PHOTO STORY: Fifth annual Open Header Cruise sets participation record

DOWAGIAC — It was a car lover’s dream in downtown Dowagiac on Thursday evening.

Engines were revved and horns were honked as the fifth annual Ed’s Open Header “Cruise for a Cause” rolled into town.

An event-record 160 vehicles — up from 107 in 2019 — participated in this year’s event, with more than $7,000 raised in total between the procession and a raffle facilitated by Honor Credit Union.

“I’m always amazed at what we get,” said Curt Rohdy, who organized the event along with Larry and Norma Greenman. “I was almost in tears when we surpassed our last total of 107 cars. I’m just filled with gratitude.”

To date, more than $27,000 in Open Header funds have been raised for Cass County Cancer Service, a volunteer-run organization that provides support for those undergoing cancer treatment, from helping patients pay for gas to get them to and from treatments to rides to doctor’s appointments and more.

“We all know somebody that had cancer,” said CCCS vice president Ray Klomes. “We have about 15 volunteers. We don’t make money doing this. Every penny that you give to this service goes back to a person in Cass County who has cancer. Gas cards, hospital beds, it doesn’t matter. Everything you give to us goes back to Cass County.”

The annual event is named in honor of Ed Kazlauskas, who along with Rodhy, helped organize the Dowagiac Car Show downtown for 16 years before dying of cancer in 2015.

“I would like to thank the car owners very much for their donations and for their time to bring their car to run in this header cruise,” Rohdy said. “Thank you very, very much for your patience lining up downtown today.”

Open Header participants gathered at Thomas J. Mosier Waterwell Drilling, 21867 M-60 E., Cassopolis before the police escort led the cruise into downtown Dowagiac, where participants and community members gathered along Main Street.

The event coincided with the Dowagiac Summer Concert Series, which this week featured The Pride performing under the Dowagiac District Library Pavilion. The Dowagiac Fire Department also grilled hot dogs and bratwurst for a donation.

Rohdy thanked the Dowagiac Police Department, Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Cassopolis Police Department and True’s Towing and Recovery for supporting the event.

“Without their help, we couldn’t have put this on,” Rohdy said.

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