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The Paul Bunyan Vintage Auto Club

By P.J. Reynolds (This story is part of the electronic portion of The Depot Express newsletter, Spring 2014, and did not appear in the print edition)

Do you remember your first car? Was it a sports car? Was it a Junker? Was it a lemon? What year was it? Was it vintage? Do you still have it? If you do, and you think it’s vintage you should enter it in the Paul Bunyan Vintage Auto Club show on July 20th this year, in 2014. But you’re probably wondering how the Auto Club first came to be?

Well…It’s the year of 1971. Three guys, Larry Oakes, Roger Tell, and Kermit Anderson started the Auto Club. Their first meeting was in February of 1972 in the old Minnesota Highway Department building. Seventy people attended the first meeting and it grew from there. Today the Paul Bunyan Auto Club has hundreds of members. Every July in the Bemidji High School parking lot they have their vintage car show, which hosts hundreds of old cars either for show or for sale. People come from all around to see the cars their grandparents drove, or the cars they got to drive when they were younger.

The cars in the car show, range anywhere from a 1929 Studebaker, to a 1965 Ford Mustang GT 350 Shelby, and everything in between. There are also new cars too like Lamborghinis, Corvettes, Ferraris, Porsche’s. This year at the 2014 show Dodge is celebrating its 100th year anniversary, while Ford Mustang is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Back in the 70’swhen this car show first began not many cars were shown, but today as the Vintage Car Club grows so does the amount of cars shown in the July. Even if you’re not a car fanatic, come check it out. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the car of your dreams and try to find another car exactly like it, so you can enter it in one of the future vintage car shows. And ladies, even if you don’t like old cars, or know anything about cars other than they get you from A to B, maybe you’ll see one you like too and have your husband buy it for you.

When Larry Oakes, Roger Tell, and Kermit Anderson began the Vintage Auto Club in 1971 they were just guys who loved cars. Vintage for Larry was his 1922 Studebaker, or for Kermit the Model T Ford he had in his shed. But what is vintage to you? It was 43 years ago that this club was started. Look at how far we’ve come in that amount of time. Look at how tech our cars are 43 years later. What will happen in another 43 years do you think? Will we be in flying cars? Or will we not need cars to get around in at all? We’ve come a long way so far in technology, cars, and many other things.

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 in the Bemidji High School parking lot, go see the Vintage Auto Club Car Show. For more information, go to their Facebook page.

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