Flying into Portland, Oregon, we saw lush green countryside and manicured lawns. After spending three days in Portland, we knew why. It rained all three days! Lucky for us and la gente who braved the chilled wind and rain, the show was indoors, as well as the Hop contest. The cars entered in the Hop were lined up outside waiting patiently for their turn to enter the arena. When they did enter, the cars and their owners looked a little soggy. As they rolled in with water dripping everywhere, it looked more like a car wash than a hop contest.
But the rain didn’t dampen the contestant’s spirits and the competition was on. First out in the Single-Pump Hop was Miguel Munoz in an ‘80 Chevy Monte Carlo. Miguel hit a big “three-oh” to top the class. Martin Perez came out fighting with his ’86 Buick Regal in the Double-Pump category and went out with a 52-inch win. Big Time Hydraulics went wild, so wild that they lost their right front wheel with a coil spring lunging out on the ground. They tried to make it out of the arena by three-wheelin’ the mighty ’64 out of the door.
Jerry Lamm rolled out with his green ’87 Monte Carlo in the Car Dance category and proceeded to tear it up. LRM’s photogs could barely keep up with his out of control Chevy. Finally, the Monte let go, breaking a rear axle and the wheel falling onto the wet arena floor. Our own “Aztec” driver Reid was busy with a giant forklift moving the disabled cars back out in the rain-soaked parking lot for that long ride home. The Radical Hop was crazy, too, with Chris Jenda taking First Place with his ’81 Olds Cutlass reaching a sky high 66 inches. Obviously, these guys are accustomed to the rainy weather as they were as competitive as any pro hopper that we’ve ever seen.
With the Hop a success and the Portland show coming to a close and a few of the LRM staff coming down with colds, it was time to say goodbye to the wonderful folks of the Pacific Northwest. Next year we hope that the rain holds off for a few days. Either that, or the LRM crew will have to stock up on cold medicine and chicken soup.