WELLS — The 18th annual Wells Fun Run brought 306 beautiful cars and pickups to town last weekend for a three-day celebration of classic cars, oldies music and a chance to relive old memories.
It’s an opportunity to bring back for a few hours the time when every guy was the captain of the football team and every girl was the homecoming queen.
“I’ve never seen so many people packed into downtown Wells. This town comes alive during car show,” local guy Rich Milsap said Monday morning. “The street dance was awesome.”
The Saturday night event brings the whole town downtown. Every local teenager waits the whole year for the Street Dance on Main.
J C Hackett’s Oldies Productions played the 1950s and 1960s rock and roll dance tunes for the three or four generations of dancers on the street.
Linda Wilson of Buhl, Idaho, is a regular “Buhl Bunch” WFR participant. “We have so much fun at this show,” she said. “This is the best car show on Earth. I’ve fallen in love with the organizers, the Michelis, the High Desert Cruisers and Don McDonald.”
Wilson burst into tears when her Competition Yellow 1937 Plymouth Coupe was chosen to be on a 2010 Wells Car Show T-shirt. The gregarious fast-talking Wilson had few words to express her excitement at the awards ceremony microphone.
It was a proper reward for the little yellow car that all WFR car people have come to love. Some years the bright little car wears eye lashes and feminine decals. This year, she demonstrated the car hop theme with a hamburger and a malt on a window tray.
The other 2010 T-shirt car is a pickup. The champagne and metallic burgundy colored paint was just barely dry on Stephanie Labat’s 1952 classic Chevy pickup when she and her husband drove it down from Twin Falls, Idaho, Friday for the show.
“We built it from the ground up ourselves. We worked really hard these past few weeks getting it ready for this show,” Labat said.
“This is our third year at the WFR. We have a blast celebrating a birthday here.”
Norm and Debbie Batt’s metallic gold pearl 1967 Ford Mustang won an award in the show. In addition, Debbie Batt, a nurse at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, won a donated $25 prize.
She opted to donate the money back to the WFR, at the Wells Award Ceremony. McDonald, the Voice of the Wells Car Show Awards, saw an opportunity.
He opened the possibility for car show enthusiasts to double the award money and then double it again until $500 was raised. Debbie Batt will take this donation back to Primary Children’s Hospital.
Among many others, Debbie Batt said her favorite WFR event was the Cheap Sunglasses Party at the 4-Way parking lot. Paula Micheli Otto organized the event.
Shaun and Vicky Andrews and their children, Alec, 10, Tyler, 12, Cassie 12, and William, 15, of Alberta, Canada, have developed an enthusiasm for the Wells car show.
“Last year, we planned a family camping vacation near San Jose, Calif.,” Shaun Andrews said, while his family pointed out the features they liked in a classic 1930 purple Chevy coupe at the park.
“We were driving south on Highway No. 93 when we approached Wells. Some of the children needed a restroom so we stopped at the 4-Way. Hey! There is a car show going on. We found the most awesome car show in this beautiful setting … the big green park filled with pretty cars with the mountain for a backdrop. We camped in Wells for the night and enjoyed the cruise, the burnouts and the street dance.
“For the whole of this last year we have been talking about the Wells car show. We liked it so well that we planned our summer trip to coincide with the show. We are camping and enjoying the nostalgia of what we think a small town in America should be.”
Andrews went on to say that the family researched Wells on the Internet. The car parts business owner said he was impressed by the mom and pop businesses he sees here in town.
“The small towns are gone in Canada. Small businesses are nearly gone. Every big town is full of big box stores and all I can hear is the big sucking sound of money to China,” he said.
All day Saturday and Sunday crowds gathered in the park to ooh and aah at the candy-colored glossy relics of yesteryear.
Families and groups of friends set up cabanas for shade, spread picnic blankets and sipped their favorite beverages from the concessionaires.
“We just happen to be very fortunate to have the ball fields adjacent to the city park. That gives us the perfect venue for hosting a big car show,” McDonald said. “All the green grass along with the Angel Lake mountain back drop creates a perfect setting.”
Every visitor at the car show has a story. Steve and Cindy Trujillo of Grantsville, Utah, brought their orange 1955 Chevy to the show.
“We came with friends last year for the first time. We liked the WFR so much that we plan to be back every summer. The locals treat us so well. We are welcome here and we don’t have to worry about our cars,” they said.
Car show coordinators Chris Micheli and McDonald said they were very pleased with the turnout for the 2009 show.
“Three hundred cars is optimal number for us,” Micheli said. “We can handle that number well and everyone has a good time.”
Local retired business owner Wes Bowlen had the last word. “The Wells car show is as good as it gets. A car show can’t be any better. The fancy cars, the fun and the camaraderie we all enjoy with the car show folks, the Breakfast in the Park, sitting on the street watching the pretty girls cruise by … life just doesn’t get any better.”