Havre Daily News
Havre will be alive with the roar of roadsters and muscle cars this weekend as dozens of restored pieces of history roll into town for a statewide classic cars tour. Havre's Big Sky Auto Club will host the Montana Pioneer and Classic Auto Clubs' spring tour Friday, Saturday and Sunday, giving residents several opportunities to view these painstakingly cared-for automobiles on display and on the move.
Big Sky president Tom Kellar said this is the first year Havre has hosted the tour since 1994. The tour will give auto club members from all across Montana a taste of something different.
"We're in an area people haven't seen before," he said. "They're tired of going to the big cities (for tours) year after year. It's getting stale."
The event will be headquartered at the St. Jude's Parish Center and Pepin Park.
The 27-member Big Sky club is expecting to host about 150 auto club members from all over the state. The turnout - they've already had more than 125 registrations -has been phenomenal, Kellar said. The group thinks part of the attraction is the events it has lined up. Those journeying to Havre will get a tour of the town, and will take trips to Chinook and Zurich.
"People think it's cool," Kellar said. "They can go to a car club event and actually go on a tour," instead of spending their whole weekend in one spot.
Residents can view the cars on the move Friday night during a gaslight tour. The name refers to autos of the early 20th century, which had no batteries or alternators and used gas lamps for headlights. The cars will leave the parish center and head west to Sixth Avenue and up to 13th Street. Drivers will take in a variety of Havre sites on the 2-mile tour including the Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field, Northern Montana Hospital, and the Montana State University-Northern campus, before heading past the Havre Middle School, the Hill County Detention Center, the Montana Army National Guard Armory and the senior center. The tour will wrap up with a cruise through the historic residential district.
At the hospital, the tour will pass the Northern Montana Care Center, which is holding its Father's Day celebration in conjunction with the event, Kellar said.
"We're celebrating Father's Day by offering the residents the opportunity to experience and recall past memories," Northern Montana Care Center activities director Ila McClenahan said. "They really enjoy those cars. It will be wonderful, and we're really excited. We want to thank the Big Sky Auto Club for thinking of the elderly."
The vehicles will be parked near the parish center for judging, beginning Saturday at 7:15 a.m. The public is welcome to view the cars on display, Kellar said.
After the group returns from its day tour of Chinook and Zurich, a private awards banquet will be held at the Duck Inn. The parking lot will be filled with classic cars, giving the public one more chance to view them before the event wraps up Sunday morning.
Kellar is excited about the Saturday banquet, because the group managed to book Blue Paw Bear Grass as entertainment. He described the group as "reclusive" and "talented." The group, made up of about 20 members who practice in private, do not often perform publicly.
"People will go home remembering them as much as anything else," Kellar said.
He added that the Big Sky club has enjoyed an incredible amount of support from the community. Businesses have been very generous in donating door prizes and coordinating lodging for the visitors. City officials also have been supportive of the event, he said.
"The support across the board from the community has been amazing," Kellar said. "The mayor has been phenomenal. A big thanks to the community."