Popular car enthusiast from Winnipeg passed away in June, but his award will live on at future shows

    Near the end of the Crookston Classic Cruisers Run to the Park in Central Park each year during Ox Cart Days, a handful of trophies are always presented to the owners of certain classic cars and hot rods chosen as the best or most unique among the hundreds of vehicles filling the park.   

    That was the case again, too, during the 2014 Run to the Park on Saturday. But when all the trophies had been handed out, there was another award, this one a special plaque and not a trophy, remaining on the stage.   

    And that’s when Wes Hansell, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was handed the microphone by Kurt Heldstab of the Crookston Classic Cruisers.   

    Wes was at the show with his family, and it was a show that his dad, Rick Hansell, had attended for 17 straight years. And not only did Rick come – first with his 1952 Meteor, then his 1953 Chevy and then his Ford Fairline – he also lured a bunch of his fellow car enthusiasts in Canada to bring their vehicles to the Crookston show, too. Simply put, Rick and his Canadian family and friends became a fixture at the Cruisers annual Run to the Park.   

    Rick wasn’t in attendance in the park on Saturday, however, at least not in person. He passed away in June.   

    “This was always a special show and a special place for him,” Wes said of his dad.   

    So a special award tradition was launched on Saturday, and the award in Rick Hansell’s name will be given out at each Run to the Park from here on out.   

    The first winner on Saturday? A shocked Brian and Kathy Anderson of Crookston. Wes announced that the vehicle chosen for the inaugural award was none other than the Anderson family’s 1952 Pontiac Budweiser van. A moment later, there were tears and hugs all around.   

    “I know dad liked the beer and he really, really liked that car,” Wes said. “He’s probably kicking back and having a cold one right now.”