Jim Smart
December 9, 2010

When our Boeing 737 touched down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a warm Thursday morning, we didn't realize that we were about to participate in history. The annual Mustang Roundup, hosted by Mustangs Northwest, is one of the longest running Mustang gatherings in the world. It is surely the largest. In addition to being the 30th annual event, with the first one happening back in 1980, it was also the first Mustang Club of America Grand National show ever held outside of Labor Day weekend and the first-ever Grand National held on the West Coast.

Jeanie McCain of Mustangs Northwest proudly announced these facts when she greeted us. It takes a lot of perseverance to keep a big event like this going year after year. And it has been Jeanie and key others who have made it happen. The Mustangs Northwest Annual Roundup, held every year at Bellevue Community College just outside of Seattle, isn't just a local Mustang show sporting a couple hundred cars. It has long been a large regional event that keeps people coming back with something for everyone: road racing, a Pony Trails cruise, an MCA judged concours show, a dinner cruise on Puget Sound, and a huge Ford car show to wrap things up on Sunday. There's no other regional Mustang show like it in the country.

This year, the MCA-judged concours event drew more than 200 cars on Saturday. On Sunday, roughly 1,500 cars were spread across the Bellevue campus, including Fords, Mercurys, Lincolns, Edsels, and anything else Ford-powered, including Shelby Cobras, Sunbeam Tigers, and assorted street rods. Undoubtedly the best time was had at Pacific Raceways in Auburn on Thursday, where those who dared cut apexes and blasted down the straights with their Mustangs. This open track event was a test of driving skills and raw performance. Everyone had a good time without incident.

Pony Trails is a club tradition pioneered by former Mustang Monthly editor, Jeff Ford. Jeff has moved on, but the driving event he spearheaded has become a favorite with Mustang clubs across the country. Each and every Roundup Friday, Mustangs Northwest hosts a Pony Trails cruise along a scenic route around suburban Seattle. This year, the cruise began where it always has at the Monroe-Evergreen Speedway. Camlobes spun all the way to the Newhalem/Gorge Dam where enthusiasts could take in Western Washington's natural beauty-the falls, huge evergreens, and the gentle calm of an extraordinary place like the Pacific Northwest.

For those with a competitive show spirit, the MCA concours kept everyone honed in on the pursuit of excellence. Because the MCA has set a world-beating standard for concours restorations and judged competition, you can expect the most outstanding restorations in the world at an MCA National Show. There were plenty of world-class restorations at Bellevue.

Most notable were restorations that overcame adversity. Mike and Joyce Epperson of Salt Lake City brought their '64 1/2 Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car hardtop to Seattle to compete for their MCA Conservator award. However, just two weeks before Bellevue their Mustang was the victim of an engine compartment fire caused by a sticking carburetor float. Damage was extensive, burning most of the engine compartment, right front fender, and hood, but Mike managed to have the car repaired and ready for Bellevue. It was impossible to tell there had ever been a fire, a testament to Mike's determination and talent. Mike and Joyce were ready for MCA show judges at Seattle. They went home with Conservator status.

The Peoples Choice Car Show on Sunday wrapped up the Roundup with a big bang because it's the largest gathering of Fords you've ever seen in one spot. Nestled in the big evergreens and hazy skies, this show seems to go on forever, parking lot after parking lot across the entire college campus. Most were Mustangs from nearly 46 years of steady production.

For more information about the Mustangs Northwest Annual Roundup, visit their website at www.mustangsnorthwest.com.

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Salute To Judges
Few are any more committed to excellence than Mustang Club of America show judges. Their only incentive is the accurate preservation of the breed and recognition of a job well done. It's also about attention to craftsmanship for stock and modified Mustangs alike.

Bellevue witnessed a huge turnout of certified MCA show judges who worked hard to judge every Mustang in the concours classes. A great challenge for the MCA is the need for more qualified show judges. If you've restored classic Mustangs and know what you're talking about, the MCA needs you to step up and test for show judging certification.

Understand that being an MCA show judge is the hardest job you will ever love. To be an MCA judge, you must be willing to learn, take constructive criticism, and be willing to work under all kinds of climatic conditions for hours, sometimes days, on end. You must also have a thick hide because people aren't always friendly when you point out areas in needs of improvement. However, you're a hero when they come out on top.

For more information on becoming an MCA certified show judge, go to the MCA's website at www.mustang.org or call 850/438-0626.

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