Super Cruise wraps up great week in Salem

SALEM — The sun set o

n another Salem Super Cruise Sunday afternoon, with organizer Gene Johnson saying the Cruisin’ Crew will be back next year, crediting the volunteers, weather and participants for a great cruise.

“Great week — an exhausting, no rain weekend,” he said.

He said they had some great help from representatives of the six food pantries who will benefit from the 50/50 and beef raffles, Chinese Auction, T-shirt and hat sales and the Big Idaho Potato Truck’s Big Helping program. At the end of the four days, the grand total for the pantries to split has been tallied at $7,239.

The Big Helping program is a way for the Idaho Potato Commission to give back, with a promise to donate $1 for every signature collected on the Big Helping board, up to $500 to the local pantries. The Tater Team consisting of driver Melissa Bradford, Jessica Coulthard and Kaylee Wells surprised everybody with a donation of $1,000, noting that cruise visitors filled not one, but two boards with signatures while visiting the Big Idaho Potato Truck exhibit.

“I can’t tell you how many pounds of food that’s going to translate to, but an enormous number,” Mayor John Berlin said.

Berlin said he can’t compliment Johnson, Johnson’s wife Jane and the Cruisin’ Crew and all the volunteers enough for the work they put into the cruise this year, noting the event is good publicity for the city of Salem. The city installed a new sound system in the municipal lot which serves as the main show lot and it made a difference in the sound quality and reach. He said Johnson actually suggested the city use the system to pipe Christmas music into the downtown for the holidays, which the city may do.

Johnson said at least 120 volunteers helped out over the four days of the cruise. The pantries that will split the money include the St. Patrick Church Food Pantry in Leetonia, the Salem Community Pantry, the Salem Salvation Army, the Oasis Food Ministry/Columbiana Food Pantry, 4 C’s Food Pantry in New Waterford and Lisbon United Methodist Church Food Pantry. The 50/50 raffle totaled $2,002, with $1,001 going to the prize winner. The winner of a 1/4 of Black Angus Beef from Borza Meats in Lisbon will have the choice of accepting $400 cash or $400 worth of beef.

Mick Orosz, who headed up the concessions, said he spoke to the vendors and “everybody did well.”

“They had a great weekend. The weather was perfect, a lot of cars and a lot of people. I think it was one of the best ever,” he said.

Vendors told him it was even bigger than when the Super Nats were out at the race track, he said, adding the weather helped. There were at least 20 food vendors in the downtown area, four outside vendors and one at Donnell, three game vendors and 20 crafters. He also praised the work done by Johnson in bringing different attractions to the cruise, such as the potato truck, which proved to be a huge draw. Salem Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst also talked about the variety of things people could see, including the crafters and the music.

“There was something everywhere for everybody,” he said.

On Sunday, the focus was the show cars with the Show & Shine sponsored by Mark Cole Agency American National Collector Car Insurance. Best of Show winner was Dave Taylor with his 1963 Plymouth convertible. Mayor’s Choice went to Jerry Johnson with a 1964 Chevy 4-door and Sponsor’s Choice went to John Borza for his 1951 Chevy. More than 33 awards were handed out, including two for motorcycles and five for Best Detailed.

For John Bowers of Calcutta, owning and showing his 1957 Chevy C-3100 Victory Red truck is all about nostalgia and reverting back to those teen years. He restored the truck himself, including the motor, but had someone else do the painting. He said all the work took a lot of time but it was well worth it.

“My first love, that’s what my wife called it,” he said.

Bowers, though, disputed that, saying his wife Dottie was his first love. She passed away a year ago in June.