By Chris Johnson
A parade went through Ogle County communities last week but there were no bands, floats, clowns, or tiny Tabala Shriner cars.
This parade was filled with hundreds of hot rods winding their way from North Carolina to Wisconsin for the 20th annual Hot Rod Power Tour.
Cars left North Carolina on June 7 for the seven day event.
Residents in Byron and Oregon put up lawn chairs along Ill. 2 on June 12 to wait for the cars on the sixth day of the tour.
By noon a steady but spread out group of cars began filtering through the communities.
“This was a really good group,” said Oregon Police Chief Darin DeHaan. “The cars were spread out so it did not cause traffic issues.”
DeHaan said people had lawn chairs set up at sunrise and were ready to see the event.
“It was neat to see people in downtown watching the tour,” he said. “The largest group of cars at one time was 15.”
DeHaan said the motorists were all respectful of traffic laws and only revved their engines briefly for the residents watching the hot rods.
Area police departments were informed about the Power Tour two weeks before the event so they would be prepared for any traffic delays.
At Sam’s Drive In, Byron, tour participants were greeted by local residents with their rides.
Jon Barrett, Las Angeles, Calif., saw the vehicles and the Chevy Nomad used as a sign for the business and stopped in.
He was driving a 1970 Dodge Challenger the entire length of the tour.
“I have been on many tours,” said Barrett. “All of the people have been great. All of these small towns make us feel like a celebrity.”
Any time the vehicles stopped for gas of food, the drivers were able to talk about their rides and learn about the communities.
Barrett said people have been lining the streets to wave at the tour and he was excited to see all the towns along the route.
The co-owner of Sam’s, Shirly Aldrich, was prepared for a possible crowd when the tour came through.
“We welcome these groups to Byron,” she said. “We heard about the tour early enough to prepare.”
They had a sign made up to welcome the Power Tour to Byron and had extra staff to handle a potential increase in orders.
“We had a cruise night scheduled today and some of our regulars came in early to watch the tour,” Aldrich said.
While watching cars cruise through Byron, a father-daughter team stopped in for a break.
Morgan Osbaldeston, Norcross, Ga., was driving a 1972 El Camino and her dad Steve had a 1966 Corvette Stingray.
This was the seventh year they have participated in the Power Tour.
Steve said he thought the tour was about driving and enjoying their cars.
“I realized its the people and communities we visit that make this tour enjoyable,” said Steve.
His daughter enjoys spending time with her father every summer while participating in the tour.
More than 4,000 vehicles were registered for the tour and only 844 completed the entire 1,500 mile trip.
Hot Rod Magazine posted numerous blogs throughout the event on their website and Facebook page.