It all started with a car show and a group of guys wondering why they were just sitting around.
"It wasn't really our thing to just sit there and stare at each other," recalls Prineville resident and rat rod builder Sean Barter. "We build our stuff to drive."
Fast-forward several months and that yearning to take their custom-built vehicles on the road has grown into something much larger. The Rusty Nutz Cruz In and Poker Run, which starts and ends in Prineville on Friday, will draw roughly 40 cars from multiple states, feature an opening breakfast and car show finish, and all proceeds will benefit the Prineville Band of Brothers.
"We decided if we are going to have fun and do this, why don't we try to raise some money for a local cause?" said Barter, who is a Navy veteran and admires the work the local organization does for the community.
The Rusty Nutz event will start bright and early with a 7 a.m. breakfast at Barney Prine's restaurant. Around 9 a.m., participants in the event, which costs $35 to enter, will embark on a 200-mile loop that includes stops in Madras, Fossil and Mitchell before returning to Sons of Beer in Prineville Friday evening for a barbecue and car show.
"It will probably be one of the first evening car shows in Central Oregon," said Sons of Beer owner Cody Suing.
According to Suing, each paying participant will receive a T-shirt as well as a five-card poker hand. At each stop, they will receive another card and when they return to Prineville, the people with the highest and lowest hand will split a portion of the proceeds pot. The rest of the money collected will go to the Band of Brothers.
Barter made specific mention of other businesses that have helped sponsor the Rusty Nutz event, including Wagner's Market Fresh IGA, Tightwads Discount Building Supply and Best Western Prineville Inn. Suing likewise highlighted the participation of Ochoco Brewing Company at the evening event as well as Boneyard Beer, Wild Ride Brewing and McKenzie Brewing.
When it comes to Poker Run participation, Barter stressed that the event will take all comers.
"In the hot rodding world, everyone is always judging. Your car has to be this, you have got to be this. You see it a lot, especially in car clubs," he said. "We don't judge or discriminate, and we are not affiliated with anything. We are just a bunch of blue collar guys who build their own cars and we have invited everyone."
Barter went on to point out that anyone, whether they are participating in the drive or not, can purchase a T-shirt at the evening Sons of Beer event. All of the proceeds from the shirt sales will go to the Band of Brothers.