The members of Cam Jammers are gearing up to celebrate 60 years of operation with a rod run and a dinner for past and present club members.
The club debuted in 1956 and was originally known as the Vernon Custom Car Association. The first meetings were held in the basement room of the Kalamalka Hotel in Vernon.
Now, the meetings take place at different members’ shops, said member Tony Metz.
The ninth annual rod run will take place at Lumby Lions Campground from July 15-17 with a dinner on Saturday honouring the veteran members.
On August 13, the Rods n’ Rails car show will take place in downtown Armstrong.
As a member for eight years, Metz said cars have always been his passion.
“I’ve been a car guy since I was 15,” the 64-year-old said.
Metz and his brother used to race stock cars at the old Tillicum Raceway off of Dixon Dam Road.
He was able to pursue his love of cars after he retired from his Lavington fire chief position.
The first members of the Jammers were: Tom Malysh, Jerry Klippert, Dan Bulford and Ted Kolmatycki.
They started in the basement of Malysh’s parents’ home and grew into one of the oldest operating clubs in Canada.
Now, the club has around 34 members.
The club’s first feature car was a 1940 Ford Coupe owned by Dan Bulford.
The oldest car in the club is a 1909 Metz owned by Brad Clarke, said Metz.
Metz will feature his own 1955 Pontiac Laurentian for the celebration.
The old slogan that played for two years at dusk on CJIB radio was “It’s light up time!! Turn on your headlights and live!! Courtesy of the Car Jammers Custom Car Club,” and although one can’t hear it anymore, the Car Jammers jacket logos are the same as when they were created in 1966, said Metz.
The club has seen a few different car eras.
A majority of the hot rods were 32’ Fords with an open compartments, said Metz.
Muscle cars took over in the 60s. The era ended around 1971 when cars became fuel efficient.
Based out of Vernon, the club includes members throughout the North Okanagan/Shuswap area.
Its first annual car show in the summer of 1962 in the Civic Arena in Vernon. The show was very successful, even coming with a printed program featuring the original members.
According to a Canadian Hot Rods article, in 1964 the club became part of the first members of the Inter-Valley Car Club Association with Valley Saints of Penticton, Kelowna Checkers, Kamloops Pacers.
In 1967, the club joined the BC Hot Rod Association and club members attended shows in Edmonton, Calgary and Seattle.
The last of the indoor car shows took place in 1979 with the show placed at the “new” curling rink.
In 2007, the club decided a rod run was in order which is still active today.
The club also follows the same guidelines as it did 60 years ago.
The point of the car shows is to raise money for charities, promote safety and the sport for the clubs, said Metz.
Cam Jammers is frequently involved with the community, as it supports local charities like food banks and awards bursaries to local students.
The club made a donation to purchase to compliment the first Jaws of Life in the Okanagan valley years ago, and a club member was the first to use it.
To learn more about the club visit camjammers.ca