The Push Rods of Hoquiam are on something of a roll.
Founded in 1953 by a group of like-minded Hoquiam High school boys, the club has garnered regional and national recognitions over the past few months.
A few months ago, the Push Rods were honored as “The Hot Rod Club of the year for 2020” by the Washington State Hot Rod Hall of Fame “in recognition of its outstanding contributions to the community and hot rodding.”
The award was accepted by club President Denny Bickar. There were more than 450 hot rodders in attendance and many clubs at the Lynnwood Convention Center. Also that night Tony Halekakis, longtime public relations officer and board member for Push Rods, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
On top of that, longtime Push Rods member Norm Callaghan was featured on the television show “American Pickers” due to his vast array of automotive-related memorabilia. Some of the show focused on how Callaghan’s love for cars and automotive memorabilia stems from his father, one of the founding members of Push Rods.
The club’s original charter back in the 1950s was to promote safety in hot rodding, build a club race car (that happened) and build a drag race strip in Grays Harbor (that one did not happen).
The club facilitates three local car shows a year:
• The High Rollin’ Hot Rods annual car show at Quinault Beach Resort & Casino’s each April.
• The Riverside Run Revival car show along the river in downtown Hoquiam every June.
• Show ‘N’ Shine at the Shores every October, also at the casino.
“We are the 2020 club of the year, which is a very big deal because it’s based on community service,” said Bickar. “We are somewhat known for how we run our car shows due to Tony’s expertise. He’s been just about every officer in the club.”
The Push Rods are able to focus not just on classic cars, but also community service thanks to the annual Chinese Auction it holds every February with the next one coming up on Sunday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hoquiam Elks Lodge, 624 K St.
Proceeds from the annual auction go to local charities. Among those funded by the Push Rods over the years are the American Cancer Society, Grays Harbor College scholarships, Grays Harbor Community Hospital Cardio Rehab, Grays Harbor Domestic Violence Center, Senior Meals on Wheels, the YMCA of Grays Harbor “Strong Kids” campaign, the Green Lantern Lunch Program, the Hoquiam Elks Club, Hoquiam High School Food Ball, the Hoquiam girls softball team, the Hoquiam Senior Center, the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center and the Shorebird Festival among others.
“We probably get 300 people to the auction each year and gosh it’s fun,” said Halekakis. “The Harbor has always been car country.”
Along with the Chinese auction, the event will include a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, baked goods for sale and a Push Rods merchandise table. There will also be food available and a no-host bar.
How the Chinese auction works
This variant of a Chinese auction is run from a central stage. Bidders are seated and each item is put up for auction one at a time. Your auctioneer pitches the item while money collectors gather $1 bids from those raising their hands. For each $1, the bidder gets a number to be put in a bowl. Bidders can purchase one or multiple numbers per auction item in order to increase his or her chance of winning. This makes for somewhat of a bidding frenzy, with really popular items getting hundreds of dollars submitted. The winning number for each item is then pulled from a bowl. Bidders like this because they can have a chance at winning every time an item is drawn.