Hot sun, hot wheels

Jul. 20—OTHELLO — Hot rods, tricked-out pickups, rare classics — if it had wheels, it was at the All City Classics car show in Othello this weekend.

The event started with a slow drag race down Main Street on Friday afternoon. The winners were announced at 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a poker run. In the meantime, 101 vehicles of all eras and types gleamed in the 90-plus-degree sun at Kiwanis Park, while their owners sought shade under canopies and visitors oohed and aahed over their machines. As at any car show, every vehicle had a story behind it.

Gene Ketzenberg of Ellensburg brought a retired Washington State Patrol cruiser, a 1962 Ford Galaxie, lovingly restored and fitted out with all the proper police paraphernalia.

"When that car was in service it went from Bellingham to the Canadian Border when I-5 was U.S. (Highway) 99," Ketzenberg said.

The car was in bad shape when he got it, he said.

"The gal that had it bought it at a state patrol auction and she blew the motor up in 1980, the same day Mount St. Helens blew up," Ketzenberg said. "She wanted it hauled to the wrecking yard, and I went down with my tow truck, and I said 'I'm gonna take that car and restore it.' I talked to the Washington State Troopers Association and they helped me restore it. Got me the lights and the sirens and the shotgun, the handcuffs and the pistol and all that stuff. Took 10 years or so."

Cars weren't the only thing out at the park. There were food vendors, both local and from the Tri-Cities, and the Othello High School Cheer Boosters were out offering cold drinks to the parched crowd. The three cheerleaders staffing the booth had picked out their own favorite vehicle, a gold Monte Carlo lowrider owned by Cornelio and Irene Calderon of Pasco.

The 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Safari wagon shown by Bill and Arlene Robinson was a rarity: only1,296 of them were sold when they came out.

"We got it about five years ago," Arlene Robinson said. "We got it in the fall, like the third week of August, and by the end of the year it was in 50,000 pieces in his shop. He (Bill Robinson) did the whole inside. The outside is the original color, and he redid all the chrome, plus he did everything else inside. Put a new motor in and whatever else you have to do, belts and fans and all that other stuff. Yup, he did an awesome job."

The whole process took two years, she added.

Rick Bushnell came down from Colbert with a '62 Buick Special owned by him and his wife Jan. It's a sleek black convertible with a red interior and a matching stripe down the hood.

"I bought it probably six or eight years ago, sitting in front of an apartment in Spokane," Bushnell said. "The guy wanted four grand. It needed a lot of work. Needed buffed out, needed a top motor, needed a head gasket, so we just kind of brought it back to life. It's a great little running car. Got a little 215 V-8. All original down to the hubcaps. The radio works when it wants, but other than that it's a good little ride."

The T-Bucket on display by J.B. Bell of Warden took a lot of work. The two-seater hot rod had to be built nearly from scratch; its longer body meant the frame, radius rods, steering column and other parts had to be handmade, Bell said. The rear end is from a Jaguar and the engine is a 600-horsepower GM 454 V-8.

"It's just parts and pieces," he said. "A Johnny Cash special — one piece at a time. And then I figured a way to marry everything together. Took 11 years, but I was in no hurry. Just a labor of love."

Joel Martin may be reached via email at

The winners:

Best in show: 1939 orange ford hard-top, Tom and B.J. Carlton, Moses Lake

Ladies' choice: 1957 blue Chevrolet Bel Air, Larry Chmela, Moses Lake

Bicycle: Schwinn Phaeton, Bernie Garza, Othello

1960-1970 car: (1st) 1970 grabber orange Ford Mach 1 Twister, Raz Martinez, Othello; (2nd) 1970 Blue Chevrolet Chevelle, Jason Valentine, Othello

1971-1980 car: (1st) 12971 orange Dodge Challenger, Roger Jennings, Benton City; (2nd) 1971 yellow Dodge Superbee, Craig Klages, Kennewick

1932-1950 car: (1st) 1949 green and gray Chevrolet Coupe, Bob Bridenback, Ellensburg; (2nd) 1950 red Mercury, Ken Rochel, Yakima

1951-1959 truck: (1st) 1957 Chevrolet pickup, color "yuck-mater," Steve Gordon, Moses Lake; (2nd) 1955 red Chevrolet 3100 pickup, Don Haack, Moses Lake

1951-1959 car: (1st) 1955 red Chevrolet Bel Air, Josh Knopp, Moses Lake; (2nd) 1957 turquoise/white Chevrolet Bel Air, Robert Atkins, Auburn

200 and newer: (1st) 2000 white Chevrolet Camaro Yanko, Angel Garza, Othello; (2nd) 2015 red and black Volkswagen MK7, Bob and Linda Swingle, Sedro Woolley

Lowrider: (1st) 1978 gold Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Cornelio and Irene Calderon, Pasco; (2nd) 1964 blue Chevrolet Impala, Bernabe Velasquez, Othello

Special interest: (1st) 1969 Mustang Mach 1, Buzz LeBret, Coulee Dam; (2nd) purple Chevrolet Delray, Scott Wagner, Yakima

Motorcycle: (1st) 2020 black Harley Davidson Tri-Glide, Rick Ramos, Moses Lake; (2nd) 1976 red Honda GL1000, Aaron Dailey, Othello

Foreign: (1st) 2009 white BMW 1M, Alex Silva, Othello; (2nd) 1959 blue Berkeley SE 492, Jeremy and Luke Ross, Othello

Special interest truck: 1995/1964 white Chevrolet Corvette/pickup body, Cecil Aston, Selah