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Cruisin’ For a Cause

Mary Biehl  |  Wednesday Aug. 2nd, 2017

Nathan Harmon is from a small town in Northeastern Montana called Bainville. He came to Bozeman in the 1990s to study architecture at MSU and never left. He’s been interested in cars ever since he was little.  His dad, David, spoke about cars all the time – the 1957 Chevy, the 1955-57 Thunderbirds, the 1964½ Mustang – and owned a 1961 Karma Ghia and 1928 Chevy truck but never drove them except in parades. Nathan recalls that because his family lived on a ranch and only drove on gravel roads, keeping a classic car was difficult or “you never drove it.” When Nathan was 18, he went to a wedding in Colorado, and a buddy of his in attendance had a 1966 Chevelle. He had never seen one before but had always loved the 1970 Chevelle with the 454; but THIS was a 1966.  From that moment, he was sold. Fast forward 20 years, and Nathan bought his first classic car – the 1966 Chevelle SS.

                                                                                                                            photo Kelsey Corti

Nathan has shown the Chevelle for 6 years now and has about 60 trophies, including 4 Best in Shows, a couple People Choice awards, and the rest are Category and Sponsor trophies. In 2013, 2015, and 2016, his Chevelle won the Downtown Bozeman “Cruisin’ on Main” Car Show’s “Best Muscle Car”category and 2nd place for Best in Show in 2015. Nathan has also shown the 1966 Chevelle SS and won awards at the Belgrade Fall Festival and the Manhattan Potato Festival, and other car shows in Helena, Billings, Big Timber, Ennis, West Yellowstone, Three Forks, Boulder, and Cody, Wyoming. He most appreciates the trophies he’s been awarded by other contestants because they are more in touch with the car’s beauty, the work invested in the car, and what was “hot” when they were kids. Nathan says he used to be the young guy at all the car shows, but now there are getting to be guys younger than him. He loves hearing stories from the older generation about how they fix their cars. Nathan and his mother, Dixie, also own a 1939 Ford Sedan that Nathan’s great-grandmother bought brand new. Nathan says the classic is a “survivor,” winning the “Cruisin’ on Main” category “Best Survivor” in 2015, and everything on the car is original. Look for Nathan’s prize-winning muscle car, the 1966 Chevelle SS, as well as the 1939 Ford Sedan, among the more than 300 registrants and estimated 6,500 spectators at this year’s event.

The Downtown Bozeman Association and the Cancer Support Community (CSC), along with other sponsors*, will present the 17th annual “Cruisin’ on Main” Car Show on Sunday, August 20th. The show will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located on Main Street between Willson and Rouse Avenues in Downtown Bozeman. New to this year’s event, on the evening of Saturday, August 19th, there will be a “Pre-Packet Pick-Up and Main Street Cruise” from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Rocking R Bar. Since 2001, the Downtown Bozeman Association has hosted the “Cruisin’ on Main” Car Show, and since 2011, it has partnered with the Cancer Support Community (CSC) to raise awareness of the support offered to all people affected by cancer. Together, the Downtown Bozeman Association and CSC have raised over $120,000.  All programs offered by CSC are free of charge, and profits from the “Cruisin’ on Main” Car Show help make this a reality.  There is no admission fee for car show attendees, which means that sponsorships, entry fees, raffle tickets, merchandise sales, and donations make this event possible. To make a donation, you can stop by the CSC booth on the corner of Black Avenue.  There will also be live music and food throughout the day, as well as over $5,000 in prize drawings and a chance for everyone to vote for their favorite vehicles.

To learn more about the Cancer Support Community, call 406-582-1600 or logon to www.cancersupportmontana.org. The Downtown Bozeman Association can be reached at 406-586-4008. The 2017 “Cruisin’ on Main” Car Show will take place on August 20th, rain or shine!

*Sponsors for the event: Bozeman Health & Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Ressler Motors, KBZK, First Interstate Bank, Dark Horse Customs, SCS Wraps, Personalize It, Yellowstone Harley Davidson, Payne West Insurance, NorthWestern Energy, Bozeman Lodge, Schnee’s, Napa Auto Parts-Bozeman, Bridger Mountain Pony Car Club, Nova Café, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Speedy Lube, TireRama, Swiss Detail, Rocking R Bar, XL Country 100.7, Town Pump Hotel Group and Tom’s Alignment.  

About the Author(s)

Mary Biehl

Mary A. Biehl, a Doctoral Candidate in American Studies and long-time Bozeman resident, is an Adjunct Instructor at Montana State University and is currently working on her dissertation focused on Montana Women’s History. She can be reached at mary.biehl@gmail.com.

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