By Samantha O’Conner
The annual Memory Cruise is gearing up for its 29th year Saturday.
Between 140-180 cars will be shown at this year’s event at Geiser-Pollman Park.
Wayne Ryder, one of the organizers of the event, said registration begins at 8 a.m. with a raffle during the day and live music.
They have 40 awards that will be given out at 4 p.m.
The Durkee Steak Feed at the Quail Ridge Golf Course will go from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the Downtown Cruise will begin at 8:30.
Among the cars to be shown will be Bob and Cherie Ward’s 1956 Ford pickup truck that Bob has rebuilt three times.
Bob, 66, had always wanted a ’56 pickup since he had seen one driving by his high school.
Cherie , 67, explained he finally got his pickup after they were married.
“He brought it home and it was on a flat bed trailer and in boxes and he’s rebuilt it three times,” said Cherie. “The last time was in 1988.”
In previous years, they had also showed Cherie’s 1967 Ford Mustang, but this year they decided to only show the pickup.
In getting ready for the Memory Cruise, they clean and wax the exterior, polish the wheels, do detailing and other steps to have their truck ready for the show.
Cherie also cleaned the engine compartment on the pickup.
The Ward’s have been in the Memory Cruise for 13 years.
“Almost always you see cars that you haven’t seen before,” Bob said.
“It’s been fun. It’s been a lifelong journey since 1976 to present,” Cherie said.
They moved to Baker 14 years ago from Winnetka, in California’s San Fernando Valley.
They had driven through Baker on vacation not long after they were married.
“And we thought, ‘what a cute little place,’ ” Cherie said. “And wouldn’t it be a great place to retire.”
Cherie explained that they sold their home in California and were moved to Baker within a month.
“It’s been a dream come true for us,” said Cherie.
Bob and Cherie met in 1971 on a blind date, were married in 1973, and were part of Pickups Limited of Southern California, a large club for car enthusiasts.
Cherie said the club used to have 12 chapters. The Wards were in the Burbank Chapter.
They joined the club after Bob bought his truck and were club members for 24 years.
While in California, Bob worked in the aerospace industry and then with Disney.
Cherie said Bob worked on the truck as a side project while he worked.
Cherie worked as a manager in a veterinarian office.
When they moved to Baker City in 2005 she worked briefly at a vet’s office and then worked in medical records at the hospital.
She then transferred to La Grande where she worked as a medical records analyst for a little over nine months, commuting between Baker and La Grande through Community Connection.
Bob worked in a carpentry business, Blue Mountain Workshops, and then at the 5J School District as an IT (information technology) technician.
The couple retired last year.