Cruisin oldies plan unsanctioned Paso revival

May 21, 2008

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

“Old habits like you are hard to break.” – Country western singer Ronnie Milsap.

Hold the obituary on Paso Robles’ famous Memorial Weekend custom vehicle cruise.

Some longtime participants, quoting Yogi Berra in proclaiming, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” are fashioning an under-the-radar celebration that likely will attract hundreds of customized vehicles and their fun-loving owners, just like the past three decades. This year, though, there will be at least two significant changes. The show will go on without the permission of, or permits from, Paso Robles city officials; and fewer people will be spending three full days in town, spending their money.

Sponsors of this year’s “non-event” are hoping to help salvage some lost revenues for downtown businesses hurt by the cruise’s absence. They have dubbed the impromptu gathering “The First Annual No-Cruise Night.”

The West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals have been centered in Paso Robles for nearly 30 years, and related festivities stretch over the Memorial Day weekend. The event’s top attraction has always been the seeming-endless “cruise” of beautifully-customized automobiles, trucks and sundry vehicles down Spring Street to the cheers of thousands of onlookers.

People would bring folding chairs, ice chests and food to last for hours. Families planned vacations around the long weekend, and many of those had standing reservations at nearby hotels, which were always booked to the rafters. Local businesses would clean up, many reporting five-fold increases in revenues over the weekend.

Last year, Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon told the city council that her officers were encountering increased problems during the event. Its sponsors subsequently were informed that they would be required to pay a $30,000 fee for additional law enforcement, and abruptly decided to take their show to Santa Maria. A cruise will occur there Saturday morning.

But old traditions, long-held hotel reservations, fond memories and a measure of rebellion is bringing the cruising cars, their owners, and their fans, back to their old haunt, Paso Robles… unofficially, that is.

During the day, a steady flow of show cars into Paso Robles is expected. A slow cruise down Spring Street will be held “sometime early Saturday evening,” according to Joe Torres, vice president of Hunter Auto Body. Torres has been around the cruise event most of his life, and he said he doesn’t want it to disappear. He’s helping by organizing a variety of other Saturday events, including a 5 to 9 p.m. barbeque benefiting the local historical society, and music by the Dirty Boys Band, at Hunter Auto Body, 1236 Railroad Street in Paso Robles. Libations will be flowing. Many of the old gang will be there, said Torres. And that is where the classic cars will be found.

“We’re just trying to keep the cruise custom alive in Paso,” he noted. “People in this town look forward to this every year. So we’re going to get as many of the cars as possible out here, to show to the public, and we’re going to have a good time. There’s a possibility of a very large turnout,” said Torres, as word of the non-event is spreading.

“It’s just a free cruise, and I hope everybody will bring their families out,” added Bear, president of the Dirty Boys Auto Club which is sponsoring the barbeque and providing the music.

A reporter-photographer team from Hot Rod Magazine will be at the “underground” car show, said Ron French, co-owner of the historic Pine Street Saloon, located right across from Hunter Auto Body. French said he expects “a big Saturday, but it won’t certainly be anything like the three days it used to be.”

Other, “official” events in the city over the weekend will include locally-owned cars in the park; a Friday night dance, also at the park; and a Saturday antique car auction at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa.


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6 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: Anonymous on 5/25/08
    Well in our opinion for the 1st "No cruise Night" it was a fun and hassle free day in Paso again. We all saved a little gas and even a $12 entry fee. Looks to us were are headed in the right direction. Now that other local downtown business's see it can be done they might even want to be a part of the next one.
    As a local merchant that always thought of the memorial day car show as a our busiest weekend of the year,who knows maybe there is a chance for a comeback.Even though it only lasted a few hours this time , I can say for sure it was worth the time and effort.
    By: Anonymous on 5/25/08
    I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS TO ALL THAT CAME OUT AND SHOWED SUPPORT YESTERDAY TO ME IT WAS A STEPING STONE FOR SOMETHING BIGGER IN THE FUTURE. AND TO BEKAH SORRY YOU MISSED IT WE HAD A GOOD TURN OUT DONT KNOW WHAT TIME YOU CAME BY BUT LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS NOT AN ISSUE AND EVERYTHING WENT SMOOTH AS PLANNED THERE HAS TO BE A START SOMEWHERE! ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT $ WAS RAISED AND WILL BE DONATED AS WE HAD STATED! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR BIGGRER!

