PHOTO STORY: 32nd annual Rod and Roll cruises through Dowagiac

Published 2:30 pm Saturday, August 19, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The revving of vintage engines filled the streets of downtown Dowagiac Saturday morning as car enthusiasts from across Michiana convened for a beloved annual event.

The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce hosted its 32nd annual Rod and Roll Classic Auto Show Saturday starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

More than 225 cars were registered for the event, including a record number of pre-registered cars. The event featured a Tailgate Vintage Market and breakfast items from Baker’s Rhapsody. The Trophy Ride begins at 2 p.m.

The annual event was founded by Ed Kazlauskas and Curt Rohdy in 1990 as a way for car-loving community members to meet and socialize.

“It’s very much a community event,” said event organizer Kris Soenen. “A lot of these guys come up here to meet each other and they come up with their car clubs to hang out and see what else everybody’s got. 

The Rod and Roll is a mixed car event featuring a variety of makes and models. 

“It’s fun to see who brings what out,” he said. “We’ve got the downtown area happening and people have and they can come and peruse our businesses and our restaurants and that type thing too.”

Best of Show: Peter Beeke, Kalamazoo, 1966 Ford Fairlane

Rounding out the Top 10 as voted by registered participants, special categories decided by judges:

Tony Myers, Dowagiac, 1964 Plymouth Belvedere

Kenny Wilson, Dowagiac, 1958 Chevrolet Corvette

Bret Bachman, Benton Harbor, 1964 Plymouth Savoy, also won Best Paint

Bud and Peg Adams, Niles, 1952 Chevrolet Woody Wagon

Dean Sweet, Benton Harbor, 1960 Buick LeSabre, also won Best Custom

Rob Richez, Mishawaka, 1947 Chevrolet Pickup

James and Linda Barnett,   Lawrence, 1960 Pontiac Bonneville

Bill Juriga, Kalamazoo, 1962 Chevrolet Belair

Derrick Hinds, Mattawan, 1968 Dodge Charger 

Best Interior: Doug Schlipp, Eau Claire,   1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Best Engine: Gary Shindeldecker, St. Joseph, 1934 Plymouth Coupe

Judge’s Choice: Richard and Barb Cavner, Lawton, 1968 Chevrolet C-10