A visitor to the Philomath Classic Car Show Saturday looks over one of Denny Bennett's Roadrunners. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

With a love for cars running deep, lifelong local resident Denny Bennett says he’s pretty much been a regular at the Philomath Classic Car Show from the very beginning. That’s a run of more than a quarter century.

“You get together and you see a lot of old cars and see a lot of old people you know, people you haven’t seen in a while,” Bennett said during Saturday’s 26th edition of the annual event at Philomath City Park. “Even some old classmates are here and people I do business with and they’ve got some cars. Yeah, it’s just a nice get-together with lots of BS going on.”

The car show dates back to 1997 and in the early years, it was known as the Marys River Rod Run and held on Applegate Street.

“I’ve been down here since it got started),” Bennett said, “but with my own cars, it’s probably been 10 years now.”

Bennett had three cars on exhibit at the show — 1969 and 1970 Plymouth Roadrunners and a 1970 Plymouth GTX. The 1970 Roadrunner is his favorite and it has a new motor in it.

In all, this year’s event drew 120 entries.

“Every now and then I’ll go to some other shows,” Bennett said. “As a matter of fact, I may go to the one in Toledo next weekend … there’s one over there, so we’ll see.”

Longtime residents have surely crossed paths with Bennett over the years. A 1972 Philomath High graduate, he’s owned and operated Timber Supply for nearly four decades and he’s been involved in many local causes, including as a Philomath Youth Activities Club coach and board member.

Bennett’s taste in cars makes sense. His first car in high school was a 1970 Roadrunner.

“Years ago I tried to find it … we knew the VIN number but never could find it,” he said. “It must have gotten wrecked unfortunately.”

Bennett does a little work on the vehicles himself but at age 69, can’t get down on his knees anymore. Greg Henderson, who is one of the car show’s organizers and runs Henderson Hot Rod Shop, has done work on Bennett’s vehicles.

At this year’s event, Best of Show went to a 1937 Plymouth Business Coupe owned by Robert Musil of Corvallis. The Fab 5 trophies went to Musil, Kirk Mitchell of Toledo (1954 Ford F-100), Dewey and Carol Goodell of Siletz (1957 Chevrolet Bel Air), Don and Laura Taggart of Lebanon (1956 Chevrolet Bel Air) and James and Jennifer Bond of Blodgett (1972 Dodge Challenger).

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.