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  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 5/25/08
    Alright, I have to admit – although you all have my full support, I was a tad disappointed in last night's rebel showing. Did people get scared off by the threat of the cops or what? Maybe I came a little too late, I don't know, or maybe I didn't have the right pass to get in. But come on! If you want to do it, do it BIG!
    By: Anonymous on 5/25/08
    Ummm, did it ever occur to you guys that PRPD officers were sent to shut this down? What do you think, that patrol officers were just sitting around the station and decided to try to stop this for fun? Get pissed at the town fathers that are ordering this shutdown, not the boys in blue.
    By: Anonymous on 5/25/08
    Thanks to you all for your support at our FIRST ANNUAL NO CRUISE NIGHT we had a blast good food,great company,nice cars and lots of fun!! See you next year like Ole Hank says Its's a Family Tradition now!!
    By: Anonymous on 5/24/08
    I just wanted to say that I have never once missed a Cruise Night in Paso. Every year I, like so many other of you, invite people in from out of town to come not just enjoy the festivities, but to help bring revenue to the town I love. A town that is hard to describe sometimes to anyone who does not live here. From tractor parades, to the biggest little fair anywhere, to a gabillion wine and tapas bars, to the best damn downtown square anywhere, to the LARGEST CUSTOM CAR SHOW IN THE NATION. I don't, for one secone, believe that there is one person in this town who does not describe all of the above when people ask 'What is there to do in Paso?' Yes, there are so many functions (the Antique shows and Farmers Markets, the Home and Rec Shows, Wine Festivals, etc) there is always something happening in Paso. If there is one thing to say about anyone who moves from Paso- I am pretty sure- it is to say that at one point or another- they move back. No matter how much this town changes and grows (box stores, to housing, to 1,000 wineries) we all help to support the community we live in. Losing the car show and cruise night has been the largest mistake this city council has ever made. I guess at the time when the rumors started that it was moving to Santa Maria (who has their own gang and alcohol problems) to the time it was confirmed via the media- shock kept my mouth closed. And then at that point- who are you going to call? Well, I wish I had been more saavy to the ability of contacting the mayor, the police chief, the city council, or anyone else who would listen. Not just from the people who have the businesses, hotels, retail and what-not, but to the people who do not even have a classic car. There could have been a million other ways to help facitlitate West Coast Customs and the city at the same time before someone stuck their foot in their mouth by trying to charge an outlandish fee. I can probably name up 100 people who would have helped VOLUNTEER to keeping crowds at a happy medium. 100 more VOLUNTEERS to help clean up. Had the option been placed out there by the city, to help find ways to keep this show here, rather than have it be a loss-loss situation for everyone. If it got so big and out-of-hand, why was OUR fairgrounds not considered or looked into? Your going to tell me that this town can handle 150,000 people at the Mid State Fair, but found that the car show was more than they could handle? Give me and every other person that lives here a break! If the businesses brought in up to 5x the amount of money that they normally do, who's to say that they and the people of this town couldn't help to raise some funds to put towards enforcement if it was needed so bad? There are so many benefit motorcycle runs, benefit barbecues, benefit auctions, benefit this and that events that happen here and WE ALL SUPPORT THEM. And I am sorry, the auction is a great idea, but it was never ever going to replace what the Cruise Night and Car Show stood for. Which is Paso Robles. We supported it, and it supported us. Whoever thought that biting the hand that fed us was a good idea, needs to go back and re-evaluate what it means to support your community and not fail. I will go tonight with all of my friends and family that I sit here with after a very quiet Friday night of Memorial Weekend. And I will show my support to the people that have lost so much. And we will not get rowdy and out of hand. And I hope we can rub elbows with all the people who feel the same way we do. Bring it back home.

