Beach Cruise overcomes a thunderous start

Soggy weekend kept Peach City Beach Cruise entrants busy as they did battle with the elements

Dale Purcha rings out a chamois as battled Saturday to keep rain off his 1969 Dodge Coronet

Dale Purcha rings out a chamois as battled Saturday to keep rain off his 1969 Dodge Coronet

Car buff Lindsay Mandryk had just finished dinner Friday night when the skies over Penticton opened up and threatened his baby: a 1932 Ford Highboy roadster hotrod.

He sprinted the few hundred metres from the Lakeside Resort to his car on Lakeshore Drive, only to find it filling up with water.

“We tried to put a cover on it, but the wind was blowing too hard,” Mandryk recounted on Saturday, thanking two young men who jumped in to help them with the cover.

“That act was very typical of Pentictonites and support of the show,” said Mandryk in an email.

Soon after, he and others moved their rides to the resort’s parkade and hoped for the best.

So began the 2012 Peach City Beach Cruise.

Mandryk, who lives in Saanichton, B.C., was one of 725 people who registered a ride in the 12th edition of the event. And he wasn’t put off by stormy start to the event, which only left his open-top car with some wet carpet.

“That’s part of owning a roadster,” he said.

Rain didn’t pose a threat to the fully enclosed interior of Hinton gearhead Dale Purcha’s prized possession, a 1969 Dodge Coronet. It did, however, force him to spend most of Saturday wiping off the car with a chamois while waiting for judges to come around.

“If (water) starts drying up (on the paint), you’re going to end up with a bunch of spots,” Purcha said, “so you’ve got to keep it dried off.”

The Hinton, Alta. resident has owned the Coronet for 10 years and was drawn to the car by its lack of friends.

“You don’t see them every day,” Purcha said. “There was not a whole bunch made and they’re kind of a rare car.”

This year marked the third time he gently loaded the Coronet into a trailer and towed it west for the cruise, a testament to how much he and other gearheads enjoy it.

But Purcha hopes it doesn’t become too much more popular: “It’s getting to the point where they’re running out of room.”

Popularity was the least of organizers’ worries this weekend, with persistent rain and clouds marking the weekend. However, Ron Muzzillo, president of the Beach Cruise, said the weather did little to dampen people’s spirits.

“In spite of the weather, which wasn’t in our favour, we pulled it off,” he said. “People came out regardless, it was amazing. They were undeterred. Even Sunday morning when it was raining, they were sitting out there in Gyro Park with umbrellas for the awards ceremony.”

Muzzillo pointed out that on Saturday, he and another organizer walked the length of the street, warning car owners of possible hail that could damage their cars and advising them to put on their car covers.

“They all said thank you very much and nobody moved,” he said. “I guess they would have pulled them out if they saw some weather coming, but nope. ‘We’re here for the Beach Cruise.’”

Muzzillo thanked all the volunteers, supporters, longtime performers and the City of Penticton for their continued support, as well as Ken Paton, one of the founders of the cruise who passed away last year.

Some of the winners of this year’s show were: Matrin Storos of Camrose, Alta., who won the Mayor’s Choice Motorcycle and People’s Choice Motorcycle for his 2005 U Bilt Pro Street. Larry Siebert of Abbotsford B.C. took the Mayor’s Choice Car with his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, and Ken Jansen of Abbotsford was awarded the People’s Choice Car for his 1968 Plymouth GTX.