History lesson

By Gary Ewing, Founder

It all began in June of 1982 while sitting in the parking lot at the Pepper Mill Hotel/Casino at the Reno Run and me sharing a great idea that I had with my very good friend, Wendell Smith.  The thought had occurred to me that there was an opportunity to replace the “Run to the River” car show with a great truck show for the F-100’s, since the Early Times Street Rod Club had decided to end their yearly show. 

I had been a member of Pickups Limited since 1976 and already president of two chapters, one being San Gabriel Valley and the other was Westminster, which I had formed.  I had just brought Wendell into the club and he was a tremendous help to me in forming the newly created chapter.  In order to make Westminster a success we decided that doing an F-100 show was just what we needed.  So after going over my thoughts and ideas with Wendell we started laying out the plans and Wendell’s house at the river became the run headquarters, and we were off and running.

I had another idea, since we were putting the run in Lake Havasu; I contacted my friend Boyd McWilliams who was a member of Arizona F-100’s.  It would be a new venture to have two states, Pickups Limited of So California, Westminster Chapter and F-100’s of Arizona, come together to make this the best run we could collectively put on.

I contacted several locations in Lake Havasu and we settled on the Ramada Inn’s golf course.  The Ramada let us use the 18th fairway for the “Show & Shine” and they were very accommodating by changing the course for that day to have the golfers play the front 9 holes twice.  Wendell contacted his sources for the trophies, the shirts and he organized the committees.  At the same time Boyd was making arrangements with the Arizona group and getting his committees together.  After many meeting at Wendell’s house we had everything started.
I contacted the Mayor for permission to use the city, the police for parade escorts and I had to acquire all the necessary permits from City Hall.  We also needed a host hotel, so I picked the Shakespeare Inn, manager, Paul Rogers, worked to accommodate all of our needs.

We got a big boost when Bradley Ford of Havasu heard of the event and stepped up to be the main sponsor. They helped with donating and getting prizes for our raffle.  The committee also canvassed the city businesses and shops for raffle and posted flyers throughout the city.  We also got help from Relics & Rods, a local car club.

I asked Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to attend the show and to do shirts and memorabilia as well as lead our parade down McCulloch Blvd. to the Ramada Inn; he was shooting videos from his cool side hack.  We also had great press coverage from Steve Stillwell of Truckin’ Magazine and Howard Montgomery.

I was honored when the committee asked me to do the artwork for the flyer which would also become the artwork etched in glass and framed for the awards to be handed out at the banquet.  And the banquet was terrific, but it had to be moved from the Shakespeare Inn to the Elks Lodge to accommodate an overwhelming 480 people for dinner, dance and the award presentations.

So there it was the first F-100 River Run put on by two clubs from two states all for the purpose of bringing together as many Ford F-100 pickups and to encourage more planned truck events for all members, their families and guests.

Attending the 1st River Run were 113 entrants, 37 were members of Pickups Limited of So California and 22 members of Arizona F-100’s.  Of the Pickups Limited members eight are still active members, they are John Blanco, Carlos Flores, Jim Moore, Leonard Ramos, Don Warner, Frank Reyes, Dale Beverly and me, Gary Ewing.
I want to personally thank all of the members of Pickups Limited, Orange County chapter for being the caretakers of the now “F-100 Western Nationals” that continually make the run bigger and better each year.
Keep on Truckin’

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