the sides. Gearheads and those who just came to enjoy the classic lines, chrome and custom paint walked around, peering under hoods and talking with friends, old and new.
This was Show Chairman Richard Cowell’s first time taking the lead on this show after the club suffered a devastating blow by losing three founding members in the last year.
“I joined the car club three years ago and this is the first year that I have actually taken on a position. We ended up having three founding club members pass away this year and it was difficult on the club,” explained Cowell. “They were having a hard time finding people who were willing to step in and fill those roles because the three members that died had led the charge since the beginning, so I took it on.”
Since Jan. 1, Cowell and the club worked hard, getting together every week to plan the annual event that draws hundreds of people from Idaho and surrounding states. The hard work paid off, drawing approximately 140 entrants.
“We have a little bit of a low turnout, but that is kind of expected with yesterday’s weather, but the weather today is fantastic,” explained Cowell. “The sun is out and everyone is loving it.”
They also restructured their awards, adding some categories such as Best Tractor and Best Motorcycle.
“We remodified our awards this year and have awards for stock vehicles and modified vehicles from 1948 until now,” said Cowell. “We wanted to add a new unique version to the show, and not just have cars, but make it more open to everyone and everything.”
The show took people back in time, with JoJo Baker keeping the participants and spectators immersed in oldies that poured out of the speakers. When not admiring the cars, children took part in old fashioned games, such as limbo and hula hoop contests.
At 1 p.m., the judging drew to a close and the votes were tallied.
“The way the car club works is that the club members cars do not get judged. We also do not do any of the judging ourselves,” explained Cowell. “This show is completely judged by the participants. So if you bring your car down to the show, you are the one doing the judging.”
In the end, a long list of awards were given out, first to walk up people, then to a procession of fine cars, straight out of history. Among the many winners were a standout rat rod, created from a 1973 Kenworth, owned by Eric Roose from Sandpoint.
John and Debbie Drake drew admiration and chuckles with their 1951 John Deere manure spreader, complete with a two person commode in the back. They won the voters’ hearts, taking first place in Best Tractor.
Tad and Sue Leach from Coeur d’Alene took Best in Show with their 1958 Lincoln Continental, a brilliant blue classic.
The car show wound down, and people came back to present time, but there was a buzz — people talking about the 20th annual show coming in 2019.