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WildRiver BBQ and Cruise In draws record crowds

by: PEGGY SAVAGE - The Molalla Cruise In was a huge draw, with about 75 classic vehicles on display in its first yearWhat could be more fun than a warm summer day spent in a shady grove enjoying barbecue, checking out cool classic cars and joining in all sorts of family fun.

Molalla’s annual WildRiver BBQ Cook Off and Cruise-In offered it all on Saturday at Clark Park, and the cook-off and related activities continued on Sunday.

by: PEGGY SAVAGE - The watermelon eating contest prize went to the kid who could eat the most the fastestWell over a thousand people showed up Saturday, and the event was in full swing by noon, with car enthusiasts, barbecue cook-off fans and families from around Oregon coming to Molalla to enjoy the festivities.

“People love to come out to the country,” said Fran Taylor Saturday afternoon.

“And the support from the people in our business community has been amazing this year. I think a lot of them came out here today too. We’ve got local and metro-area families here. We are very pleased. In fact, we nearly ran out of scrip there’s so many people here. We had to rush out to get more printed.”

by: PEGGY SAVAGE - Owner Doug Wellman, of Molalla, with his 1934 Chevy Coupe, which won the Molalla Pioneer Award in the Cruise In SaturdayClassic cars lined up in the field next to the oak grove Saturday morning, with their owners and friends gathered on lawn chairs under the shade of awnings and umbrellas. People strolled through the collection of cool classics, braving the hot sun to check under hoods and talk with the owners. Jim Taylor, a classic cars buff who owns a Ford Model T, organized the cruise-in and helped hand out winner’s plaques along with sponsors who had chosen their favorites. Taylor awarded the by: PEGGY SAVAGE - Jim Taylor, left, who organized Molalla first Cruise In, presents the People's Choice award to Gary ParhamPeople’s Choice award to Gary Parham of Damascus for his 1941 Willys. “Gary and I go way back,” he said. “I built a 1934 Victoria for him. We’ve been going to car shows together for years.”

The Molalla Pioneer Sponsors Award went to Doug and Dianne Wellman of Molalla for their 1934 Chevy three-window coupe. Doug Wellman said the car had belonged to a friend, Bill Buffum, who died of cancer at the age of 27. “Bill’s wife Carol kept it for 30 years, but then she turned it over to us, and I restored it in Bill’s name,” he said. “It took eight years to rebuild, and we’ve had it on the road three years.”

by: MARIANNE KNAPP - The Nagging Wife BBQ team sponsored a BBQ and Bingo night for Brooke Garbart, center, last December, and finally got the chance to meet her at Sunday's competitionIn all, 74 cars were displayed in the show and 30 sponsors choice plaques were awarded.

And then, of course, there was the BBQ Cook Off going on all day and again on Sunday. Three large trophies were on display near the MRA and Molalla River Watch booths, and the winners were announced on Sunday. This year, there were more competitors than ever, said John Atkins, president of the Molalla River Alliance, which puts on the event.

Molalla's WildRiver BBQ is the largest barbecue competition in the state, and it ran Saturday and by: PEGGY SAVAGE - These cute little girls wolfed down watermelon as fast as they could in the Watermelon Eating Contest Saturday at the WildRiver BBQ and Cruise InSunday in the shade of the oak grove, with a record number of entries. The trophies were awarded Sunday afternoon. The results for the Oregon State Grand Champion BBQ went to:

Oregon State Grand Champion - Wine Country Q

Reserve Champion - Bad Bones

Mayors Spirit Award- Smokin Timbers

People's Choice for Best Sample - Nagging Wife

Newbie Q - Rub'em Longtime   (for an entrant who has not competed in more than three events)

Chicken - Ice Harbor Brewing

Pork - Wine Country Q

Brisket - Bad Bones BBQ 

Ribs  - Wine Country Q

Dutch Oven - Maddog's BBQ 

Anything off the Grill(e)  - Woodstock Smokers

This year, the first place Dutch Oven winner was scored a perfect 200, with all judges giving the winner a maximum score.

The watermelon eating contest had two winners, one in each age category. The winners were:

Age 1 though 6 - Destiny; Age 7 through 14 - Josh.