by: PHIL HAWKINS - Hundreds of cars lined up at the Woodburn Dragstrip Saturday, breaking two records for the most Mustangs and most Fords in a parade on the Mustangs 50th anniversary.Mustang enthusiasts could not have asked for better conditions Saturday when more than 900 vehicles descended on the Woodburn Dragstrip to help break the world record for most Fords and most Mustangs in a parade.

The event was organized by Mount Hood Mustangs and Fords, a 17-year-old club based in Gresham, and was scheduled to take place rain or shine. After nearly 18 months of planning, organizers were ready to go forward with the event regardless of what Oregon’s temperamental spring weather threw at them.

Fortunately, participants were greeted with blue skies and pleasant temperatures en route to shattering the old records of 620 cars that were set six years ago in Canada.

“It was the same group that qualified for both of those records,” explained Ann Clack, one of six committee members for Mount Hood Mustangs and Fords. “Because they were all Mustangs and since Mustangs are Fords, it qualified for both world records.”

Organizers reached their registration limit of 1,000 vehicles for the parade earlier this month, more than enough cars to shatter the former record. The official number is still untallied by authorities from the Guinness Book of World Records, but Clack estimates that 829 Mustangs were counted and additional 78 Ford models joined the parade, setting the new records at 829 and 907 cars, respectively.

The cars were counted and lined up at the entrance of the Woodburn Dragstrip and drove a nine-mile loop around the countryside west of Woodburn before re-entering the Dragstrip.

Each car was tagged with a number to put on the windshield the day of the event to allow officials from the Guinness Book of World Records to keep track of participants. The car numbers, along with the names, phone numbers and license plates from each participant need to be catalogued before the cars are officially counted.

“We need to put that into our database so we can print it off and send it off to Guinness,” said Clack.

The discrepancy between the unofficial numbers and the 1,000 registered participants can be traced to people who registered and couldn’t make it and folks who entered the parade and completed the course, but did not re-enter the Woodburn Dragstrip grounds, disqualifying them from being a part of the record.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Mustang drivers parade through the streets of West Woodburn, waving to passers-by near the Woodburn Dragstrip, which hosted the world record-breaking event Saturday.“That’s why there’s such a big discrepancy,” Clack said. “People got to the entrance of the Dragstrip and they didn’t want to get back in, they drove on and they didn’t count. Even if they disallow a few here and there, we still should be good.”

Even with those losses, the Woodburn Dragstrip was still filled to capacity. Clack estimated that at least an additional 200 Fords and Mustangs that were too late to register still packed the parking lots at the Dragstrip, adding to the festive atmosphere.

The event committee put in thousands of hours over the past year for the event to come to fruition, not counting dozens of volunteers from Oregon Impact who helped the day of the event. Oregon Impact is a local nonprofit that provides educational experiences to end impaired and distracted driving, with emphasis on teen drivers.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit Oregon Impact.

“We’ve teamed up with them for over 10 years,” said Clack. “We were very happy to have all of our net proceeds to go to them for this event.”

Clack mentioned a variety of friends, neighbors and additional volunteers who came out to help make things run as smoothly as possible Saturday.

“It was something that was way beyond the volunteer ability of our own club,” she said. “It would not have happened without all that help.”

Leading up to the event, organizers were unsure if they would have enough cars to break the record. After the first registration cut-off in October, only 235 cars were registered. That number was up to 508 cars in early March before registrations exploded in the final month to reach the 1,000-car capacity.

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