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CRUZ to draw thousands A Port Orchard institution returns for 28th year By BOB SMITH

Dan Lewandowski’s Dodge Ram monster truck, laden with an enormous Seahawks logo in its side, is scheduled to make an appearance at CRUZ 2015 Aug. 9. Courtesy photo

Twenty-eight years ago, a little car show took root on the shores of Sinclair Inlet in Port Orchard. These days, that little car exhibition — the CRUZ car show — is considered by many to be the largest-attended single-day event in Kitsap County. Hundreds of autos — tricked-out, modified, vintage and just flat-out dazzling — will once again line up for a beauty-pageant inspection by upwards of 30,000 visitors Sunday, Aug. 9 in Port Orchard. The event is sponsored by the local Saints Car Club — and has been for 18 years. Club members will no doubt be on site to ensure it runs smoothly.

“We have 65 members in the club, and all of them are expected to take part,” said Roger Jensen, Saints member and CRUZ event coordinator. “Their work doesn’t happen just on one day. We have people who’ve worked to organize it since November.” While Jensen says it’s difficult to break down where event visitors come from, he believes people who visit CRUZ come from throughout the nation. “We get a group of people regularly from Stockton, Calif.,” he said. “Visitors come from all over the state, as well as from Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.” SEE CRUZ 2015, PAGE 3

Restored Camaro is a calendar of life’s milestones From Virginia to Port Orchard:

“To teach me a lesson,” he remembers, “my dad had me sit on a can in the Virginia sun and humidity, and scrape the paint off the car with a razor blade to prepare it for a new paint job. It took me a couple of weeks to accomplish.” It was a lesson learned. Dickinson, Sr. owned the local “Big A Auto Parts” store in town, so after the accident, it was only natural that dad and son began the first of the Camaro’s many overhauls. Ken drove the car every day through high school, one year of college at Virginia Tech, and the first few years he was in the U.S. Navy.

Man’s birthday gift at 16 offers a timeline of happy times and sadness By BOB SMITH

The milestones in your life — graduating from high school, your walk down the aisle, the birth of a child or death of a loved one — are remembered not so much by dates but by memories. They’re recollected through remembrances shared with others, time spent enjoying a passion or a hobby. Ken Dickinson, a Kitsap County Sheriff ’s Office sergeant living in Port Orchard, can relive his good times and bad through his experiences with a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. A first love This car — every young guy’s teenage roadway dream — was given to Dickinson in June 1981 on his 16th birthday by his parents, Ken and Sandi Dickinson. If it wasn’t love at first sight with this $1,000 beauty, it certainly was a heavy crush for the youngster, who grew up in Lyndhurst, Va. But this love affair made in heaven took a heavy jolt early — one week after car and boy met for the first time. “I crashed it into a large tree stump at a campground in Virginia Beach and totaled the front end,” Dickinson said. The car had to be towed back to Lyndhurst where it underwent its first overhaul.

Ken Dickinson Jr. and wife Lorinda sit in their restored 1967 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. The car will be on featured display at CRUZ 2015 Aug. 9.

Off to sub school There was a bittersweet parting at his dad’s garage in Virginia in October 1985 when Ken was transferred to submarine school in Groton, Conn. Cue another crisis: One month after he departed, the central Virginia area experienced a large flood. His parents’ property, house and garage were submerged even before Ken himself took his first underwater voyage for the Navy. “My car was submerged in three feet of standing water,” Dickinson said. In his absence, the elder Dickinson drained the engine, flushed it multiple times and, ultimately, was able to save it. His dad dried the carpets and floorboard, but the vehicle still suffered some rust damage. Next came another rehab: replacing and repairing floor pans and other damaged body parts. The Camaro remained in his parent’s garage after he





