Car rallies rev up pride

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— They swarmed Lincoln Avenue Saturday; mouths spilling "ooohs" and "ahs" while other admirers simply gawked in sheer, silent awe.

They were car lovers who gushed over the more than 400 Ford Mustangs that adorned Steamboat's main street.

They swapped stories like fisherman swap stories but in a language dotted with terminology such as "torque," "fuel injection" and "rpms."

But the Mustang lovers weren't the only ones out and about.

On Yampa Avenue and 11th Street, they were swapping stories as well.

But these tales were more along the lines of survival of the fittest Subaru.

The Mustang car show was the peak presentation of the 13th annual Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup.

"I love these cars. I mean, I love these cars," resident Pete Elliot said.

Elliot said the opportunity to see so many cars that so many had worked hard on is what makes the event so much fun.

"To see the labor of love they put into these cars it's incredible," he said.

Elliot, who had a Mustang as a teen-ager, said there is a love affair between Americans and the classic car.

"I think it started with people my age," said Mustang owner Bill Somers.

"I graduated high school in 1965 and this is the car I wanted."

Somers said the Mustang was the first sports car that came out that was actually affordable.

Dave Irmo, who was cleaning the tires on his 1973 Mach 1 Mustang, agreed that the price of the early Mustang models made the vehicle that much more attractive.

"The average guy with an average job could get one," he said.

John Murzyn, who was a judge during the car show, explained the classic Mustang style exists in all ages and models of the car, but it also is updated with the changing times, which is a key element in the car's place in American culture.

"You can see the different concepts in each design to keep it current," he said.

Murzyn and Tim Carlson are from the High Country Mustang Club from Fort Collins and spent much of Saturday judging the Mustangs according to 32 classes, including the year, style and authenticity.

Tommy Larson, who organized the Subaru rally, was doing some judging of his own for the hand full of Subaru's that were gathered for display. However, his criteria differed from those reviewing the Mustangs.

Subaru owners received kudos and prizes for the most miles and "best windshield."

Joe Bulluck and his 1987 Subaru wagon won the best windshield award, which was cracked in numerous places.

Bulluck, who has put about 218,000 miles on the Subaru , said he has only had to replace an element on the suspension of his car, which is running fine.

The camp of Larson and other Subaru owners was simply identified with a banner and a colored chalk drawing on the road that said "Subaru Rally."

Larson didn't brag about "authenticity," although there is nothing fake about his pride in his 1992 Loyale wagon.

"Just paid it off," Larson proudly proclaimed. "This baby's mine."

Larson said a Subaru wagon with a bike, kayak or skis on top is the quintessential vehicle of Steamboat Springs. He handed out Subaru water bottles to all the people who participated.

"You can't get these at the Mustang rally," Subaru owner Cindy Ruzicka said. "The people who drive Mustangs drink bottled water."

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206

or e-mail dcrowl@steamboatpilot.com.

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