Area residents join seven-city tour in Nebraska and Iowa

Published 11:33 am Thursday, June 12, 2008

This week, five area men and their wives participated in what is widely considered to be one of the finest high-end automotive tours in the world.

The Hot Rod Power Tour — an annual seven-day, seven-city tour that winds across the country — gathers thousands of participants and even more spectators.

This year the tour started in Little Rock, Ark., on June 7 and made stops in Springfield, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; Lincoln, Neb.; Ames, Iowa; Rochester and ended in Madison, Wis. on Saturday.

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With the tour so close to home, some local guys couldn’t pass up the chance to participate.

“I’ve read about it and read about it, but I’ve never done it,” said Al Larson of Larson Contracting. “Life goes by so fast, so when an opportunity arises to do something, I do it.”

Larson and his wife, along with Mick Delger and his wife, planned to drive to Nebraska to join the tour there on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday they would meet up with Dean Rasmusson, Don Yost and Terry Rodberg and their wives during the stop through Ames, Iowa.

Larson, who has loved cars all his life, said he got back involved with classic cars probably about 20 years ago.

Now each year — with the help of a full-time body man — he rebuilds one car.

He probably has about 25 fully-restored vehicles now, he said.

For the tour, he and his wife were going to ride in a 1955 Chevy Bel Air Convertible.

“It’s hard to fathom what a couple thousand cars look like,” he said, anticipating all the cars before he left.

After all, a good car show is between 150 and 200 vehicles, he noted.

Rasmusson, who was going to be taking his 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente that is nicknamed “Fattire,” said he’s always pictured going on the event and thought it would be neat to try it out this year.

The group of men, who have been friends since youth, often participate in many car-related shows like this with their wives and even meet on a weekly basis to discuss cars.

Each week they have “Toy Shed Night,” where they meet at what they call their “toy sheds,” where they keep their classic cars.

The weekly gathering started out when some of the men wanted to go on a motorcycle ride in the afternoon and into the evening, but then in the wintertime when it got colder they decided to meet and work on cars.

Though they will not be along for the long haul — from Arkansas to Wisconsin — the men were excited to participate in the stops closest to home. Plus, they’ll be home in time for the Eddie Cochran events of the weekend as well.

If only the Power Tour had gone through Albert Lea, Larson said.

The Hot Rod Power Tour, which is in its 14th year this year, was created for hot rod enthusiasts from all over the world to sightsee, explore and show off their custom car creations.

Each year the tour picks up where it left off the previous year.

The Hot Rod Power Tour of 2009 will begin in Wisconsin.