AUGUST 7, 2015

CRUZ 2015

Continued from Page 1 was assigned to the attack submarine USS Whale in New London, Conn. In 1986, the Whale was transferred to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton for its own overhaul. “The last time I drove the car was in the summer of 1988 when I returned home (in Virginia) with my new wife, Lorinda and kids,” Dickinson said. “I drove the car to Nags Head, N.C., for a family vacation.” A nagging vacation Yet another overhaul loomed when the Camaro lost the transmission during the vacation trip. The vehicle was towed back to Virginia. The two (the car and Ken, that is) parted once again. Husband, wife and kids returned to Bremerton, where they had settled. The Camaro sat in his dad’s garage for two years. While intending to bring it to Washington in 1991, one day before the car was to be placed on a U-Haul for the trip to the Northwest, his dad asked for a chance to do another restoration on it. Little did Ken know the planned winter rehab work would be delayed for several more years. His father’s side work as a monster-truck show track announcer, which would take him throughout the South and Midwest, kept him busy. And with a young family to support, Ken wasn’t able to travel to Virginia to work on the car. With an extended family in Washington that includes “car people,” Dickinson felt a

Ken Dickinson photo

Dickinson’s Camaro was given to him as a present from his parents for his 16th birthday. longing to bring his Camaro to his newly adopted home. “I talked about my Camaro sitting back in Virginia for years and promised one day soon that it would join their own cars here in Washington,” he said of his inlaws’ own auto collection. “After hearing that same story for nearly 15 years, I think many were beginning to wonder if it really existed.” Another birthday surprise? Fast-forward to 2005: wife Lorinda began planning a surprise 40th-birthday celebration that June for Ken. Senior Ken also was in cahoots for the surprise event. He committed to spending six months to restore the Camaro and tow it to Bremerton. Dad completely disassembled it for a full-frame restoration. The car was taken

1967 Chevrolet Camaro convertible • •

Owned by Ken Dickinson, Jr. Restored by Ken Dickinson, Sr. and others.

Original Specs: • Chevrolet 327 V-8 engine with 2 barrel carburetor (210 HP) • 2-Speed Powerglide automatic transmission, column shift • Butternut yellow, but changed to custom red in 1981. • License plate: Virginia KENNY-2 (for Kenny, Jr.) Restored Specs: • Original 327 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine (bored over .030) • Chevrolet Turbo 350 transmission with a shift kit

This Week At...

• • • • • • • • • • • •

A family crisis But that all came to a halt in 2010 following a monster-truck accident in Charlottesville, Va. “I was working patrol in Silverdale (he had since become a Kitsap County deputy sheriff) when I got a call from my sister Suzie in Virginia,” Dickinson said. “She

Edelbrock high-performance package (heads, camshaft and intake manifold) TRW flat top pistons Harland sharp roller rockers Cloyes double roller timing chain Holly 600, four-barrel carburetor MSD electronic ignition Hedman jet-coated headers Custom 2-1/2’ exhaust system with Magnaflow mufflers and an H-Pipe 3.73:1 limited slip rear end with Summit axles Hotchkis springs (front and rear) Front disc brakes and rear 11x2-1/2” finned drum brakes BF Goodrich tires on 17-inch Crager SS wheels (7-inch front, 8-inch rear)

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apart, labeled and both media-blasted and disc-grinded. But even with six months set aside for the work, progress was slow. His effort stalled, and the 40th birthday came and went without a restored surprise for son Ken. Between work and some health setbacks, Ken Sr. managed to do some work on the car. Son Ken joined the effort whenever he was able to return to Virginia.

8/8- Undecided 7-11pm Sun. 8/9 - Jason Foucher 5:30pm

told me Dad had been run over by a monster truck and that they were en route to the University of Virginia Medical Center.” As a trackside announcer, he was knocked down and driven over due to a communication error with the driver. A 1,000-pound left tire of the “Crushstation” monster truck caused multiple fractures to the 66-year-old Ken Sr.’s ribs and pelvis, and collapsed both lungs. The severity of his injuries left him in a coma for two weeks. After coming out of the coma, Ken Sr. began a slow recovery. For both Kens, the serious accident was the impetus to finish the Camaro restoration. “I flew back to Virginia a couple of times a year to help Dad,” Ken said. His brother Jim sometimes also would drive up from Mason, Tenn., to help out. Another personal milestone — and one more setback — hit the family last summer. “My dad suffered a heart attack and began treatment for two cancers,” Ken said. Needless to say, he wasn’t able to complete the work. Completing a vision But that’s when friends and family came forward to restore the car and complete a vision. Close family friends Terry Sager, Jake Coffey and Bobby Hutchins, brother-inlaw Marco Floyd and nephew Timmy Mawyer worked on the Camaro every Monday night for months, Dickinson said, until it was finally completed in May. SEE CAMARO, PAGE 3

