May Chamber Spotlight: Valley Rods Unlimited Car Club

We all have an ideal “I finally made it” moment that we strive for.  For some, that moment involves recognition, status, freedom, money, or many other possibilities.  For others, the ultimate “dream come true” moment is owning a classic car.  Those dreamers motivate their penny saving by picturing a weekend long trip shining, dining, and driving in a hot rod that holds nostalgia.  They study mechanics, whether by trade school or YouTube, and spend hours tinkering with their prized possession to get in in pristine condition.  The Valley Rods Unlimited Car Club is proof that dreams can come true. 

In the spring of 1975, a group of these dreamers gathered in the State Farm Insurance office (currently the home of KNLV) to form Valley Rods Unlimited Car Club.  On April 28, 1975, the organization applied for their National Street Rod Association Car Club Affiliation. Yearly dues to be a car club member in 1975 were a whopping $8.00.  The founding members were Ted Leggett, Allen Philbrick, Gary Garnick, Don Edghill, Darrell Bremer, Gene Johnson, Dale Beran, Allen Edghill, Gary Paider, Wayne Brown, Les Freeman, Mark Orent and Rick Orent. The group elevated their status in the car club world by purchasing club jackets and designing a unique logo, which remains as the symbol of the group today.  

In order to keep the community up to date on all Car Club happenings, Valley Rods began publishing the newsletter “Street Sheet,” which lasted until 1982 and was edited by Ted Legget.  In the newsletter, you could read about the outdoor movies the club attended, the results of an unofficial street race that ended in a broken roadster windshield, or the call to action to help a fellow member after the loss of a priceless items, including a vintage mustang, in a garage fire. 

In summer of 1975, Valley Rods Unlimited Car Club hosted the first ever Father’s Day Rod Run.  This car show was held in conjunction with the state fair air show held in Ord at Evelyn Sharp Airfield. Approximately 20 cars attended and kicked off what is now known as one of Ord’s favorite events.  In 1977, the car show was moved to Fort Hartsuff.  After that, the Father’s Day Rod Run tried out several locations, including Elyria Hall, Ord Veteran’s Grounds, the Boilesen Grain Bin Building and K-Line Truck Inc. Building.  Some years, the Sunday morning show and shine drew more than 150 cars, not including those of club members. Each year the Father’s Day Rod Run hosted new and exciting events, including a model car contest for kids 7 and under.  In 1982, 47 pint-sized car enthusiasts entered this model car contest.  Grand prize was Johnny Edghill, second place was Scott Philbrick and third place went to Kyle Wadas.  Mechanic foreshadowing maybe??

Eventually, the Father’s Day Rod Run found its way to Downtown Ord, starting at the Valley Rods Clubhouse in the old filling station. In 2023, this staple summer event will celebrate its 47th Anniversary, hosted by the hardworking volunteers of Valley Rods Unlimited Car Club.  This annual event will kick off on Friday, June 16thwith a welcome at the Valley Rods Clubhouse, including early registration opportunities and a barbeque. On Saturday, June 17th the car craziness begins. Visitors and participants will watch rubber burn during the driving games outside Valley Thunder Rods & Restoration from 1:00-5:00 PM. Car show participants and residents of the area can join together for fun during the public dance, featuring Jesse Karr Band, at Trotter Events Center from 8:30-12:30 PM.  On Sunday, June 18th, cars and people of all ages, makes, and models will flood Downtown Ord during the infamous Show’n’Shine, beginning at 9:00am.  At noon, citizens and visitors will line the streets of Ord to get a glimpse of the Father’s Day Rod Run Parade. The car show will conclude with a farewell dinner for participants at Trotter Events Center. 

So next time you make your way to Ord for the Father’s Day Rod Run, or park you kids, cooler, and lawn chairs in the front yard to celebrate dad during the Sunday parade, remember that you’re not just watching a bunch of fancy old cars stroll through town.  You’re watching a group of people who made their dreams come true. 

Learn more about the upcoming Father’s Day Rod Run, happening June 16-18, 2023, by visiting their website, Follow Valley Rods Unlimited on Facebook to stay up to date on all their activities, including Cars & Coffee on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Thank you to Valley Rods Unlimited Car Club and its volunteer members for continuing to host one of Ord’s favorite events!



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