Thousands come to town for fireworks, parade | SierraSun.com

Thousands come to town for fireworks, parade

Paul Raymore

A Great Race participant crosses the finish line in Truckee. Josh Miller/Sierra Sun

From now on, just call Truckee a “Great American City.”Thanks to event organizers and locals who made the Great Race’s stop in town memorable, Truckee’s public library won $10,000 after race officials announced that Truckee took the Great American City award for the best overnight stop in this year’s two-week, coast-to-coast classic car rally.Great Race organizers were thrilled to see the enthusiasm build all the way across the country from this year’s start in Jacksonville, Fla. to the finish in Monterey, Calif., with the enthusiastic crowds in Truckee being one of the highlights along the way.”I think this was one of the best years,” said Wayne Stanfield, chief operating officer for Rally Partners, Inc., which puts on the Great Race. “The competitors really enjoyed the event this year which is really important… We had great stops for the most part all the way across the country.”

The Great Race, which claims to be America’s oldest and longest-running vintage car race, made an overnight stop in Truckee on July 1, and local residents filled historic downtown to get a glimpse of the pre-1959 automobiles roaring into Commercial Row. Stanfield cited Truckee’s historic setting, the large crowd lining the streets and the level of organization in taking care of the drivers and their pit crews as determining factors in the racers’ minds when they were voting on which overnight town deserved the award.”What really did it for Truckee was the friendliness, the atmosphere, the hospitality and of course the great setting,” Stanfield said. “There was something about Truckee that people really loved.”Stanfield plans to return to Truckee in approximately two weeks to present the town with a plaque and to present the public library with a check for $10,000.Local pastor Wayne Hoag, a Great Race veteran and the navigator of the Focus on the Family car in this year’s race, was not surprised to hear of Truckee’s victory.

“The racers were blown away by the Truckee reception and it won by a huge margin,” he said. “Over the next couple of days I had people stopping me and saying ‘Your home town is awesome.'”Truckee’s head librarian, Lauri Ferguson, was thrilled to hear of the library’s unexpected funding influx.”I was just surprised and pleased and so excited,” she said. “Truckee’s town spirit just came across big time and that’s what got us the money.”Ferguson hopes to be able to use the money to enhance the library’s collection of audio and visual media including DVDs, books on CD, and both adult and children’s music CDs.Perhaps the first person in town to hear the news was Truckee Mayor Josh Susman, who was heavily involved in planning for Truckee’s Great Race overnight stop from the beginning.

“I think it’s just really apparent and really obvious that Truckee has a lot of hometown pride,” Susman said. “I don’t know that we expected to win it, but I don’t think it was a surprise we did.”Susman said there are almost too many people to thank, but noted the town government, the police department, the public works department, local high school students, the Chamber of Commerce and many more.”I think it’s just an incredible reaffirmation of what kind of spirit this community has. Everyone who came out, everybody who participated in this, they deserve a pat on the back for making this a great event,” he said.For complete race results and more information on the Great Race, see http://www.greatrace.com.