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  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 5/24/08
    I work tonight, but you can bet I will be hoofin' it down to Hunter's on my 30 min. lunch break. And Paso PD is silly to do all this stuff – all of the years I've been wanderin' around Paso during the show, do you think I've ever felt unsafe? No. Have I ever seen any disturbances? No. Do I think Paso is just trying to discriminate and chose wine snobs over greasers? yes. Why? I guess they want to be the next Napa Valley. Bah!
    By: Anonymous on 5/24/08
    I'm proud of you nephew, go for it and keep your traditions alive. We are in our 8th year of cruisin in Casper and no sign of it being discontinued. GOOD LUCK!!!
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    A gutsy move would be to contact the news people, like ksby, and have them show up and record the actions of the police. This is just plain wrong and dirty politics at its best. Your band couldn't even come close to what the fair will be doing in a couple of months or will it make more noise than what's going on downtown tonight, Friday. I think it's just a plain case of discrimination the snobs of Paso Robles against the rest of us. Could be worth getting an ambulance chasing attorney after them for damages.
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Oh geeze! This actually surprises me that Paso would pull a page from Atascaderos book of logic! I agree with '57 Lincoln, in all the years that my family an I have been attending this event, we never saw anything that warranted $30,000 worth of extra patrol either! I won't be going to Santa Maria, but you can bet we'll have our car there in Paso Saturday!
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Ok now this is really getting out of hand as far as the PRPD goes shame on you!! Give me a break it's Memorial Day Weekend people can't have safe clean fun? I'm for it every step of the way and so are the business owners surrounding this event. Keep the money in our town support local business owners they have families to feed too.Let us have a good time no problems.Sounds like a little police har5rassment to me.
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    As a mom of a Police Officer I am ashamed Paso PD doesn't have better things to do on tax payers time. Shame on your chief and any other city officials involved in this 30 yr tradition. Plus the $$$ that will be going to the DARE program. Shame shame on all of you involved in trying to shut thisdown
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Well well Paso PD doing what they do best shutting s*hit down before it even gets a chance to get started. Hunter got a visit today from Paso's finest and informed us that we can't have our band we cant have food , we can't have fun! They are already assuming the worst. They also Fucked the Paso Robles Historical Society and The DARE program whom we were donating our profits to. Good Looking Out Paso PD.All because you think you will have to actually work a little harder.
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    People DID write letters to the editor in the Tribune and the Atas.News protesting the loss of this event, but that $30,000. price tag seemed to have the last word. For all the years we've been attending the cruise and show and eating out at the various local restaurants while there, trying to be sure to support the locals, we NEVER saw any riots or disturbances that would merit hiring $30,000. worth off security. Yes, there were some "interesting" looking folks there, but that's part of the show. Yes, I'm sure celebrities like Chip Foos, ZZ Top and Metallica all caused a major melt-down (N-O-T!!!!!)and they had to call in the SWAT team. How stupid is it to close down a major even like this that attracts celebrities? Ah yes! Wine is so much better. Oh? Guess why they need SO MANY Porta potties? So they can PUKE! Yes, that's right….P-U-K-E. The car show drew 3 times as many people as the wine celebration and we sure didn't need all those pottys. We won't attend the show in Santa Maria, but we might cruise through Paso this weekend…just for old times sake if nothing else…..
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    WELL AS WE ALL PREDICTED THE CITY HAS SHUT DOWN MY "NO CRUISE NITE" GATHERING WE WILL STILL BE PARKING AND SHOWING OUR VEHICLE WITHOUT THE BAND THAT WE HAD SCHEDULED I HOPE TO SEE ALL OF YOU STILL COME DOWN AND LOOK AND THE CARS ON DISPLAY AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

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  4. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Well Paso’s finest did it again! With an early morning visit from the man in Black, we have been all but shut down. With the statements like you need a permit for this and one for that, and you have time to get them but it won’t cross our desk. The only thing left is to come and stop by for a visit. So far as I know, we can still park without getting a permit and even take a ride through town.
    The powers that be, are definitely doing their best to take money out of the small business’s in town. Oh but they have a answer for that “the wine fest”. Well that for my small business is no better than any other Saturday on a $ basis, but on a mop the floor basis that’s my big day by far.
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Exeleeeeeent!

    Drive in, and drive on, Don't spend a DIME (or .25 cents due to inflation and market prices.)
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    U rock DIRTY BOYS! Bring it back…c ya there 4 sure. Keep the tradition alive!!!
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Someone should check into which events in town actually bring in the most money to the local business??? Anyone know?
    By: Anonymous on 5/23/08
    Hope it goes great for you all. Paso needs to vote in Nov to get rid of the loosers who are stopping a money maker. I think the car show is bigger then the WINE FEST???? Which brings in more money????
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Aunty says you go guys. I really do miss the 50's and luv the cars and shoot 74 aint that bad.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    TO KEWL
    Get an education and read my post again. The reason the car show isn't going to happen is because of the 30K. I asked if it was approved by the CC (to charge 30K) or if the City manager did it on his own (without their permission). I know the car show is fun. Get it together before you "mouth off" at people.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    You go…When ya snooze ya loose so go cruise!
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    I AM A MEMBER OF THE DIRTY BOYS CUSTOM CAR CLUB AND A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER IN PASO PUTTING ON THIS "NO CRUISE NITE" GATHERING AT MY FACILITY WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS KEEP SOME TRADITON ALIVE, DISPLAY SOME CARS AND HAVE FUN LIKE WE ALL HAVE DONE IN THE PAST. I HOPE TO HAVE A GOOD TURN OUT WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS SO EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO COME SHOW SOME SUPPORT IN HOPES THAT IT WILL SOME DAY RETURN TO US WHERE IT ALL BEGAN NOT IN SANTA MARIA. I HOPE TO SEE EVERYONE THERE
    By: Anonymous o

