By Karl Klooster • Staff Writer • 

Car show delights enthusiasts

The founder and longtime owner of the company long known as Western Oregon Waste and now known as Recology, threw his support behind worthy efforts that benefited the community. Without doubt, he would have been very proud of the car show that bears his name.

This year, the show attracted 107 entrants, eclipsing last year's previous high of 92. And by the looks of the crowd, more car enthusiasts than ever eagerly ogled the impressively large assemblage of cool, classic and custom combustion-driven machines.

St. James Church and School generously donated use of its sizable parking lot for the event. Some 20 Knights of Columbus members volunteered to run the show, handling registration, judging and award presentations all three.

They also operated a makeshift food stand that did a brisk business selling hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on site. Cheeseburgers proved the biggest hit over the course of the the five-hour show.

Awards for the show have, themselves, been customized to reflect the cruising era theme.

They include Gone in 60 Seconds, Best American Graffiti, Most Unique, Most Likely to be Pulled Over, Coolest Cruiser and Under Construction. Knights of Columbus judges decide which vehicles get the nod for those.

The Ezra Koch, Waldo Farnham and Ralph Wortman trophies honor prominent local personalities. The winners of those honors are chosen by family members and representatives.

The Knights of Columbus, Konect Aviation and Tie Rods Club sponsor a set of Back to the Future awards as well. The event also features People's Choice and Children's Choice awards.

This year's People's Choice award went to a tricked-out 1970 Volkswagen Westphalia camper bus. It was purchased new by Ray Horowitz of McMinnville, and has logged more than a million miles on three engines.

The kids selected Stan Stebner's cherry 1972 Chevy Chevelle.

Coolest Cruiser honors went to an all-original 1954 Packard Caribbean convertible with only 76,000 miles on the odometer. This rare gem is owned by collectors Wade and Patsy Miller of McMinnville.

Ezra Koch's son, David, felt an immaculate '57 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door hardtop best represented the show's namesake this year. It's paint job is rich, lustrous and difficult to describe — a yellow, orange, tan, gold blend?

Nothing could have been more appropriate for Gone in 60 Seconds than a 1967 Shelby GT Fastback. And a supercharged 1960 Corvette looked Most Likely to be Pulled Over, although a blow-your-mind Mazda gave it a run for the money.

Judges thought a stunningly sleek 1959 Chevy Impala most deserving of American Graffiti honors. Most Unique went to a 1953 Ford coupe whose amazingly artistic paint job would be worthy of display in a gallery.

The show's first-ever double winner was Mariah Turner, who entered a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. The Dukes of Hazzard style muscle car, still in a state of restoration, won the new Best Under Construction Award.

Turner, a 20-year-old Carlton resident, is doing all of the work, from drive train to body to interior, by herself. For that effort, Waldo Farnham's family singled her car our for the father's namesake award as well.

With the increase in entrants this year, some amazing vehicles got left out. Consider, for example, a lushly lowered 1934 Ford coupe, an elegant black on black 1965 Lincoln Continental suicide 4-door, a 650-horsepower, fire-engine-red 1930 Ford roadster, a ready to rumble 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda and a pristine, 1939 Plymouth 4-door.

That's not to mention several more mid-50s Chevys, an assortment of immaculately maintained muscle cars and some superbly accessorized, straight-from-the-factory models, led by a 2015 Corvette that looks as if it was designed by Pininfarina. Given the presence of such show stoppers, perhaps categories like Hottest Street Rod, Muscular to the Max, Super Stock and Oldie but Goodie might round out the ability to recognize deserving entrants.

That notwithstanding, it seems clear the Ezra Koch Car Show and GutFest overall are on a four-wheel roll.

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