Local car club succeeds in attempt for most Fords, Mustangs in parade

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - More than 900 Mustangs and Fords parked four abreast at the Woodburn Drag Strip.Mt. Hood Mustangs and Fords, a 17-year-old club based in Gresham, waited three months before it got the good news on July 16.

In an April celebration of the Ford Mustang’s 50th anniversary, car owners from all over the West Coast rolled into the Woodburn Drag Strip to take part in the club’s first attempt to break two Guinness World Records for the most Fords and most Ford Mustangs in a parade.

The record was set in Canada six years ago at 620.

But that Saturday afternoon in April, 829 Fords — 766 of them Mustangs — completed a 9.5-mile loop on a country road in Woodburn, trouncing both records.

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Cars follow the 9.5 parade route from the drag strip.“We were very tickled,” said club member Ann Clack upon hearing the news.

All of the event’s proceeds, totaling upward of $22,000, will be donated to Oregon Impact, a nonprofit organization that provides crash re-enactments at high schools and victim’s panels for people convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Gresham Ford, one of the parade’s main sponsors, will make an announcement of the official Guinness record on Aug. 9 during a ribbon cutting event celebrating the dealership’s completion of a two-year remodel.

An announcement also will be made on Aug. 17 at Woodburn Drag Strip during the Ford Fever Classics event.

Clack said Mt. Hood Mustangs and Fords celebrates the anniversary of the Mustang every five years, but for the “big five-o,” the club wanted to do something big.

The club is made up of about 40 members and families from Gresham to Oregon City and Portland. A committee of six people began planning the record-breaking feat more than a year ago.

And an undertaking it was.

“This was like three cruise-ins rolled into one,” said Clack, who lives in Oregon City. “If you’ve ever been to a cruise-in, it was like a cruise-in on steroids.”

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Mt. Hood Mustangs and Fords committee, (from Left) Lisa Mills, Vince Apa, Jim Gardner, Randy Barnette, Neola Larsen, Ann Clack and Ray Clack, pose in front of a banner.The parade required shutting down part of Highway 21, with permits needed from city, county and state offices.

Guinness also required one volunteer or “steward” for every 50 participants, and they were not allowed to be affiliated with the club.

The stewards were asked to fill out witness reports that would be sent in to Guinness. Those reports included each participant’s name, phone number and license plate.

They also needed to send a video of all 829 cars leaving and returning to the Woodburn Drag Strip, which was required if they were to be counted.

Instead of paying a Guinness official $7,000 to do all the work, club members asked neighbors and friends to come out and volunteer. High school students and Marion County cadets were among them.

By the beginning of March, the committee fell into a panic because only 508 drivers had registered for the parade. But by the end of the month, 412 more people had stepped up.

“All of sudden we went from a problem of not having enough to having too many,” Clack said. It was really “crazy” and “humbling,” she said.

On the day of the event, 925 Ford and Mustang owners had pre-registered, hundreds from Oregon and more from Washington, California, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, Texas and British Columbia.

Prior to the parade, drivers were asked to meet at regional check points before heading to a parking lot at the drag strip. There they received T-shirts and special parking passes.

Around 80 cars never made it to the parade. Drivers fell ill or had to work. Some old Mustangs broke down on the day of, and a few engines failed to start at the check points, Clack said.

Those that did were lined up four abreast into the spectator parking lot at the drag strip, which Clack said took two hours.

Finally, the excitement rose and the parade began at 1 p.m., with 908 Fords and Mustangs streaming out of the lot.

“It was tremendous,” Clack said. “We almost had enough cars to wrap around and fill the entire route.”

Of those that left, 829 cars returned and were counted in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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