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Crook County Rodders will host their annual car show this Saturday at the local fairgrounds

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Cruise to the Center of Oregon car show, hosted annually by the Crook County Rodders, brings in a large collection of hotrods and other showcars to the Crook County Fairgrounds. The next show is scheduled for Saturday.

From rat rods to hot rods and everything in between, you'll be able to see them all during the 13th Annual Cruise to the Center of Oregon this Saturday in Prineville.

Members of the Crook County Rodders host the car show and invite the community to the event, which also includes raffles, vendors and kids activities.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 21 at the Crook County Fairgrounds, and the show runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free, but a donation of canned food for the Elks Christmas baskets is welcome.

"Our count last year was 240, and every year it has gone up somewhat," Crook County Rodders President Tom Tomlinson said of the number of vehicles at the show.

He expects around 200 rigs this year and a vast variety.

"Everything from rat rods to hot rods to $100,000 customs, both trucks and cars, foreign cars," Tomlinson noted. "We don't have a year limitation, so if somebody's got a 2017 whatever, he's welcome, too."

They expect to have car enthusiasts come from the Oregon Coast, Washington, Idaho and California as well as Central Oregon. Most of their 45-plus members will also showcase their vehicles.

While the Rodders prefer that car owners register for the show ahead of time, they will take entries the morning of the event. Registration is $25.

A panel of five judges will choose the winners of the 20-plus classes, such as street rod, custom, trucks, stock, customized, modified and rat rods. Winners will get custom-made trophies. The Best of Show and People's Choice award winners will each receive larger trophies.

But the show doesn't only feature vehicles.

The opening ceremony will include members of the local Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

Prineville Kiwanis Club members will serve a pancake breakfast, and other vendors will offer burgers and barbecue throughout the day.

Several craft and merchandise booths will also be at the show, selling everything from essential oils and soaps to candles and crafts.

"Most of the vendors that come to our show are from Prineville, so they would be supporting them," Tomlinson said of visitors.

There will be activities for the kids, too.

"We have the kids train that's from Crooked River Lions Club. They come every year," Tomlinson said. "Home Depot sets up their Kids Workshop, where the kids make items like birdhouses and airplanes."

The Ochoco Valley Model Railroad building will be open on the north end of the fairgrounds for visitors to explore. The Humane Society of the Ochocos and the Crook County Search and Rescue will have booths. The Early Day Gas Engines and Tractor Association Branch 248 will set up a display of old tractors and stationary engines.

Then there's the Prineville Elks Lodge raffle.

"All the proceeds from the raffle go to the Elks, and they use it for the Christmas basket program," Tomlinson said.

Raffle items include automotive-type items, gift baskets, crafts, and gift certificates to restaurants and auto parts stores.

Tomlinson said the Cruise to the Center of Oregon event enables the Rodders to give back to the community.

"The money we make from the show is returned to the community. We donate to the Christmas baskets for the Elks, and one of our big donations throughout the years has been to Stryder," he said of Stryder Doescher, a boy with multiple medical conditions.

Visitors can buy raffle tickets while at the show for a 1999 Subaru Legacy, with tickets costing $10 apiece or $25 for three. All of the proceeds from the raffle will go toward the purchase of a van for the Doescher family provided by Robberson Ford of Prineville.

Tomlinson encourages people to come on out to the show.

"They get to see cars in their own community, they get to contribute to the Elks Christmas basket through the raffle, and support their local vendors," he said. "By supporting our club, they are supporting our efforts to help the community."

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13th Annual Cruise to the Center of Oregon

Date: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21

Place: Crook County Fairgrounds, 1280 S. Main St.

Admission: Canned food

Register online: www.CCRodders.com

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