Classic and custom cars and motorcycles rolled into Heavenly Village Friday evening for the 18th annual Rolling Chrome Tahoe Thunder Car & Bike Show.
Though it might seem like an average show, it also serves as a benefit for the Good Samaritans Safe Ride Program, which provides rides to people who may have had too much to drink, according to Executive Director Tom Argo.
Argo started the organization 28 years ago with two other people because he understood the importance of having a designated driver.
“I was headed for wreck and ruin, there’s no doubt about it,” said Argo, who added that he wasn’t as safe as he should have been, but never hurt anyone.
When the program started, members wearing club jackets would pair up and drive around to bars to see if anyone needed a ride home. Now, Yellow Cab partners with the club to provide the rides, which Argo said has made it more of a low-profile operation. People who accept rides through the program also receive a coupon for a ride back to their car the next morning, he said.
“We want people to know they don’t have to get in a bad situation,” Argo said.
For this weekend’s event, Argo said he expected about 50 entries, traveling from as far as Vacaville, Sacramento and Placerville.
“They’ll come from anywhere it’s 110 degrees; they’re coming up here to cool off,” he said.
Donna McLelland of Christmas Valley said she’d been coming to the show for years. On Friday, she parked her cherry-root beer-colored 1959 Chevrolet Apache on the walkway.
“You get to see all the tourists and all your friends — it’s just kind of a camaraderie thing,” she said.
“I like them small and friendly, where you can talk about your families and talk to people about drinking and driving and tell them they have options,” Argo said of the show. “It’s a more personable connection with people.”
The show is also a contest, with prizes for category winners. Judging will take place from noon to 4 p.m. today. The public will be able to vote on the best stock car, best custom car and best motorcycle. This year, the club will give away a 1953 Ford F100 and a 1953 Harley-Davidson Panhead through a raffle. The raffle began in May and will continue through October, when the winner will be announced. Both vehicles were donated.
“We never would have stayed around if people hadn’t provided and supported us,” Argo said.