Love of Fun Run keeps drivers coming back
KINGMAN - Steve Early and Jerry Olson not only enjoy entering the Route 66 Fun Run; they do so with more than one car.
Early owns a 1962 black Chevrolet Impala SS and a 1966 red Ford Mustang fastback. He plans to drive the Impala from Seligman to Topock, while his wife, Jeannette, steers the Mustang along the historic highway.
He has owned both cars for about a year.
"I've been restoring cars for 25 years and owned over 200 of them," Early said. "I buy and enjoy them for a time, then sell them and buy something different I've never owned before.
"I'm also building a 1951 Ford Woody street rod now."
The Impala won a Findlay car dealership show award April 5, he said.
Early will be participating in his third Fun Run. He also travels to car shows in Bullhead City and Laughlin, Lake Havasu City and Williams when events are held in those communities.
"What I most enjoy about the Fun Run is driving on historic Route 66, which allows the participant to travel on the longest active stretch of the highway in the country," Early said. "It spans 132 miles from Seligman to Topock, and people show their enthusiasm by lining the route and waving at drivers."
While some people build or restore classic cars and hand them down to their children, Early's philosophy is to keep one 2-3 years and sell it to someone else so that individual can know the pleasure of the vehicle. Five years is about the maximum time he has owned any classic car, he said.
Olson plans to drive a 1947 gray Chrysler Windsor convertible from Seligman to Topock. The car has been in his family since 1972.
Olson's wife, Linda, or perhaps one of their sons, Andrew or Matthew, will drive the family's 1972 gold Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible in the Fun Run.
"My first Fun Run was the fifth," Olson said. "I've been an off-and-on participant through the years and in about 10 to date."
Olson limits showing his cars to the Fun Run, Andy Devine Days and other Kingman parades.
"I enjoy showing them and let others look at them," he said. "Some people that look at the '47 Chrysler say that was the first car they ever drove, so you hear a lot of stories."
The Chrysler was recognized as best in its class at the Fun Run for 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Mercury received similar awards in its class for 2005 and 2007.
Olson and Early both said they would like to see more activities in Kingman on the Saturday night stopover for participants.
"A couple of years ago there was a Poker Run in the evening (held in conjunction with the Fun Run), so there was a semi-organized activity where you drive from one place to another," Olson said. "The only organized thing now is visiting Sonic's drive-in, where it's crowded and hard to get in and out."
Early said he'd like to see some type of post Fun Run show Saturday night.
"Out-of-town visitors not familiar with Fun Run may not know where to go Saturday night," Early said.