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25th Annual Lamar Days Rod Run
May 14, 2021 - May 15, 2021
Since before 1995, the Lamar community has enjoyed the annual Lamar Days Rod Run, which features a Car Show, Poker Run, Concessions, Parade, Vendor Booths, and more! The next event will be May 14-15, 2021, at Willow Creek Park in Lamar, Colorado.
Lamar Days Rod Run Celebrates its 25th Anniversary
Founder Ron Cook reflects on how one small event evolved into a community-wide celebration
In 1995, three Rons—Austin, Mulberry, and Cook—united by their love of the community and older cars and motorcycles, started a car show in their hometown of Lamar, Colorado. They named the event The Lamar Days Rod Run and set up shop in the Cow Palace Motel parking lot.
Fast forward to 2021 and The Lamar Days Rod Run is celebrating its 25th anniversary, making it the perfect time for Ron Cook, who now runs the event with his wife Lonna, to reflect on how the event has grown and become embraced by the Lamar community.
Today, The Lamar Days Rod Run is held at Willow Creek Park and hosts roughly 30 vendor booths and 10 food trucks in addition to 200 cars and motorcycles from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska. It is a weekend-long event, attracting 2,000 visitors from across Colorado and beyond.
More importantly, the event showcases the support and dedication from the Lamar community, the benefits of tourism in a rural Colorado, the strength of the relationships among the classic car and motorcycle community, and the wonders Lamar has to offer—kindness, hospitality, and a safe and family-friendly place to gather with family and friends.
Since its inception, nearly 30 local businesses have financially supported the Lamar Days Rod Run Car Show, either directly or by offering door prizes. Marketing support also comes from the Prowers County Tourism Panel, a local group of volunteers who promote tourism on The Great High Prairie. With this incredible support, the Lamar Days Rod Run has not only grown year after year, but it has also offered door prizes as big as a $400 gift certificate to a local tire shop.
When The Lamar Days Rod Run first moved from the Cow Palace Hotel to Willow Park in 2000, The Lamar Chamber of Commerce asked to be involved. It helped bring in the event’s first food vendors, vendor booths, and games for kids to play. Over the years, the Chamber even ran a dog show, a fashion show, and more.
The Lamar Rotary club is also involved, hosting a ducky dash. So too are the local fire departments and police departments, which bring all their vehicles down to the park for kids to explore. The local Boy Scout Troop 218 presents the flag on Saturday at 12 pm during a flag ceremony.
“Come join us at Lamar Days for our car show and enjoy being with fellow car show enthusiasts. We have a wonderful time reuniting with friends and meeting new ones every year, ” says Ron Cook
The 25th Annual Lamar Days Rod Run Schedule of Events
Friday, May 14
The Lamar Chamber of Commerce hosts a Welcome to Lamar lunch followed by an evening beer garden and street dance.
At 6 pm, The Lamar Days Rod Run and The Lamar Police Department host the No Booze Cruise, while the Lamar Fire Department hosts the Poker Run, both events starting at the Sonic Drive-In in Lamar.
During the Poker Run, police ride around town pulling cards at several designated stops, and the best hand at the end of the night wins half the pot, with the other half going toward the Lamar Fire Department’s Fireworks Fund.
Saturday, May 15
The car show kicks off at 8 am in Willow Creek Park. With dozens of cool cars and motorcycles, vendors, and more, this year’s event promises to be the biggest yet—and perhaps the most anticipated after the 2020 show was canceled due to COVID-19.
The Lamar Day parade will start its route downtown at 10 am. This year’s theme is “The Spirit of Country Comes Alive.” So, get ready for floats, horses, fire trucks, street rods, and more, with haybales, sunflowers, and other country paraphernalia.
The Lamar Days Rod Run Awards and Cool Cars
After Ron Austin passed away and Ron Mulberry moved out of town, Ron and Lonna Cook took the reins to run the event. Looking back over the years, Ron fondly remembers several unique cars that have participated in the event. These include a bright red 1953 Nash Station Wagon called the “Little Red Wagon” and a 1929 Ford Pick called “Smokin’ Joes.” To commemorate the fantastic cars and motorcycles that enter the event each year, Ron and Lonna Cook award the top 30 cars and the top 20 motorcycles.
Ron and Lonna Cook also award the Ron Austin Memorial Award, in commemoration of event founder Ron Austin who passed away in 2001. This award is the Rod Run’s Best of Show, and the winner is featured in the following year’s media and marketing materials.
“For the Ron Austin Award, Ron’s son Cameron picks out the winning car every year. He not only chooses the car he thinks his dad would like, but he tries to learn the story behind each vehicle and presents the award in part based on a car’s sentimental value,” says Lonna Cook.
And in honor of “Moon Man,” who played music in the car show circuit for over 30 years, The Moon Man award is given to his family’s pick for the best car.
To learn more about Lamar Days Rod Run, visit www.lamardaysrodrun.com.