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CAMARO Continued from Page 2 And on May 21, the Camaro arrived home to its final destination in Port Orchard. Another happy memory, coinciding with a grateful one: his dad, now 71, has recovered. This automotive time capsule of memories, after 29 years, “has finally found its way back to me and sits proudly in my garage in Port Orchard. I brought this car back to drive it, not sit in my garage,” the longtime owner said with pride. “I have waited too long not to cruise with the top down in July during this great Northwest weather.”

The Camaro was restored by Ken Dickinson, his father and lots of friends and family members over three decades. Ken Dickinson photo

CRUZ 2015 Continued from Page 1 Jensen expects more than 600 cars will be on display lined up “from the Gazebo to City Hall.” CRUZ 2015 will highlight the “monster truck” category this year. While he doesn’t expect name trucks to be on site, Jensen is sure there’ll be a good representation to view.

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Key to the event’s success has been the cooperation shown by city agencies and officials, he said. “We couldn’t put on a show of this size and scope without the help of our publicsafety people,” Jensen said. The show is free to visitors. To register and display your vehicle at CRUZ 2015, you’ll need to arrive between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. the day of the event. The registration fee is $15 per vehicle.

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Trophies will be awarded in 60 different class categories. Bay Street will be closed to traffic during the event. Shuttle buses will transport visitors to the show from the Kitsap County Courthouse parking lot on Cline Street, and from the Park-and-Ride lot next to the Armory on Mile Hill Drive in Port Orchard. Visitors from Bremerton are encouraged to ride the foot ferry across Sinclair


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Car club members are saints in the community, too

AUGUST 7, 2015

2015 Fathoms O’ Festival “Concerts by the Bay”

Presented by: Fathoms O’ Fun Festival, Port Orchard Marina, City of Port Orchard

-Port Orchard Waterfront Park in the GazeboThursday, August 13 @ 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Dusty Cadillac (Blues) Thursday, August 20 @ 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Joey Jewell (Sinatra)

Thursday, August 27 @ 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Danny Vemon (The Illusion of Elvis) Sunday, September 6 @ 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Ignite (Classic Rock)

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PORT ORCHARD — If you’ve lived in the Port Orchard area for any length of time, no doubt you’ve driven behind a shiny, vintage automobile branded with a Saints Car Club license-plate frame. The club is of vintage age, as well. It was formed by a Port Orchard police officer in 1951 and stayed active until 1962 at the onset of the Vietnam War. At that time, many of the active club members either went into the military or headed off to college, according to Saints club member Roger Jensen. In 1995, the idea to resurrect the club was launched during a “cruise night” at Buck’s A&W restaurant in Port Orchard, he said. Six of the original members rejoined and the club was back in operation.

The Saints Car Club was asked in 1998 to take over the reins of the CRUZ car show on the Port Orchard waterfront. The event is the Saints’ signature event, and it keeps many of its members busy preparing during the year for its August show. So while Saints and CRUZ are in many ways synonymous, they give more to the community. “Club members are more than just guys who hang out in a garage,” Jensen said. “Our mission is to promote the interest in building and restoring street-rods, hot rods and other classic vehicles. But we also aim to support charitable organizations in our community and to establish a South Kitsap High School Automotive Scholarship Fund that allows students to further their education.” This year the Saints awarded an automotive scholarship to South Kitsap High School senior Morgen Meserve. Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the club members donate more than 400 man-hours to the South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank by distributing food and toys, Jensen said. “The club also donates to charities including the SK Family Kitchen, Backpacks For Kids, Building 9 Veterans at Retsil, the Salmon for Soldiers project, and other local charities.

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Festivals - Saints Car Cruz - 2015  


Festivals - Saints Car Cruz - 2015