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  5. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    The most amazing part of all this is that it took so long for people to get up on their hind legs about losing the West Coast Kustom Cruise event. It was announced last Labor Day with very little fanfare if any at all. The city fathers in their "infinite wisdom" decided, without consulting any of the people (ie. downtown merchants assn, general public, etc.) to kill cruise weekend. I am a downtown merchant, and given the chance, would have more than happily donated to the fund for additional law enforcement presence. This brings another point. Where, other than the Motel north of town that had some problems with rowdiness, were the "alcohol related incidents" requiring the necessity of more police? Are we the victims of smoke and mirror tactics? I hope this first annual "No Car Show" is a smashing success! I had e-Mailed the city councilmen and the Chamber of Commerce last September when it first became public info. The answers were all political "gobble de gook".
    My only thinking is that November is coming up. Do we want this same thinking going on in the future for both the city and Supervisorial District #1? I say NOT!
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Methinks you misunderstand poor Polly. she's bitching at the Paso City Council for allowing the car show to LEAVE. She wonders if any businesses are going to take this up with elected officials in the fall. Like, unelect them? Starting with Fred Strong, maybe. Get it?
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Hey Polly:

    go get a life, this is a good thing to have in town, fine if the "cc" okay'd it!! It's called FUN. Geesh.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Does anyone know if the CC sanctioned this idea(30K) or if the hair brained City Manager came up with it on his own? I think the Paso citizens and business owners need to give the CC a piece of their minds and remind them that November is coming.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    This is just too cool.
    Ride em cowboy's.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    I would feel a lot betterif this rebellion was blessed by David Ciaffardini
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    This weekend is now ALIVE! Thank you to all the locals and the travelers that will be attending the 1st annual “No Car Show" weekend! I can't wait to see all the HOT cars and the beautiful people. Party On Paso… We will see you all there!
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Atascadero Cruisen:
    It's a nice thought, but Atascadero is so torn up downtown, and with all the city crap that goes on here, my vote is for Paso all the way! Like dewdog says, it'd take years just to get the city to approve something cool here anyway! Once a mud hole, always a mud hole! Sorry, guess living in this town more than 30 years has taken its toll on me!
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    You guys rock. Murray and Linda will be there to show and shine, not to mention we'll also be there to cruise
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Pass this link or a hard copy of the story to everyone you can think of! Let's make this a good old fashioned in-your-face rockin' party!!!
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Kind of like when the town of Hollister tried to shut down the motorcycle ralley…and 10,000 bikes still came to town anyway.. EVERYONE needs to ignore santa maria. 1st anual Paso No Cruise Night, I'm there.

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  6. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Cruisers go for it. Outrageous that the City of Paso Robles would come up with that $30,000 fee for families to have a good time. What did they charge the wine drinkers last weekend for putting all of the DUI's on the road. I'll be there to enjoy not only the cars but the people too. Hopefully the police will not harass these folks and everyone can havr a good time.
    Like other folks have mentioned, stay in Paso Robles and don't even consider Atascadero, aka fee city, their approval would probably take years and have unfathomable conditions.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    Why not bring the show down the road to Atascadero? They would love it. They have an occasional cruise night a streets are lined up when it happens.
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    You can count on me to be there! Hooray! You guys are the bomb! The cruise will never be the same down in Santa Maria. What a stupid move on Paso's part to drive the show out of town! That's something you'd expect Atascadero to do, not Paso Robles!
    By: Anonymous on 5/22/08
    The city of Paso Robles shot itself in the foot on this one. All that lovely sales tax, not to mention the incredible boost to their economy, gone to Santa Maria. It was extremely short sighted on their part to insist that the sponsors pay the $30,000 fee; I'm sure the event generated much more than that in the local economy. Talk about killing the goose that laid the golden egg! What were they thinking?!
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    You go guys let the cruise live on!Working together it will be a blast!You boys rock!!
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    Sounds like them city fathers are "crusin for a brusin"
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    There's 3 things that I aint giving up, no way, no how.

    Woman, Drinking & Paso Cruisen.
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    POWER TO CRUISE NIGHT IN PASO
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    Riden on up to Paso for a little cruise. Anybody wana see my wheels?
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    Paso Lives!!!!
    I'm bringin Gladys on down she's been beggin me to show off her shiny new top.
    P.D.C (takes one to know one)
    SEE YOU THERE
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    Reminds me of San Luis Obispo's Mardi Gras shut down. Do you think city officials will get police to line the streets to squelch the event.
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    Badges? Badges? We don' need no stinkeeng badges!
    By: Anonymous on 5/21/08
    Rebel With A Cause…. cruise on

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